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Russia Invites Climate Activist Greta Thunberg to Speak in Parliament

Greta Thunberg European Parliament / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Russia’s parliament has invited Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to address young Russians concerned about the environment.

The 16-year-old schoolgirl has catalyzed global school strikes and inspired Russia's nascent climate protest movement. Thunberg’s impassioned speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week sparked a fierce backlash in Russian society.

“I invite you to give a speech to Russian youth in the State Duma on any date convenient for you,” lawmaker Vasily Vlasov wrote to Thunberg, according to excerpts of his letter published by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday.

Vlasov, 24, a senior member of the Duma’s Natural Resources Committee, highlighted his youth in the letter sent to the Swedish embassy.

“I’m aware of young people’s concerns in Russia about global environmental issues and how difficult it can be for adult politicians to come to a compromise even on such vital issues,” he said.

“We as the younger generation must not remain silent when it comes to our future, and we won’t allow ourselves to be condemned to extinction,” Vlasov wrote.

Recent natural disasters in Russia such as the wildfires that raged across Siberia earlier this year have turned the public’s attention toward the effects of the global climate crisis, according to Greenpeace Russia. 

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry this month acknowledged that Russia, the world’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is heating faster than the rest of the world. While the country is in the process of ratifying the 2015 Paris climate accord, outside trackers say Russia still lags behind the rest of the world in climate action implementation.

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