Greta Thunberg in Davos, Antonio Guterres charges the oil majors

Back in the Swiss ski resort on the occasion of the World Economic Forum, the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg must in particular debate with the director general of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The ” big lie oil tankers on the climate must be punished as for tobacco, urges for his part the head of the UN, which multiplies the alarming outings on global warming.

“Treating the climate crisis as a crisis”: this is the title of the “conversation” organized at 11:15 a.m. (10:15 GMT) on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting this week in the Swiss ski resort, and in which the Swede with the Ecuadorian from the Amazon Helena Gualinga, the Ugandan Vanessa Nakate and the German Luisa Neubauer.

On the menu of the discussion, to which is also invited the director general of the AIE, Fatih Birol: whether governments and businesses are responding adequately to the climate crisis, the state of the clean energy transition, calls to halt new fossil fuel investment, and what needs to be done to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees “, detail the organizers.

The four young activists arrive in Davos with a petition launched this week calling for the multinationals to stop exploiting fossil fuels. The text had gathered more than 870,000 signatures on Wednesday evening.

“The house is burning”

The oil must stay in the ground “, had indicated earlier this week Helena Gualinga in an interview with AFP. ” We come from different places in the world, but we have the same proposal. It’s a call to say “we’re fed up!”, fed up because we’ve said it many times, we need urgent action. »

If you do not act immediately, be warned that citizens around the world will consider legal action to hold you accountable. And we will continue to demonstrate in large numbers in the streets “, proclaims the petition, which copies the appearance of a legal notice.

This is not the first time that Greta Thunberg has come to Davos during the World Economic Forum meeting. The 2020 edition was notably marked by his battles with US President Donald Trump.

It’s time to ” panic ” because ” the house is burning “, she hammered already at the time.

Earlier this week, she had gone to support demonstrators who opposed the extension of a coal mine, in Lützerath, in western Germany.

Read also: Anti-coal demonstrations in Germany: end clap in Lützerath

This initiative earned him a few hours of police custody on Tuesday, according to a police source. “ Climate protection is not a crime “, she had tweeted then. Former US Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore said on Wednesday ” in agreement with his fight.

Greta Thunberg is taken away by the police, in Lützerath (Germany), on January 17, 2023.

Guterres wants sanctions against oil majors

Climate is a hot topic at the Davos meeting this year. On Wednesday, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has already called for the oil majors to be prosecuted, as the tobacco companies have been, for having hidden for years the information they had on global warming.

Some fossil fuel producers were well aware in the 1970s that their flagship product was going to burn the planet », he said in a speech. “But, like the tobacco industry, they disregarded their own science,” he added, deducing that “ some oil giants have been peddling the big lie “.

As early as the 1980s, US oil company ExxonMobil had remarkably accurate global warming predictions made by its own scientists that turned out to be precisely what happened decades later, a study has confirmed. published Thursday in the prestigious magazine Science.

However, the company has for years publicly cast doubt on the state of scientific knowledge in this area, this publication also pointed out.

After publication in the journal Sciencean ExxonMobil spokesman told AFP that ” that question ” had “ surfaced several times in recent years “, adding that” each time, our answer is the same: those who evoke what “Exxon knew” are wrong in their conclusions “.

According to Antonio Guterres, those responsible must be prosecuted like the tobacco companies have been. A reference to the 246 billion dollars that the tobacco giants in the United States had agreed to pay in 1998 to 46 States over a period of 25 years, in order to cover the costs incurred to treat former smokers. “ Today, fossil fuel producers and those who support them continue to fight to increase production, knowing full well that their economic model is incompatible with the survival of humanity. »

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Davos on January 18, 2023.

“I don’t have climate scientists at TotalEnergies”

For several years now, the ExxonMobil group has been accused of having had a double discourse on the warming of the climate caused by the immense quantities of greenhouse gases released by humanity into the atmosphere, in particular via the combustion of coal and oil to produce energy.

Questioned on the subject by the French channel BFM Business in Davos, the boss of the French hydrocarbon giant TotalEnergies Patrick Pouyanné affirmed that his group does not “ knew nothing at all “. ” Me, I don’t have climate scientists at TotalEnergies “, he said.

The first thing I would like to see now would be oil and gas companies join the other critical business groups, many of whom are working diligently here to try to address the climate crisis. “, told AFP the special envoy of the United States on climate change, John Kerry.

Former US vice-president and climate activist Al Gore, also present in Switzerland, was more direct: The oil, gas and coal industries fight tooth and nail against climate legislation at the national, regional, local and municipal level » and use « their political influence and wealth to prevent progress “, he accused.

Last Thursday, the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that the past eight years had been the hottest on record.

(With AFP)