French President Emmanuel Macron has criticised teen activist Greta Thunberg for lodging a complaint at the UN against France and four other countries alleging climate inaction.
Thunberg and 15 other children have asked the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to rule that Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey are violating their rights by failing to properly tackle emissions.
Macron said that activists should concentrate on “those who are trying to block things.
“I don’t have the impression that the French or the German government, today, are blocking things.”
According to the children’s law firm, the five countries were chosen because they were the biggest polluters to have signed up to the UN committee’s complaints procedure.
“When I see that we are going to shut down all our coal operations, that we are ending the extraction of hydrocarbons … I’m not sure that this is the most effective approach.
“When you have very radical positions, they’re liable to antagonise society,” Macron said.
Macron has sought to portray himself as a leader in the fight against climate change, slamming U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on limiting the phenomenon.
Although Macron hosted Thunberg at the Elysee Palace in February, the Swedish teen also criticised France in June over the policing of a climate protest.
“Watch the video and ask yourself – who is defending who?,” Thunberg wrote on Instagram, sharing footage of Paris police tear-gassing protesters at close range when, seated on the ground, they refused to end a blockade of a bridge.