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In noting Greta Thunberg’s cause, Putin slams manipulation of teens on behalf of others

The Russian president said he doesn't not share the enthusiasm about Greta Thunberg’s speech
Greta Thunberg (center) is seen after passing a security checkpoint at the United Nations in New York AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Greta Thunberg (center) is seen after passing a security checkpoint at the United Nations in New York
© AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he does not share the enthusiasm about Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations and denounces the manipulation of children and teenagers for someone else’s behalf.

"Maybe, I will disappoint you, but I do not share the enthusiasm about Greta Thunberg’s speech," Putin said at the Russian Energy Week on Wednesday.

According to the Russian leader, it is right that teens and young people "focus their attention on today’s challenging problems, including environmental protection."

"However, when children and teenagers are exploited in someone’s interests, it is worthy of condemnation," the Russian president stressed.

Putin continued that it is especially disgraceful when someone is making money off this.

"I do not claim that this is the case but it should be followed closely," he added.

What to do with developing countries

"No one has ever explained to Greta that the modern world is diverse, complex and rapidly developing and that people in either Africa or lots of Asian countries want to have the same benefits as in Sweden. How can this be done? Could they be made to use solar energy that is sufficient in Africa? Has anybody explained how much it costs?" the president questioned.

Putin pointed out that oil remains the Number One source in the world’s energy balance and, according to global experts, it will retain its leading positions in the next 25 years, although its share will be gradually decreasing, whereas the share of renewable sources will be growing.

Along with this, emerging economies cannot yet obtain renewable energy technologies, but people there "want to live as well as in Sweden and they cannot be stopped."

"Go explain to them that they should languish in poverty for another 20-30 years and that their children will be [living] in poverty," the Russian president continued, stressing that the issue should be solved as professionally as possible, although emotions were inevitable.

"I am sure that Greta is a kind girl and she is very sincere, but adults should do their best in order not to rile children and teenagers up into some extreme situations, they should protect them from extreme emotions that might destroy someone’s character," the Russian president said.

Putin added that the Russian authorities backed the development of renewable energy sources. He recalled, in particular, that Moscow had adopted the Paris Agreement and had taken steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to develop alternative energy sources, along with others.

Who is Greta Thunberg?

A 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, has galvanized public opinion around the world after her emotional speech at the United Nations last week. She accused world leaders that they have "stolen" her "dreams and childhood" with their empty words and warned them against stating "the world is doing enough to tackle climate change."

"How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just 'business as usual' and some technical solutions?" Greta proclaimed in her now renowned UN speech.