Pandemic shows science is only way to save the world, says Greta Thunberg

01 01 2021 | 11:10Bethany Dawso

We are not listening to climate scientists, we’re not listening to scientists who work on biodiversity and that, of course, needs to change’


Although the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of following scientific advice, Greta Thunberg states climate experts continue to be ignored on the severity of the climate crisis.

The Swedish activist stated that the Covid-19 crisis had “shone a light” on how “we cannot make it without science”, but people were “only listening to one type of scientists”.

Her comments came in an alongside author Margaret Atwood, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday as part of the two-times Booker Prize-winning writer’s guest-editing of the Today programme.

Thunberg was asked if people’s new-found appreciation of science due to the pandemic would have an effect on climate information as well.

“It could definitely have. I think this pandemic has shone a light on how ... we are depending on science and that we cannot make it without science,” the 17-year-old replied.

“But of course, we are only listening to one type of scientist or some types of scientists, and, for example, we are not listening to climate scientists, we’re not listening to scientists who work on biodiversity and that, of course, needs to change.”

The environmental campaigner expressed a lack of enthusiasm and trust when questioned about nations’ pledges to reduce their carbon emissions, such as China which has committed to reaching a net-zero target by 2060.

“That would be very nice if they actually meant something,” Thunberg said.

“We can’t just keep talking about future, hypothetical, vague, distant dates and pledges. We need to do things now. And also net-zero ... that is a very big loophole, you can fit a lot in that word net.”

Thunberg said the election of Joe Biden as US president, who has pledged to rejoin the Paris climate accord on the first day of his presidency, sent a “signal” that “it could be a good start of something new”.

“Let’s hope that it is like that, and let’s push for it to become like that,” she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has prevented the Fridays for Future movement that Thunberg inspired from holding its mass rallies in recent months.

Thunberg started her solo protests outside Sweden’s parliament in Stockholm in August 2018.

She told the Today programme that climate striking had moved online.

Asked by Atwood about what she would do if given a magic wand and three wishes to use, Thunberg said: “I don’t think anyone should have that amount of power.”

She added: “Maybe I would just go for something easy, like, make everything become alright, and make sure that everything turns out the way it should, or make the world a better place or something like that.”



Bethany Dawson@bethanymrd