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  1. ITV Report

Greta Thunberg tells Davos summit climate awareness ‘only first step’

Climate activist Greta Thunberg said more has to be done in the fight against global warming, and told the world's political and business leaders that the movement sparked by her school strike is only the beginning.

Speaking as part of a panel of young activists at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Swedish teenager said: "It wasn't only me, but all these many, many young people, from many different places, pushing together to form these alliances of movements.

"Of course that is a huge step, people are generally more aware now...climate and environment is a hot topic now, and a lot of thanks to young people pushing.

"But if you see it from another perspective, nothing has been done since the global emissions of C02 has not reduced, and that is of course what we are trying to achieve, among other things."

However, Ms Thunberg said the struggle against climate change will require more than just general awareness.

“This is just the very beginning,” she said, adding that everyone needs to listen more to the science regarding climate change.

“Without treating it as a real crisis, we cannot solve it,” she added.

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The Swedish teenager's school strike sparked a global movement, when she started her 'School Strike for Climate.'

She missed school every Friday to campaign outside the Swedish parliament and she asked young people to engage in similar protests.

This developed into the school climate strike movement, also known as Fridays for Future, in which tens of thousands of school children campaigned across the world for climate change.

In a speech later in the day, Ms Thunberg said her generation "will not give up without a fight."

"The facts are clear, but they are still too uncomfortable for you to address, you just leave it, because you think it's too depressing, and people will give up, but people will not give up, you are the ones who are giving up," she said.

"Our house is still on fire, your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hours and we are telling you to act as if you love your children above all else."

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he arrives at Davos. Credit: AP

Her comments are in stark contrast to those made by President Donald Trump, who arrived at Davos on Tuesday to start his two-day visit to the WEF.

In his keynote speech he said: "This is not a time for pessimism. This is a time for optimism."

He spoke of his administration's economic achievements and said that America’s economic turnaround has been “nothing short of spectacular."

Greta Thunberg looks on as President Donald Trump makes his keynote speech at the WEF. Credit: AP

The president appeared to attack climate activists, by urging the audience to "reject the perennial prophets of doom".

Last year, Mr Trump missed the summit, during the record-long shutdown of the US government.

He is attending the forum on the first day of his impeachment hearing in the US.

The theme of this year's WEF is climate change, with the summit focused on sustainable development, under the slogan 'Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.'

“The political landscape is polarised, sea levels are rising and climate fires are burning," said Borge Brende, President of the WEF.

“This is the year when world leaders must work with all sectors of society to repair and reinvigorate our systems of co-operation, not just for short-term benefit but for tackling our deep-rooted risks.”