'How dare you': Greta Thunberg tears into world leaders

In an angry and emotional speech at the United Nations climate summit on Monday, Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg tore into world leaders for failing to act.

"This is all wrong," Thunberg said, reading from a piece of paper. "I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you."

"People are suffering," the 16-year-old continued through tears. "People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you."

"How dare you continue to look away and come here saying you are doing enough," Thunberg added. "You say you hear us and understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe."

Thunberg was on a panel with other climate activists at the summit on the eve of the U.N. General Assembly to encourage countries to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

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Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg spoke to hundreds of climate change activists at a rally at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Friday. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC News)
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks to several thousand people at a climate strike rally at Denver's Civic Center Park, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg greeted as star at Montreal march
Swedish activist and student Greta Thunberg walks off the stage after addressing the Climate Strike in Montreal, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
Climate change teen activist Greta Thunberg signs a book as she receives the key to the city from Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante after a climate strike march in Montreal, Quebec, Canada September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Andrej Ivanov
Swedish environmental teen activist Greta Thunberg speaks after the climate strike march in Montreal, Quebec, Canada September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Andrej Ivanov
Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, right, shakes hands with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the Youth Climate Summit at United Nations headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg, left, speaks at a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee hearing on climate change Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, center, who has called on world leaders to step up their efforts against global warming, applauds remarks by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Climate Change Task Force, at a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, center, marches with other young climate activists for a climate strike outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg arrives outside the United Nations to participate in a demonstration, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 in New York. She is to speak at the U.N. Climate Change Summit on Sept. 23. She'll join world leaders who will present plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, left, meets with U.N. General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garces, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 at United Nations headquarters. Thunberg is scheduled to address the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Climate activists hold a sit-down with peace sign gestures during a climate strike outside the United Nations, Friday Aug. 30, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg participates in a Youth Climate Strike outside the United Nations, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019 in New York. Thunberg is scheduled to address the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, sails in New York harbor aboard the Malizia II, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. The zero-emissions yacht left Plymouth, England on Aug. 14. She is scheduled to address the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, speaks in front of a crowd of people after sailing in New York harbor aboard the Malizia II, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. The zero-emissions yacht left Plymouth, England on Aug. 14. She is scheduled to address the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, sails into New York harbor aboard the Malizia II, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. The zero-emissions yacht left Plymouth, England on Aug. 14. She is scheduled to address the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Swedish 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg sails underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on the Malizia II racing yacht in New York Harbor as she nears the completion of her trans-Atlantic crossing in order to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in New York, U.S., August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar
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She was among 16 children to file a legal complaint with the United Nations Monday, accusing five countries — France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey — of not doing enough to combat climate change.

President Trump, whose administration have been widely criticized for rolling back environmental protections and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, was not scheduled to attend the event. But he did, later, after Thunberg had concluded her remarks.

Last week, Thunberg testified on Capitol Hill, urging lawmakers to "listen to the scientists" who say climate change is real and that humans are responsible — conclusions that Trump has resisted.

“I want you to unite behind science,” Thunberg said in her testimony before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on Wednesday. “I want you to unite behind science. And then I want you to take action.”

Thunberg submitted to Congress a 2018 report on global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warned about the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C that researchers say is likely between 2030 and 2052 if it continues at the current rate.

“This is not political views or my opinions,” she said. “This is science.”

Thunberg, who has been nominated for a Nobel Prize for her work raising awareness about climate change, has become an inspirational figure for fellow teens. Last month, she sailed from Europe to the United States on a zero-emission yacht.

She also met with former President Barack Obama, who praised her for her work.

"You're changing the world, so we're very excited to have you," he said.

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