EU Parliament gasps at slam of Greta Thunberg: 'Go back to school, stop wasting your youth'
An Italian politician on Wednesday gave 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg some fatherly advice to go back to school.
Pietro Fiocchi, a member of the European Parliament, said Thunberg should consider going back to school during a meeting of the Environment Council at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
The Italian politician began by thanking Thunberg for her “important role in raising public awareness on this fundamental topic.”
“At the same time, I would like to give an advice as a father gives an advice to a daughter — go back to school and go back to a normal life,” Fiocchi said.
“Your childhood is as precious as the climate, and if you don’t do something about it, you will lose it forever, [just] as if we do not do anything about the climate, we will lose it forever.”
Audible gasps and some applause could be heard from the rest of the politicians in the room.
Under its Green Deal agenda, the EU's executive arm wants to codify its ambition of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero by mid-century irreversible, and legally-binding for all member states. Thunberg was present at the unveiling of the European Commission’s new “climate law.”
Fiocchi said he has “some serious reservations” about revising the legal precedent of the agreement because it would undermine any other European environmental efforts by not having a global framework.
“We want more in-depth planning and less rhetoric and climate symbolism,” he said.
The new climate law, however, did not take enough drastic measures to combat the climate crisis for Thunberg.
“‘Net zero emissions by 2050’ for the EU equals surrender. It means giving up. We don’t just need goals for just 2030 or 2050. We, above all, need them for 2020 and every following month and year to come,” an open letter from Thunberg and 33 other youth climate activists read.
“Because distant net-zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget — which applies for today, not a faraway future. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.”
Thunberg reiterated her frustration with the EU’s “inaction” in a speech before the European Parliament.
“For over one and a half years, we have been sacrificing our education to protest against your inaction,” she said.
The climate law will need the approval of the European Parliament and member states in order for it to be passed.