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Climate activist: leaders must act in unison during crises

April 22, 2020 GMT
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Environmental activist Greta Thunberg talks via video link with Professor of Environmental Science Johan Rockstrom in Germany, during a live chat on International Earth Day where they discussed the coronavirus pandemic and the environment, at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (Jessica Gow/TT News Agency via AP)
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Environmental activist Greta Thunberg talks via video link with Professor of Environmental Science Johan Rockstrom in Germany, during a live chat on International Earth Day where they discussed the coronavirus pandemic and the environment, at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (Jessica Gow/TT News Agency via AP)

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday urged world leaders to act together, based on scientists’ advice, in addressing major crises from the COVID-19 pandemic to global warming.

The climate crisis “may not be as immediate as the corona crisis but we need to tackle this now otherwise it will be irreversible,” she said from Stockholm during an Earth Day event.

The 17-year-old Swede pressed governments worldwide to “put your differences aside ... go out into the unknown and take decisions that may not make much sense at the moment but in the long run may be necessary.”

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“It is even more important that we listen to science, to the experts. That goes for all crises, whether ... the corona crisis or the climate crisis,” Thunberg said.

She spoke during an online conversation with Johan Rockstrom, co-director of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in a live event organized by the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm.

“We will rise from this, but we will not bounce back to the old world,” the Swedish professor said, speaking from Germany.

Thunberg said the climate crisis is “not slowing down even in times like these” and that a recent drop in pollution linked with widespread lockdown measures to address the pandemic shouldn’t leave us “optimistic.”

Many of the world’s large cities have seen great reductions in smog, with concentrations of potentially deadly particulate matter down by as much as 60% over last year.

The improvement in air quality is particularly noticeable in India, which has the world’s most pollution-related deaths with more than 2 million people every year, according to a December 2019 report by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution advocacy group.

Thunberg has encouraged students to skip school to join protests demanding faster action on climate change, a movement that has spread from Sweden to other European nations and around the world.

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Follow AP’s full coverage of climate issues at https://apnews.com/Climate

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark.

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