Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said she will not attend the next international climate negotiations unless everyone can be vaccinated equally and safely participate.
“Inequality and climate injustice are already at the heart of the climate crisis,” she said on Twitter on Friday. “If people cannot be vaccinated and travel to be equally represented, that is undemocratic and would make the problem worse.”
More than three-quarters of the vaccines sold worldwide have been used by the world’s richest countries. These rich countries have pre-ordered more vaccines than they needed for their populations, while other countries have struggled to get any doses at all. As of March 30, only 0.1 percent of the doses had been given in low-income countries.
The international climate negotiations, an annual United Nations matter, are due to take place in Glasgow in November. They were canceled last November due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Officially known as the Conference of the Parties and attended by the countries that have signed the United Nations Climate Change Pact, these talks are designed to forge agreements between countries to slow global warming. At or before the next talks, the countries are expected to announce how they intend to strengthen their own climate protection goals.
Ms. Thunberg first announced her concerns about participating in the climate negotiations in an interview with the BBC. Your remarks drew attention to a central question that preoccupied the organizers of these talks: should you proceed personally, even if everyone who wants to attend has not been vaccinated by then? Great Britain, the host country, has announced that the conference will take place in person as planned.
Ms. Thunberg said on a Twitter thread that the meeting could be postponed until later, but “that doesn’t mean we need to delay the urgent action that is needed.”
“We don’t have to wait for conferences or anyone or anything to drastically reduce our emissions,” she wrote.
Ms. Thunberg, 18, once described herself as “the invisible girl”. Her solo strike on the streets of her hometown Stockholm helped spark a global youth movement for climate action, and she is known for speaking bluntly to power at high profile diplomatic conclaves. She rebuked the global political and business elite in Davos, angered presidents and prime ministers at the United Nations, and marched with colleagues from around the world.
Ms. Thunberg has a large following among young climate activists and it remains to be seen whether other youth climate activists would attend or stay away from the Glasgow talks.
“At the moment, many countries are vaccinating healthy young people, often at the expense of risk groups and frontline workers (mainly from the global south, as usual …),” she said on Twitter.