Story at a glance

  • Greta Thunberg wrote an op-ed for The Guardian on how world leaders address climate change.
  • In the op-ed, Thunberg accused a number of countries of using “creative carbon accounting” to pad their green resumes.
  • Thunberg’s criticisms come ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will run from Oct. 31 through Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Greta Thunberg accused a number of countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, of using “creative carbon accounting” to pad their green resumes.

“The UK is, of course, far from the only country relying on such creative carbon accounting. This is the norm,” Thunberg wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian, adding, “Or take the new US administration, claiming to ‘listen to … science’ even though it – among many other reckless decisions – recently announced plans to open millions of acres for oil and gas that could ultimately result in production of up to 1.1bn barrels of crude oil and 4.4tn cubic feet of fossil gas. 

“Being by far the biggest emitter in history, as well as the world’s number one oil producer, doesn’t seem to embarrass the US while it claims to be a climate leader.”


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Thunberg’s criticisms come ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will run from Oct. 31 through Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. During the conference, countries are to structure and enact plans that will aid in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

In her op-ed, Thunberg said many plans appear to be built on empty words, with many countries using “communication tactics and PR in order to make it seem as if they are taking action” when full emission statistics and concrete plans and funding to address them are not made available or enacted.

“No matter how uncomfortable that reality may seem, this is exactly what our leaders have chosen for us with their decades of inaction. Their decades of blah, blah, blah,” Thunberg wrote. “Science doesn’t lie. If we are to stay below the targets set in the 2015 Paris agreement – and thereby minimise the risks of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control – we need immediate, drastic, annual emission reductions unlike anything the world has ever seen." 


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Published on Oct 21, 2021