The disarming case to act right now on climate change | Greta Thunberg | Summary and Q&A

February 13, 2019
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The disarming case to act right now on climate change | Greta Thunberg


In this powerful speech, Oyama Akinori discusses the urgent need for action on climate change and the importance of individuals taking responsibility for the future.

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Key Insights

  • 😨 Climate change and global warming were introduced at a young age, but the lack of urgency and action from society is confusing and concerning.
  • 😓 The speaker's Asperger syndrome and selective mutism offer a unique perspective on the world, suggesting that those with autism are "normal" and prioritize sustainability.
  • 🌍 Immediate and drastic action is required to combat the sustainability crisis, including reducing emissions by at least 15% annually and aiming for a 1.5-degree Celsius warming target.
  • 💔 The media, leaders, and society as a whole largely fail to address and prioritize the severity of climate change, mass extinction, climate justice, and the long-term consequences for future generations.
  • ⚖️ Equity and climate justice are crucial components of addressing the crisis, with rich countries needing to eliminate emissions within 6 to 12 years to allow poorer countries the opportunity to improve their living standards.
  • 😔 The majority of people are unaware of the true consequences of their everyday actions and the need for rapid change. Climate scientists and politicians often fail to lead by example, hindering progress.
  • 🔎 The lack of immediate consequences and visible signs of crisis may lead to a lack of urgency and understanding among the general population. Flooded cities and increased mortality rates are not enough to drive action.
  • 🌱 Hope is necessary, but action is paramount. Rather than relying on positive rhetoric, individuals must actively seek and engage in actions that contribute to a sustainable future. The rules must be changed, starting today.


Transcriber: Oyama Akinori Reviewer: Peter Van de Ven When I was about eight years old, I first heard about something called climate change or global warming. Apparently, that was something humans had created by our way of living. I was told to turn off the lights to save energy and to recycle paper to save resources. I remember thinking that it wa... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the speaker's opinion on humans' impact on climate change?

The speaker finds it strange that humans, as an animal species, are capable of changing the Earth's climate. They express confusion as to why there are no restrictions or laws against burning fossil fuels if it poses a threat to our existence.

Q: What conditions and diagnoses does the speaker have?

The speaker was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism. They mention that individuals on the autism spectrum, like themselves, often see the world in black and white and struggle with social games and lying.

Q: What does the speaker state about sustainability and climate change?

The speaker believes that their autistic perspective makes them see the world as strange when it comes to the sustainability crisis. They find it contradictory that everyone acknowledges climate change as an existential threat, yet there is a lack of action and commitment to reducing emissions.

Q: What actions does the speaker believe should be taken to address climate change?

The speaker emphasizes the need for rapid change and suggests that rich countries like Sweden should start reducing emissions by at least 15% every year. They also mention the importance of aiming for a 1.5-degree Celsius warming target and taking into account equity and climate justice as stated in the Paris Agreement.


In this powerful and thought-provoking speech, the speaker, a young girl named Greta Thunberg, shares her perspective on climate change and the lack of action being taken to address it. She questions why society continues to ignore the impending crisis and emphasizes the need for immediate and drastic change. Thunberg's passionate plea calls for action rather than just hope, highlighting the urgency of the situation and the need to challenge existing norms and rules.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the speaker first learn about climate change?

The speaker first heard about climate change when she was eight years old. She was told that it was caused by human activity and was instructed to conserve energy and recycle.

Q: Why did the speaker find it strange that humans could change the Earth's climate?

The speaker found it strange that humans could be capable of changing the climate because if it were true, it would be the most talked-about issue. She expected to see continuous coverage of the crisis in the media and discussions among leaders.

Q: How did the speaker's experience with depression and autism shape her view on climate change?

The speaker's experience with depression and being on the autism spectrum made her view the world in black and white. She sees the lack of action on climate change as contradictory to the urgent warnings of its severity. She believes that her perspective is more logical and that others are the ones who find it difficult to grasp the seriousness of the issue.

Q: What does the speaker believe needs to happen in terms of reducing emissions?

The speaker asserts that rich countries like Sweden need to reduce their emissions by at least 15 percent every year in order to meet the target of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius. However, she points out that aiming for 1.5 degrees Celsius would have an even greater impact on mitigating climate change.

Q: Why does the speaker think that people are not taking action to reduce emissions?

The speaker believes that most people are unaware of the true consequences of their everyday actions and the urgent need for change. She argues that if people truly understood the crisis and its connection to their own behavior, there would be visible signs of urgency, such as restrictions and media coverage.

Q: What is the speaker's opinion on the mass extinction of species?

The speaker highlights that the world is currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction, with up to 200 species going extinct every day. She criticizes the lack of attention given to this crisis and argues that it should be a significant part of the conversation around climate change.

Q: How does the speaker address the issue of equity and climate justice?

The speaker points out that climate justice, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, is crucial for global cooperation. She emphasizes that rich countries should aim to reach zero emissions within a few years and support poorer countries in improving their standards of living through necessary infrastructure development.

Q: Why does the speaker believe that hope alone is not enough?

The speaker suggests that while hope is important, action is paramount. She believes that hope will emerge as a result of taking action, rather than waiting for hope to motivate change. She argues that merely discussing positive ideas and solutions without putting them into practice is ineffective.

Q: What does the speaker emphasize about oil consumption?

The speaker highlights the staggering amount of oil consumed daily, which currently stands at 100 million barrels. She argues that relying on politics and existing rules will not be sufficient to change this reality and that a fundamental shift is necessary.

Q: What does the speaker call for at the end of her speech?

The speaker calls for significant and immediate change. She challenges societal norms and asserts that everything needs to change, starting right now.


Thunberg's speech highlights the urgency of addressing climate change and the need for immediate action. She criticizes the lack of attention and action being taken, emphasizing the disconnect between the severity of the crisis and the way society continues to operate. Thunberg urges individuals and leaders to challenge existing rules, norms, and behaviors to create a sustainable future. She reminds us that hope should be a byproduct of action, not a substitute for it.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker, a young person with Asperger syndrome, expresses confusion and frustration over society's lack of action in addressing climate change, despite its urgency.

  • The speaker calls for immediate and drastic action to reduce emissions and prevent further climate impacts, highlighting the need for rich countries to take the lead in reducing emissions and promoting climate justice.

  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of action over hope, urging the audience to challenge the existing rules and systems to bring about the necessary changes to save the future.

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