POLITICIANS were accused of stealing young people’s future and leaving them to “clean up your mess” due to inaction over tackling climate change.
In a powerful address to TDs and Senators – who are finalising a report on climate action – school student Sumaya Mohammed warned that they have just ten years to make a difference and said: “I hope you make that count.”
It comes after a protest in recent weeks that saw school children around the world go on strike in protest at a lack of action by adults to address global warming.
Ms Mohammed told the Committee she wasn’t there to “bore you with my life story because that’s not why I’ve come here.”
But she said: “You guys grew up worrying what jobs you’d get, how you were going to do in exams, and who you’d fall in love with.
“We grow up worrying about the same things but on top of that we grow up worrying how long we have left to live.”
She added: “We should be enjoying life having care-free thoughts, not worrying about the future of the world yet we are here telling you guys how to do your jobs.”
Ms Mohammed argued that the root of the problem is “greediness and money”.
She added: “You know earth has already warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the end of the Industrial Revolution yet you continue to look at us and saying to us that we are proud of you.
“But the moment you walk out of this room the fact that you don’t do anything makes us wonder are you thinking of your image more than you’re thinking of us?”
She said: “We’re beyond furious. We shouldn’t have to be doing this, we shouldn’t be giving up one of our basic human rights, education, to clean up your mess.”
“You give us compliments on how amazing it is that school children are standing up for their futures. You said you were inspired and enthused.
“Your compliments are worthless to us without actions.
“You signed up to the Paris Agreement yet by the looks of it everyone has forgotten.”
Ms Mohammed added: “You’re stealing my future.
“I’m sorry if this offends you in any way but you have to face the reality. You aren’t realising your delay is harming our very existence…
“You aren’t realising that if we fail there is no undo button.
“If we are capable of changing the climate then we are definitely capable of fixing this mess.”
She said the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said the next ten years will be the most important years in history in terms of tackling climate change and added: “I hope you make that count.”
Ms Mohammed was among a number of students who spoke at the committee this afternoon.