“Hell No,” Greta Thunberg’s Dad Would Not Go to Global Warming COP26 Summit

(p. A1) One person is delighted not to attend the United Nations climate change conference this month.

Greta Thunberg’s dad.

For three years, Svante Thunberg chaperoned his daughter to events across the globe, including spending weeks cooped up in a sailboat crossing the Atlantic, as Greta Thunberg rose to become the leading face of youth climate activism.

Now Ms. Thunberg, who turned 18 in January, is an adult and Mr. Thunberg, 52, can finally get a bit of his life back.

“Hell no,” says Mr. Thunberg (p. A10) when asked if he will be traveling to the COP26 summit, currently underway in Glasgow. “I am certainly not going.”

. . .

Mr. Thunberg, who runs a music-production business and once aspired to owning an SUV, went along with his daughter to attend two previous COP summits. He now drives an electric car. Her parents had to set up a foundation to manage over a million dollars of prize money their child won and wants to give away. Mr. Thunberg says he quit the foundation’s board as soon as he could.

“We have other things to do,” he says. Ms. Thunberg’s mother, Ms. Ernman, is an opera singer who once represented Sweden at the Eurovision song contest. “We have jobs,” Mr. Thunberg says.

. . .

The parental odyssey started after Greta, aged about eight, watched a TV program about trash clogging the oceans. Ms. Thunberg was shocked that more wasn’t being done to address this, her father says.

She went into a depression at age 11. She largely stopped talking, virtually stopped eating for several months and had to be taken out of school. She says she was later diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Ms. Thunberg, her parents and her younger sister chronicled this in a book called “Our House Is On Fire.”

. . .

. . . climate activism appeared to energize their daughter, who was now eating better and proving very adept at delivering blunt messages in public.

Her parents were amazed that, despite not saying anything particularly new on climate change, she was cutting through. Global dignitaries lined up to invite her to lecture them on their failure to act.

For the full story, see:

Max Colchester. “Greta Thunberg’s Dad Takes a Break From Climate Talks.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, November 2, 2021): A1 & A10.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Nov. 1, 2021, and has the title “Greta Thunberg’s Dad Won’t Be With Her at the Climate Summit—and He’s Thrilled.”)

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