‘German Greta’ says UN climate talks were ‘hopeless’


The climate activist dubbed the “German Greta” has described UN climate talks as “hopeless” ahead of the next major climate conference in Glasgow this year.  

Luisa Neubauer, 25, rose to prominence in 2019 as one of the main organisers of global climate change school strikes.

But in an exclusive interview with Sky News podcast ClimateCast, Miss Neubauer says it was her experience at the 2018 UN climate talks, also known as COP, that propelled her into activism.

German environmental activist Luisa Neubauer
Miss Neubauer was part of a group that successfully took the German government to court over its climate change goals

“I expected the UN climate conference to be the sort of place where they sort out the climate crisis,” Miss Neubauer said.

“I was standing there in Poland and I was looking around and I was like, ‘are you part of the problem here?!'”

“I felt the process was a bit hopeless,” she said. “I am not a COP enthusiast and you just wish that governments would sort this out.”

Last month, Miss Neubauer was part of a group that successfully took the German government to court over its climate change goals.

More on Climate Change

Germany’s supreme constitutional court ruled that the government’s climate protection measures were insufficient to protect future generations.

It ruled Germany’s leaders had to accelerate the reduction of emissions, which they have subsequently done.

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“This court case worked because there were people on the streets before,” Miss Neubauer says.

“Court cases are just one part of activism and climate action, street activism and school-striking are one other part of that big puzzle of people rising up to the climate crisis.”

In November, the UK government will host the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, in November.

The event was delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to be the most significant meeting on climate change since the 2015 Paris summit.

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“I do understand that diplomacy and coming together over this can be effective,” Miss Neubauer said, “but they don’t have to be”.

“And I feel again the COP will be a place where there will be lots of people demanding systemic and system changes, they will demand justice and equal representation,” she said.

“Ideally, that will be again another puzzle piece, but I would rather look at people everywhere and say what can we do until COP happens, so that growing awareness everywhere turns into growing action everywhere.”

The Daily Climate Show

Sky News has launched the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

The Daily Climate Show is broadcast at 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

Hosted by Anna Jones, it follows Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show also highlights solutions to the crisis and how small changes can make a big difference.

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