April 13, 2024

Greta Thunberg has accused Sweden of being “very good at greenwashing” as she staged a protest along with about 50 other activists outside her home country’s parliament.

The activists – who she said were acting as a group of concerned, largely young individuals rather than representing a particular organisation – sat outside the main entrance to Sweden’s government buildings in Stockholm on Monday morning in an attempt to stop politicians from getting to work.

The action came on a high-stakes day for the Swedish government, with the prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, and numerous key figures in Brussels for its official flag-raising ceremony outside Nato headquarters after becoming members last week.

The 21-year-old climate activist said: “Sweden is unfortunately not unique in completely ignoring the climate crisis, not treating it as an emergency at all. But actively trying to greenwash, deceive and lie in order to make it seem like they are doing enough and that they are moving in the right direction, when in fact the exact opposite is happening.”

She added: “Sweden in particular is very good at greenwashing and framing themselves as a climate leader, when we have very high emissions per capita if we include all our emissions, including consumption based and biogenic emissions etc and especially if we look at historic emissions. So we are not a climate leader at all.”

The Swedish government, a centre-right coalition run by the Moderate party and dependent on the support of the far-right Sweden Democrats, has faced heavy criticism in recent months over how it plans to reach its agreed climate goals with policies that are expected to greatly increase emissions.

All over the world, Thunberg said, “people seem to be physically incapable of focusing on several things at the same time”. She added: “We need to be able to tackle the climate crisis in a way that addresses all the other root causes as well and make sure that we have a just transition.”

The aim of Monday’s protest against the climate crisis and the people that it is killing, Thunberg said, was to highlight how “the people in power are ignoring the most affected and activists and young people and the science”. She accused politicians of instead “prioritising short-term economic profits”, which she said was “sacrificing human life and the planet in the name of greed”.

She said this type of protest marked a first for Sweden, although similar actions had happened in other locations around the world.

“The climate justice movement has for decades tried to get our message across and scientists and the most affected people have been sounding the alarm for even longer than that,” she said. “But the people in power have not been listening, they have been actively ignoring and silence those speaking out.”

Climate scientists were also in attendance at the demonstration to show their support.

Swedish police, who are understood to be at the protest, have been contacted for comment.

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