Thunberg Strikes Again

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Have you already pre-ordered your copy of Greta Thunberg’s widely anticipated new tome, The Climate Book? To be released on 27 October, the compendium gathers the wisdom of over one hundred experts in geophysics, oceanography and meteorology alongside engineers, economists, mathematicians, historians, philosophers, and indigenous leaders. Among the contributors whose names Thunberg shares on Twitter are novelists Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh, climate scientist Saleemul Huq, Kenyan environmentalist Wanjira Mathai, and World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. According to her publisher, it is an ambitious project attempting “to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster.”

    Perhaps most importantly, the book promises to feature Thunberg’s own take on the state of climate affairs, greenwashing, and much more. For those impatient to delve into the iconic environmentalist’s thoughts, on 8 October, The Guardian offered its readers an edited extract from the book.

    Although it has been years since she started Fridays for Future as a young teenager, sitting outside the parliament building in Stockholm with her sign, School Strike for Climate, Thunberg’s pathos has hardly diminished. The new book exhibits her customary sense of duty and urgency. “It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to keep calling out the bullshit of our so-called leaders,” she assures us. “I want to believe that people are good. But there really seems to be no end to these cynical games.”

    As world leaders prepare for the upcoming COP27 and a renewed battle over the so-called “loss and damage” funding for developing nations, Thunberg’s opinion on the matter is clear. “The climate crisis is not something that “we” have created,” she writes. “The worldview that largely dominates the perspective from Stockholm, Berlin, London, Madrid, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Sydney, or Auckland is not so prevalent in Mumbai, Ngerulmud, Manila, Nairobi, Lagos, Lima, or Santiago. People from the parts of the world that are most responsible for this crisis must realise that other perspectives do exist and that they have to start listening to them.”

    And while on the topic of COP27, she doesn’t seem too hopeful. “Our politicians do not need to wait for anyone else in order to start taking action. Nor do they need conferences, treaties, international agreements, or outside pressure. They could start right away,” writes Thunberg. Her frustration is palpable as she searches for explanations for what she perceives as their lack of action. “Maybe it is because they do not care. Maybe it is because they are unaware. Maybe it is because they are more scared of the solutions than of the problem itself. Maybe it is because they are afraid of causing social unrest. Maybe they are afraid of losing their popularity.”

    Not surprisingly, Thunberg’s prescription for what we need is what she calls ‘real net zero’. “And we need honesty,” she adds. “At the very least, we need our leaders to start including all our actual emissions in our targets, statistics and policies. Before they do that, any mention of vague, future goals is nothing but a distracting waste of time.”

    Judging by the extract, Thunberg’s new book is going to read just like one of her speeches. It is passionate, personal, and so uncompromising that it makes me wince more than once. Whether it will sway the minds and actions of those who matter is yet to be seen. In her own words, “as much as I hate to admit it – Beyoncé was wrong. It is not girls who run the world.”

    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia has accumulated experience in asset management for more than 20 years in Stockholm and Beijing, in portfolio management, asset allocation, fund selection and risk management. In December 2020, she completed a program in Sustainability Studies at the University of Linköping. Julia speaks Mandarin, Bulgarian, Hindi, Russian, Swedish, Urdu and English. She holds a Master in Indology from Sofia University and has completed studies in Economics at both Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics.

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