“We are definitely moving in the right direction”: Former U.N. climate negotiator on climate change

Climate activists blocked traffic in Washington D.C., early Monday in an effort to shut down the city as part of the Global Climate Strike. The protests come ahead of the United Nation’s landmark summit on the crisis. More than 60 world leaders attended the Climate Action Summit, which opened with ominous words from U.N. Secretary General António Guterres.

“Nature is angry,” Guterres said. “And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature because nature always strikes back and around the world nature is striking back with fury.” Former U.N. climate negotiator Christiana Figueres believes that anger, especially in humans’ responses to climate change, is what ultimately could change things for the better.

“We are definitely moving in the right direction,” Figueres said in an interview with CBSN on Monday. “The global economy is becoming decarbonized but way too slowly. And that is why I’m actually quite grateful. For the anger and the outrage that is out there in the streets because I think that is going to jolt everyone.”

Figueres was encouraged by the tone of the U.N. summit Monday and was particularly impressed by Greta Thunberg’s impassioned speech.

“Greta in her usual style delivered a scathing speech about the irresponsibility with which we have been non-acting and was very, very clear about if we don’t do our job she and her generation will not forgive us,” Figueres said. “So just swallow that one for a moment.”