German chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s worried about the growing conflict between young campaigners for a cleaner planet and those who reject global warming.
Their stances have become “irreconcilable” and led to a gap in dialogue just when nations need collective action on climate change, Ms Merkel said in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“The question of achieving the Paris Agreement goals could be a matter of survival for the whole continent and that is why there is pressure to act,” said Ms Merkel.
Scientific evidence is clear and emotions should not be confused with facts, she said.
Ms Merkel’s comments follow remarks by Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist behind an international wave of student climate strikes.
She told leaders the rate of global warming should make them start to panic.
US president Donald Trump blasted the “prophets of doom” on the same day in the Swiss resort village in a speech which focused squarely on the US economy.
In an oblique reference to young environmental activists, Ms Merkel said those who are campaigning for a more trenchant policy to counteract global warming deserve a hearing. The “impatience of young people” must be addressed, she said.
Europe and beyond face a “decade of action”, said Ms Merkel, citing words said previously by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres
of the United Nations.