1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Greta Thunberg slams COP26 failure

November 6, 2021

The 18-year-old Fridays For Future mainstay said the world needed "immediate drastic annual emission cuts." She called on world leaders to act instead of "profiting from this destruction."

Swedish activist speaks on the stage of a demonstration in Glasgow, Scotland
Climate activist Greta Thunberg has hit out at the lack of leadership against climate changeImage: Jon Super/AP/picture alliance

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Friday slammed the COP26 UN climate summit as "a failure" at the first of various protest marches throughout the weekend.

Thunberg labeled the summit in Glasgow to cut emissions "a two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah" during the Fridays for Future march.

What did Greta Thunberg say?

"It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure," Thunberg told thousands of mainly young protesters that had gathered in the Scottish city.

"This is no longer a climate conference. This is now a global greenwashing festival."

She hit out at delegates from 200 countries who had got together to work out how to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit climate change across the globe.

"They cannot ignore the scientific consensus and they cannot ignore us," said Thunberg.

"Our leaders are not leading. This is what leadership looks like," she said, pointing to the crowd.

The founder of Fridays for Future said leaders of the Global North seemed to be trying to prevent any real change.

"They are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves and to continue profiting from this destruction," she said. "We need immediate drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen."

What's been achieved so far?

The COP26 summit started with real hope as over 100 countries committed themselves to cutting emissions by at least 30% this decade.

But environmental groups doubted the pledge, suggesting that especially richer countries often fail to live up to their promises.

The UN has estimated that under the proposed climate action plans the Earth would warm by 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) this century.

"Youth have brought critical urgency to the talks," said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. "They have emphasized what is at stake for young people if the gap to 1.5 C is not closed."

"World leaders are obviously scared of the truth, yet no matter how hard they try, they cannot escape it," said Thunberg.

jc/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Tank firing at night
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage