Ms Thunberg also branded Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claims that the “UK has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 42 percent on 1990 levels” as a “lie”. Speaking at the launch of a new UNICEF report that looked at the impact of climate change on children, the climate champion said: “There is a lie that the UK is a climate leader and that they have reduced their CO2 emissions by 44 percent since 1990, or whatever.”
She continued: “And of course, if you don’t include all emissions, that’s, of course, the statistics are going to look much nicer.”
Ms Thunberg added: “But if you include things like aviation, shipping, outsourcing and the imports of like consumption for instance, and of burning of biomass, it doesn’t really look that good.”
She then went on to say that she hopes people will stop referring to the UK as a “climate leader”.
Ms Thunberg said that in reality, those claims are “simply not true”.
However, she did admit the UK is “very good at creative carbon accounting” but that “doesn’t mean much in practice”.
The new report released by UNICEF has found around one billion of the world’s 2.2 billion children live in countries classified as being at “extremely-high risk” of the impacts of the climate crisis.
Young people living in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau have been identified as being the most at risk, despite the fact these countries are among the lowest emitters of CO2.
The authors of the report, which include Ms Thunberg, said: “We cannot allow this injustice to continue. It is immoral that the countries that have done the least are suffering first and worst.”
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The report has urged global leaders to use the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November to take the “drastic action required to shift the economy away from fossil fuels”.
Addressing the comments made by Ms Thunberg a Government spokesperson said: “We are proud of the strides we are already making in tackling climate change, cutting emissions by 44 percent over the past three decades.
“This figure was published as part of our thoroughly transparent annual reporting, and was measured in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) standards for reporting emissions.
“We stand by our assertion that we are a world leader in the fight against climate change, and are absolutely committed to meeting our future climate commitments.
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“We were the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to climate change by 2050, and our Net Zero Strategy – to be published shortly – will set out our plans to do even more.”
The news comes after Ms Thunberg praised the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report for being a “solid” overview of the “current best available science” earlier this month.
The environmental activist noted that although the groundbreaking report contains “no real surprises” it does confirm that the world is in a state of “emergency”.
She also described the report’s predictions as “cautious”, suggesting she believes the real threat is actually even worse.
The report, which was published on August 9 warned that the planet will face catastrophic consequences if immediate action is not taken to combat climate change.
Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, called the findings a “code red for humanity”, with temperatures set to reach 1.5C above industrial levels within the next 20 years unless fossil fuels are phased out.
A group of 234 scientists from 66 countries compiled the report, which states there is “unequivocal” evidence that humans are the cause of rising temperatures.
The stance of the report is far stronger than the IPCC’s assessment in 2013, which referred to humans as a “dominant cause” of global warming.
Ms Thunberg believes that the report “doesn’t tell us what to do” and encouraged people “to be brave” in their approach to preventing the damages of climate change.
Writing on Twitter, the 18-year-old said: “The new IPCC report contains no real surprises.
“It confirms what we already know from thousands previous studies and reports – that we are in an emergency.
“It’s a solid (but cautious) summary of the current best available science.
“It doesn’t tell us what to do. It is up to us to be brave and take decisions based on the scientific evidence provided in these reports.
“We can still avoid the worst consequences, but not if we continue like today, and not without treating the crisis like a crisis.”