Environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg says it’s not worth speaking to Donald Trump about the climate emergency, since he is unable to listen to science.
Speaking during an interview for her guest-edit slot with Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Thunberg was asked what she would have said to Trump when their paths crossed at the UN climate change summit in New York earlier this year.
The American president is currently in the process of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, making the United States the only country in the world that will not participate in the pact at a time of global climate catastrophe.
A photo of Thunberg giving Trump a “death stare” as they passed one another at the UN summit went viral on social media at the time (this after she had just delivered an impassioned speech to world delegates).
But despite being in close proximity to the president, the young Swedish campaigner says she never actually spoke to him.
“Honestly, I don’t think I would have said anything because obviously he’s not listening to scientists and experts, so why would he listen to me?” Thunberg said today.
“So I probably wouldn’t have said anything, I wouldn’t have wasted my time.”
Meanwhile, Trump took umbrage with the fact that Time magazine named Thunberg their Person of the Year earlier this month, claiming in a tweet that she had an “anger management problem”.
At around the same time, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro called Thunberg a “brat” after she condemned violence against indigenous people living in the Amazon.
Speaking today, Thunberg said: “Those attacks are just funny because they obviously don’t mean anything”.
“I guess of course it means something – they are terrified of young people bringing change which they don’t want,” she added. “But that is just proof that we are actually doing something and that they see us as some kind of threat.”
Although Trump is known to be a climate change denier, the decision by the leader of the planet’s second-largest carbon emitter to leave the Paris accord shocked many people.
The president has also scrapped his predecessor Obama’s Clean Power Plan, as well as giving the green light for more drilling and fracking on federal land.
As she sailed across the Atlantic to New York in August, Thunberg had some advice for the American president: “My message for him is listen to the science and he obviously doesn’t do that,” she said.