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Greta Thunberg Is The Youngest Person To Ever Be Named TIME’s Person Of The Year

The 16-year-old Swedish activist proved why in another powerful speech overnight

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, we didn’t know Greta Thunberg‘s name. Now, the teenage activist is the face of the climate change movement, attending summits with world leaders, writing books and receiving Nobel Prize nominations.

Overnight, Thunberg added another accolade to her growing list when she was named TIME‘s Person of the Year, the youngest, at 16, to ever be recognised by the magazine in a tradition that started in 1927.

Fittingly, when the news broke, Thunberg had just finished giving a speech at the UN climate change summit in Madrid where she spoke of world leaders using ‘clever PR’ to disguise how little they’ve done in the face of the climate emergency.

“Countries are finding clever ways around having to take real action, like double-counting emissions reductions, and moving emissions overseas, and walking back on their promises to increase ambitions, or refusing to pay for solutions or loss and damage,” she said. “This has to stop.”

“I still believe the biggest danger is not inaction,” Thunberg continued. The real danger is when politicians and CEOs make it look like real action is happening, when in fact, almost nothing is being done, apart from clever accounting and creative PR.”

She finished her speech with: “In just three weeks we will enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future.”

“Right now we are desperate for any sign of hope.There is hope – I’ve seen it – but it does not come from the governments or corporations, it comes from the people. The people who have been unaware are now starting to wake up.”

“Every great change in history comes from the people. We can start the change right now, we the people.”

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