It’s too early to judge COP26 in terms of success and failure - half-way through, it’s looking very much like something in between. But the clear class act of the climate change conference so far has undoubtedly been Greta Thunberg.
World leaders from America’s Biden to India’s Modi have made speech after speech and promised this or that – some, it has to be said, being very good stuff – but the overall mood has been underwhelming. The sense of urgency seems to be lacking as are the need to be game-changer bold and do it sooner rather than later.
How refreshing then to have Greta arriving in Glasgow and telling it like it is. In speeches to demonstrators and in media interviews she has been nailing the issues with a lazer-like precision – an uber-focus the ranks of national leaders have been unable or unwilling to match.
Greta’s interview on Andrew Marr’s Sunday BBC TV programme was a case in point. She was in control of the facts, on top of the needs for action, clear, concise and devastatingly frank on what Glasgow, so far, is missing.
Thunberg showed in this interview why she is such a force in the world’s debate on climate change. Incredibly impressive, charismatic, unafraid and unhindered by the need to please this or that lobby. Although, I did detect at times a subtler approach to certain issues where a softer or more cagey answer was ‘politically correct’ in terms of not painting herself into a corner. When COP26 ends, with whatever outcome, Greta will need to be in the vanguard to keep the world’s attention on fighting climate change and she will need complete flexibility.
This more refined Greta Thunberg is all part of her maturing into her role as global climate change icon and voice. Greta the young girl hit the world with like a typhoon. By her words and actions at Glasgow so far, Greta the emerging woman will be just as powerful as a force on climate change but she is adding an unstoppable sophistication to her weaponry that will make her impact even greater.
Twitter - @GretaThunberg