16-year-old Greta Thunberg met with Obama and chided senators, saying they're not trying hard enough to fight climate change

Barack Obama Greta Thunberg16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg (left) met with former President Barack Obama on September 17, 2019.Screenshot/Obama Foundation
  • Former President Barack Obama met with 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday to talk about climate action.
  • Thunberg, who arrived in the US last month on a carbon-neutral yacht to begin a months-long climate action tour of North and South America, said her message to young people who want to change the world "is to be creative."
  • "Just 16, @GretaThunberg is already one of our planet's greatest advocates," Obama said in a twitter post after their meeting.
  • Thunberg also met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and told the Senate Climate Change Task Force on Tuesday that congress was not doing enough to help combat climate change. 
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Former President Barack Obama met with 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has become a prominent voice within the climate activism community for her demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament. 

The young activist arrived in the US last month on a 60-foot, carbon-neutral yacht to begin a months-long climate action tour of North and South America. 

During her visit to Washington, DC on Tuesday, Obama sat down with Thunberg to discuss her goals and messages for other young activists involved in her Fridays for Future strikes which encourage students and others around the world to strike for climate action. 

"Just 16, @GretaThunberg is already one of our planet's greatest advocates," Obama said in a twitter post after their meeting.

He also said Thunberg "embodies the vision at the Obama Foundation," the Chicago-based nonprofit organization set up by the former president and former first lady Michelle Obama in 2014. 

Obama said Thunberg's humble school strikes have transformed into a global movement and highlighted the power that young people have on the future of our planet. 

Read more: 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg says no company on Earth right now has a climate change strategy that's good enough

"That's the power of young people - unafraid to believe that change is possible and willing to challenge conventional wisdom, Greta and her generation are making their voices heard, even at a young age," he said in a press release.

"My message to young people who want to have an impact on the world is to be creative," she said in a video of their meeting, posted by the foundation. "There's so incredibly much you can do and do not underestimate yourself." 

"You and me, we're a team," Obama told Thunberg, before signing off with his signature fist bump

Watch the moment the two sat down together below: 

During Obama's tenure, he pledged to reduce the US' greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025 under the Paris Climate Accord, and his administration put in place several climate regulations including curbs on coal and a 2013 plan to cut carbon pollution and encourage clean energy. President Trump has since withdrawn from the Paris agreement and revoked Obama's plan via executive order in March 2017. 

Thunberg also met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and told the Senate Climate Change Task Force on Tuesday that congress was not doing enough to help combat climate change. 

"Please save your praise. We don't want it," she said. "I know you are trying but just not hard enough. Sorry."

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