Greta Thunberg’s comment came discreetly but purposefully on Wednesday afternoon: You have to be careful of those who only listen to the unpleasant truth if it fits into their agenda, she wrote on Twitter. “In this crisis, picking a few aspects, taking things out of context and ignoring the rest isn’t going to help.” No names, nothing concrete. Anyone who followed the excitement about the previously published sentences from the interview that TV presenter Sandra Maischberger conducted with Thunberg knew what and who was meant. Politicians, who otherwise treat the young activists of Fridays for Future with avuncular condescension, did not hesitate to accept Greta Thunberg’s statement that German nuclear power plants that are already online should continue to operate.
Collected by Lindner and Merz
He welcomes your encouragement for the FDP position, Christian Lindner tweeted. Friedrich Merz answered on television when asked how long German nuclear power plants should continue to run in his opinion, he said: “As Greta Thunberg sees it, at least until the end of 2024”. However, she hadn’t said that at all, and in no way gave the impression that she thought nuclear power in general was a good idea. She just thinks it’s a less bad idea when the alternative is to burn coal longer.
The whole, twenty-five-minute interview could then be seen on Wednesday evening, at the end of a rather disparate “Maischberger” edition, in which the journalists Eva Schulz and Alexander Kissler and ZDF capital studio director Theo Knoll interpreted Christian Lindner’s sentence, the role the FDP in the coalition to want to reconsider, and Wolfgang Kubicki explained that insults are a stylistic device for him – see “sewer rat”, his name for the Turkish President Erdogan.
For the conversation, Sandra Maischberger met Thunberg almost two weeks ago in Stockholm, i.e. before the FDP decided to increase the pressure on the coalition in order to raise their profile and to insist that all three nuclear power plants still on the grid be used for at least two remain in operation for years – whereby the supposed support of the famous climate protector now came in handy.
end of the school strikes
However, the conversation was about much more than nuclear power. It was about what became of the 15-year-old girl who sat down in front of the Swedish Parliament for the first time on a Friday four years ago and triggered a worldwide movement. Maischberger began the interview, and Greta Thunberg giggled. Yes, then she would probably no longer be able to go on school strikes, but she is still putting off the thought of it. For the second time, Greta Thunberg giggled when it came to her speeches, the anger with which she threw out her “How dare you!” in front of the UN in New York. What do you think about Greta from back then? “Many things. I try not to be too hard on myself.”
People were happy that she laughed so much and generally seemed very relaxed, because the seriousness and anger that sometimes made her face disappear completely from her childish face also seemed as if she could become too much for the girl involved Asperger’s syndrome, about which her father said she couldn’t speak to strangers and hardly ate before she started demonstrating.
There are six nuclear power plants in Sweden
The last interview Greta Thunberg gave on German television was three years ago, when she sat across from Anne Will. Thunberg’s eyes wandered back and forth, she bit her lip, she didn’t smile. In the interview, she also said that according to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nuclear power could be a small part of a big solution for fossil-free energy. Thunberg also shared this assessment on Facebook. So her stance on the subject shouldn’t come as a surprise. It corresponds to that of their home country: In Sweden, which wants to become the first industrial nation to do without fossil fuels, the governing parties agreed a few years ago to keep the last six nuclear power plants online until this is no longer necessary.
Her sudden fame seemed like a bad plot to her, she said: “It was such a cliché: A little girl triggers a worldwide protest. In a movie, I would have thought, couldn’t they have come up with something more outlandish?” Asked what she would have liked to have done differently in hindsight, Thunberg said she should have focused earlier on the humanitarian aspects of global warming, the effects it is having now already has for humans. Instead, they always said that they, the children, would be affected.
This was the only way for Greta Thunberg and the “Fridays for Future” movement to have an impact: as the voice of children who see their future threatened and who demand action from adults. Greta Thunberg is no longer one of these children, she is 19 years old. She says that everything is going much too slowly, but she doesn’t allow herself to despair of people. She focuses on each day and what she can do. Activism saved her. She wants to study, probably social sciences, and then work for non-governmental organizations. From there, she thinks, the decisive social changes come. She will remain a climate activist for life anyway.