Greta Thunberg tears apart EU agricultural plan over failure to tackle climate change

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The 18-year-old virtually met EU Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans on Tuesday to discuss the bloc’s plan to tackle climate change. Ms Thunberg told the Commissioner he should drop the bloc’s flagship agriculture policy (Common Agricultural Policy) as it fails to match with the ambitious Green Deal set by the EU executive.

In a brutal swipe at the Commissioner, the young activist told Politico: “I’m sure that he does everything he can, but we really need to be realistic and say that the time for small steps in the right direction is long gone and we cannot look away from the science anymore.”

She added that the conversation was “just like we expected it to be.”

She continued: “We urged them to listen to the science and say once again that according to the overall science it’s becoming more and more crystal clear, it’s undeniable that this is not in line with the Paris agreement, it’s not in line with the 1.5 degree target.”

Ms Thunberg said the Commissioner pledged to meet with her again ahead of the CAP reform.

Belgian activist Adélaïde Charlier, who was also on the video call, said Mr Timmermans made clear he wanted to allow EU leaders to engage in the conversation, as he could not decide for the change of policy arbitrarily on his own.

But she blasted: “It’s very clear what we have asked [for], and it’s something that he has in his hands, but it’s something that he clearly doesn’t have the courage right now to do.”

The EU’s policy reform is worth some £300 billion and is expected to kick off in 2023.

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Mr Charlier added: “The CAP that he’s negotiating is not aligned to the policy that he puts at the center of his own Commission.”

In the UK, a new summit was announced for politicians and scientists from around the world ahead of the November COP26 UN climate talks.

Dubbed the Countdown Summit, it aims to build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and work towards reaching net-zero by 2050.

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TED and Future Stewards launched the Countdown initiative with a virtual event last October, with appearances by people including Pope Francis, the Duke of Cambridge, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, and US environmentalist Al Gore.

The summit will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) from October 12-15 this year.

The Edinburgh event will see politicians, business leaders, policy makers, scientists, indigenous leaders, artists, philanthropists, youth activists and others gather for talks and collaboration – subject to any health and safety guidance in place at the time.

Marshall Dallas, EICC chief executive, said: “This is such an important initiative for the world, including for Scotland. In a year when Cop26 is also being hosted in Glasgow, the world’s attention will be on our country.

“Countdown is centred around driving global positive change, which matches up with our own vision at the EICC – to create an environment which inspires ideas that change the world.”

The EICC has hosted TED conferences on four previous occasions.

The line-up of speakers at the Countdown Summit will be announced in September.

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