2020 Democrats tout Thunberg UN speech: 'This is why we need young people leading the climate justice movement'

2020 Democrats tout Thunberg UN speech: 'This is why we need young people leading the climate justice movement'
© Aaron Schwartz

A trio of Democratic presidential hopefuls on Monday praised 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly that demanded action on climate change.

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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOutrage erupts over Breonna Taylor grand jury ruling Dimon: Wealth tax 'almost impossible to do' Grand jury charges no officers in Breonna Taylor death MORE (I-Vt.), one of the top-tier candidates for the White House, said that it was a “disgrace” a teenager has to tell world leaders about climate change.

“What a disgrace that it takes a 16-year-old to tell world leaders what they won't acknowledge: We cannot continue with this type of ruthless capitalism that is destroying our planet. This is why we need young people leading our climate justice movement,” Sanders tweeted.

 

The Vermont senator included a clip of Thunberg’s speech in which she castigated world leaders: “You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) also mentioned the speech in a tweet saying, “We are currently failing our nation's youth.”

".@GretaThunberg is right: we are currently failing our nation's youth by not taking swift action to combat the climate crisis,” Harris tweeted. “We owe it to them to stand up to polluters and stop poisoning our planet.”

 

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) also hailed the speech, tweeting, “We need to do better—for Greta, for the students marching for our lives, and for all of the young people who will inherit our planet from us in worse shape than we found it, unless we act.”

 

The Swedish teen activist, who traveled to the U.S. on an emissions-free yacht, is in New York City this week to address the United Nations’ Climate Summit after leading one of several youth climate strike events around the world Friday.

She railed at world leaders Monday in a speech in which she said she “shouldn't be up here” and accused leaders of stealing her childhood “with your empty words.”

She began demonstrating outside the Swedish Parliament last year, sparking nationwide, youth-led climate protests. She has since become a leading face of the movement to address climate change and has become a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.