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Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, center, leads a march of thousands of French students through Paris, France, to draw more attention to fighting climate change, Feb. 22, 2019.
Francois Mori/AP
Environment

EU Boosts Climate Change Budget After Greta Thunberg Speech


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The youth movement against climate change is making waves. 

Following a speech by student climate activist Greta Thunberg in Brussels on Thursday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the EU should spend hundreds of billions of euros combating climate change during the next 10 years. 

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Juncker proposed that between 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget go toward action to mitigate climate change. He went on to denounce US President Donald Trump’s dismissal of climate change as an “ideological” and “invented” concept. 

“Unite behind the science, that is our demand,” Thunberg urged the European Economic and Social Committee. 

“Talk to the scientists, listen to them,” she pled.

Thunberg, 16, joined 10,000 Belgian students that day as part of their seven-week protest against climate change. 

Thunberg, the face of the now international resistance started skipping class on Fridays in August 2018 to protest in front of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm. The teen accused lawmakers of failing to follow through with their commitments under the Paris climate agreement. 

More than 190 countries signed the Paris climate agreement and pledged to stop temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but few are keeping up their end of the deal. 

Read More: Student-Led Climate Protests Sweeping the Globe Are Coming to the US

Tens of thousands of young climate change activists around the world have joined Thunberg’s fight ahead of the UN conference in 2020 to demand their governments cut greenhouse gas emissions which fuel climate change by warming the planet. The activists want the EU to stay on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 

Juncker said he’s “glad to see that young people are taking to the streets for climate change,” but other leaders present at the meeting, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May, pushed back against Thunburg for missing school, according to the Guardian. 

Despite Juncker’s commitment, Thunberg told the press she was disappointed in how little the current climate crisis was discussed during the event. 

But the youth movement isn’t slowing down. Thunburg led nearly 10,000 students in a march against climate change in Paris on Friday and an international strike to further elevate their frustration is planned for March 15.