Michelle Obama has sent a public message of support to the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg after the teenager was mocked by Donald Trump.
“So ridiculous,” the president wrote. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
“@GretaThunberg, Don’t let anyone dim your light,” Michelle Obama wrote following a visit to Vietnam. “Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all. Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”
Trump’s attack on her, in personal terms, struck many observers as a marked and hypocritical escalation.
The 16-year-old climate activist has caught the ire of many US conservatives for helping to spotlight a climate emergency which her critics pretend does not exist. That ire was in evidence this week, when Time magazine named Thunberg its person of the year, drawing much criticism from climate crisis deniers.
The US signed onto the 2015 Paris agreement during Obama’s presidency, promising a 26-28% cut in emissions by 2025 from 2005 levels. But the administration of Obama’s successor, Trump, filed paperwork last week to withdraw from the pact.
The Paris accord aims to avoid the most catastrophic scenarios foreseen by climate scientists by limiting the rise in average global temperatures caused by burning fossil fuels.
Once it exits, the US – the top historic greenhouse gas emitter and leading oil and gas producer – will become the only country outside the accord.
Obama said that it is up to the world’s youth to lead the charge in dealing with climate change, blaming the previous generation for failing to handle the issue “the way it should have”.
“The oceans will be rising, and that is going to displace people. So we’ll to have to anticipate and care for some of the consequences, including large scale migrations and disruptions. That’s going to be very possible,” Obama said.
“Old people are not going to worry about this as much as young people because they’re going to be gone when the full effects of this will come. So you’re going to have more urgency and educate your communities.”
(With information from The Guardian.)