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Greta Thunberg promotes her book onstage

Ahead of Cop27 in Egypt next week, Thunberg has shared why she won't be in attendance.

Climate advocate Greta Thunberg has called the annual UN climate change conference a “scam” that is "failing" the planet through inaction.


The Conference of the Parties (Cop) summit is held every year to address the effects of climate change globally. The 2022 conference will take place in Egypt next week, but the 19-year-old Swedish activist recently revealed she will not be attending.

At a promotional event for her recently published work, The Climate Book, Thunberg explained: “I’m not going to Cop27 for many reasons, but the space for civil society this year is extremely limited."

Thunberg has recently expressed solidarity with “prisoners of conscience” held in Egypt. Via Twitter, she promoted a petition to release everyone who has been arbitrarily detained before the summit proceeds.

The petition reads: "[We] note with great concern the human rights situation in Egypt and in particular the government’s restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, which risk to undermine a successful, inclusive and participatory climate summit."

While the events in Egypt fueled Thunberg's decision not to attend this year, she continued to say that the conferences as a whole are ineffective, as they “are not really meant to change the whole system."

“The Cops are mainly used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention," she explained. "Using many different kinds of greenwashing."

Greenwashing is the practice of making products or policies seem more environmentally friendly or less damaging than they actually are, usually used in advertising through vague descripters such as "environmentally friendly" or "green." Thunberg referred to this process, which she accused the UN of engaging in, as “lying and cheating."

Thunberg's statements come just days after the UN released a report that revealed the world has failed to meet the standards of the Paris Climate Accords. The agreement among 194 countries has yet to curtail global emissions, with only 24 nations submitting new or updated climate plans since Cop26 in 2021.

Increasingly worrying climate reports can affect mental health, as Thunberg also touched on how these disappointing numbers are impacting young people.

“We’re right now in a very desperate position and many people are becoming desperate and are trying to find new methods because we realize that what we’ve been doing up until now has not done the trick."

Thunberg also said that the time has come for "drastic changes" to environmental policy and activism, and that those changes will likely not come through Cop summits.

She stated: “As it is now Cops not are not really working, unless of course, we use them as an opportunity to mobilize."

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