By Marina Depetris and Cecile Mantovani
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Swedish activist Greta Thunberg marched with 10,000 protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday and said “you have not seen anything yet” before some head to Davos next week to challenge the global financial elite to fight climate change.
The 17-year-old, who launched the #FridaysforFuture movement that has sparked worldwide protests, denounced a lack of government action to cut heat-trapping emissions before it is too late.
“So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne.
“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”
Protesters held signs including “Wake up and Smell the Bushfires” and “It is late but it is not too late”.
Hundreds will take trains over the weekend and then march to Klosters near Davos, the annual gathering of world political and business leaders that Thunberg is attending for the second year in a row and will take part in two panel events.
Climate change and environmental destruction top the risks highlighted by global decision-makers in a survey ahead of the 2020 gathering of the global elite.
This year’s meeting of 3,000 includes U.S. President Donald Trump who once described climate change as a “hoax” and whose administration in November filed paperwork to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the pact to fight climate change.
The latest World Economic Forum annual meeting takes place against the backdrop of some of Australia’s worst ever bushfires. While the government there has avoided making a link to climate change, the fires have deepened public concern about the heating of the planet.
Last year was the Earth’s second-hottest since records began, and the world should brace itself for more extreme weather events like Australia’s fires, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday.
“We are…an alliance that is organizing next week in 20 countries to say ‘time is up’ to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Time is up,” a Kenyan activist, Njoki Njoroge Njehu, told the crowd in Lausanne.
“It is time to abolish billionaires. It is time to abolish billionaires, because we cannot afford them, the planet cannot afford billionaires,” she said.
(Reporting by Marina Depetris, Cecile Mantovani and Johnny Cotton; Writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark Heinrich)