Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called for an end to government subsidies for fossil fuels such as coal and oil in a House of Representatives subcommittee hearing in Washington on Thursday.
“It is the year 2021. The fact that we are still having this discussion and even more that we are still subsidizing fossil fuels directly or indirectly, using taxpayer money, is a disgrace,” Thunberg told the House Oversight Committee’s environmental subcommittee.
“It is a clear proof that we have not understood the climate emergency at all,” said Thunberg, who attended online from Stockholm.
“If we are to live up to our promises and commitments in the Paris agreement, we have to end fossil fuel subsidies, stop new exploration and extraction, completely divest from fossil fuels and keep the carbon in the ground – now, especially the US, taken into account the fact that it is the biggest emitter in history.”
The hearing was to address “The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis” to mark Earth Day.
The fossil fuel industry spent 250 million dollars on political grants and lobbying last year, according to subcommittee Chairman Ro Khanna, a Democrat, who invited Thunberg to the hearing.
In return, he said, companies in the sector received more than 30 billion dollars in federal grants and pandemic support.
Earlier, Thunberg posted a video on social media criticizing climate targets.
“When you compare our insufficient targets with the overall current best available science, you clearly see that there’s a gap. There are decades missing,” she said.
“These targets could be a great start if it wasn’t for the fact that they are full of gaps and loopholes,” said Thunberg as global leaders attended an online climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden.
“While we can fool others – and even ourselves – we cannot fool nature and physics,” Thunberg said.
“We cannot be satisfied with something just because it’s better than nothing. We have to go further than that. We must believe that we can do this – because we can.”