Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home International Greta Thunberg’s disappointment with the Swedish government

Greta Thunberg’s disappointment with the Swedish government

Tabitha John writes about Greta Thunberg’s history of climate activism and her recent protest in front of the Swedish parliament.
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Image: Anders Hellberg via Wikimedia Commons

If you have been following the latest climate change protests you may have experienced an uneasy sense of déjà vu. Six years after Greta Thunberg first ignited a global youth movement by holding up her painted sign ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ (School Strike for Climate) on the steps of Swedish Parliament, the young activist is once again on home soil and urging for radical change.

Along with 50 other climate activists, Thunberg led a sit-down protest to block the doors of Swedish parliament, protesting “the ongoing destruction of Swedish life supporting systems”. Although they protested peacefully, the disruption to the Parliament’s entrance resulted in her forcible removal by the Stockholm Police. Yet, this is not the first encounter Thunberg has had with them, as just last year she was detained in LondonGermanyNorway and Sweden for protesting oil industries, coal mines, and the construction of a wind farm on the land of Sami indigenous people. 

If we take a wander through the archives of Sweden’s climate activism, to some individuals, it may seem odd that Thunberg felt the need to take action against her own government. Often considered a pioneering force in the fight against climate change, Sweden was one of the first countries to pass an environmental act in 1967, the first to host a UN conference to discuss the global environment in 1972, and one of the first countries to introduce a carbon tax in the 1990s. With such an impressive record, what prompted Thunberg and fellow activists to accuse it of “greenwashing”.

Along with 50 other climate activists, Thunberg led a sit-down protest to block the doors of Swedish parliament

Despite setting targets to cut greenhouse gases to 59% by 2030 and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2045, there are fears that Sweden may be heading in the wrong direction. According to an article by EURACTIV the Swedish Climate Policy Council states that policy changes imposed by the centre-right Swedish government have increased greenhouse emissions for the first time in two decades. To add fuel to the fire, 40 years ago Sweden decided to phase out atomic power as a source of energy, but in the middle of 2023 the government doubled back on itself and pushed forward with plans to build nuclear plants – a decision criticised as expensive and dangerous.

Only time will tell how Sweden manages the ongoing climate crisis, and with activists such as Greta Thunberg reminding us of their wrongdoings, there will be chances to discuss the government’s issues furthermore.

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