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WEF meeting Climate activists brush off US criticism in Davos

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre) took part in a 'Fridays for future' demo

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre) took part in a "Fridays for future" demo on the final day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland on January 24, 2020

(Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller)

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has rejected mockery by United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about her and her political aims. 

Speaking on the final day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos on Friday, accompanied by fellow activists, Thunberg said the criticism had no effect on their climate campaign. 

“We cannot care about those kinds of things,” Thunberg said, insisting that her priority was drawing attention and action to concerns about global warming. “The situation is not being treated like the crisis it is.” 

On Thursday, Mnuchin made condescending comments about Thunberg and the climate activists, who have called on the governments and companies to cut back on fossil fuels. 

“Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I’m confused,” he declared. 

Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump announced the US would join an existing initiative to plant one trillion trees, but also talked about the economic importance of oil and gas and called climate change activists "pessimistic" and the "heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers". 

Science

Quoted by Reuters news agency, another young demonstrator, Isabelle Axelsson, said the climate activists had been taken more seriously than before. 

“I don’t know how they evaluate what we say, hopefully they listen, but generally I do think they dismiss us because of our age.” Axelsson added that there is too much media attention on the climate strikers. 

“We need the focus to be on the science.” 

This year’s annual meeting of business leaders and politicians in Davos, which closes on Friday, put climate change centre stage. At Friday’s news conference, Thunberg shared the spotlight with Vanessa Nakate of Uganda, Loukina Tille of Switzerland, Luisa Neubauer of Germany, and Isabelle Axelsson of Sweden.

swissinfo.ch with AP agency/ug

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