Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she will skip next month’s Cop27 talks in Egypt, criticising the global summit as a forum for “greenwashing”.
“I’m not going to Cop27 for many reasons, but the space for civil society this year is extremely limited,” she said during a question and answer at the launch of her latest book at London’s Southbank Centre.
The 19-year-old activist had previously tweeted to express solidarity with “prisoners of conscience” being held in Egypt. The UN’s 27th conference on climate opens in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on 6 November.
“The Cops are mainly used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention, using many different kinds of greenwashing,” she said.
The Cop conferences, she added, “are not really meant to change the whole system”, but instead encourage gradual progress.
“So as it is, the Cops are not really working, unless of course we use them as an opportunity to mobilise.”
Thunberg was among those who last week accused Greenpeace of “greenwashing” the Egyptian government’s image and discouraging other activists from forcefully raising the country’s abysmal human rights record ahead of the climate summit.
In July, a group of environmentalists and activists wrote an open letter expressing their alarm over Egypt’s ability to host the event successfully because of its poor record on human rights, especially as thousands of prisoners of conscience remain imprisoned. The signatories included John Sauven, former executive director of Greenpeace UK, but Greenpeace UK declined to sign.
Released last week, Thunberg’s The Climate Book includes about 100 contributions from various experts, including economist Thomas Piketty, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the writer Naomi Klein.
Thunberg’s royalties for the book will go to her foundation, which will distribute them to charitable organisations working on environmental issues.
The activist said she wanted the book to “be educational, which is a bit ironic since my thing is school strikes”, referring to her protests in front of the Swedish parliament starting in 2018.
On Sunday, Thunberg called for more people to get involved in climate activism, saying the time had come for “drastic changes” to the status quo.
“In order to change things, we need everyone – we need billions of activists,” she said.
Thunberg attend the previous Cop in Glasgow in 2021.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report
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