“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” emphasized climate activist Greta Thunberg at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Convened by the Secretary-General António Guterres, the Summit aims to deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear on confronting climate change, as well as to boost ambition and accelerate action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As carbon pollution, temperatures, and climate destruction continue to rise, and public backlash mounts, the Summit is expected to offer a turning point from inertia into momentum, action, and global impact – if everyone gets on board. The UN estimates that the world would need to increase its efforts between three- and five-fold to contain climate change to the levels dictated by science – a 1.5°C rise at most – and avoid escalating climate damage already taking place around the world. “The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
“Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century”, Guterres underlined. “This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk. This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit", the UN Secretary-General pointed out. "And young people are here providing solutions, insisting on accountability, demanding urgent action.” In an emotionally charged speech, 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg accused the told world leaders of ignoring the science behind the climate crisis. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about it money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth – how dare you?”
What can be done to fight the climate crisis is featured in a short film with statements by Greta Thunberg and the environmental activist George Monbiot. Produced by the British company Gripping Films, the short film highlights the need to protect, restore and use nature to tackle the climate crisis. Living ecosystems such as forests, swamps and seabeds can pull enormous quantities of carbon from the air and store them safely. Currently, only two percent of the funding is spent on cutting emissions with natural climate solutions.
Tom Mustill, director and CEO of Gripping Films, produced the short film as sustainable as possible. “We tried to make the film have the tiniest environmental impact possible”, stresses Mustill whose company’s credits include innovative documentaries such as Saving Planet Earth: Fixing a Hole and Humpback Whales: A Detective Story. “We took trains to Sweden to interview Greta, charged our hybrid car at George’s house, used green energy to power the edit and recycled archive footage rather than shooting new”, says Mustill.
Photo: © UN Photos/Cia Pak, Loey Felipe