SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 11 – Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who inspired a global movement to fight climate change, has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.
The 16-year-old is the youngest person to be chosen by the magazine in a tradition that started in 1927.
Shortly before the announcement, she told a UN climate change summit in Madrid that the next decade would define the planet’s future.
She urged world leaders to stop using “creative PR” to avoid real action.
Announcing Time’s decision on NBC, editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said: “She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement.”
The magazine’s cover carries a picture of Ms Thunberg with the headline “The power of youth”.
At the COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid, Ms Thunberg accused world powers of making constant attempts to find loopholes to avoid making substantial changes.
“The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when, in fact, almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR,” she said, drawing applause.
Summits on climate change seemed “to have turned into some kind of opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition”, she added.
The clock was ticking as the decade comes to a close, she said. “In just three weeks we will enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future. Right now, we are desperate for any sign of hope.”