Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named Time Magazine’s youngest ever Person of the Year.
The magazine said Miss Thunberg had "succeeded in turning vague anxieties about the planet into a worldwide movement calling for global change".
Sixteen-year-old Miss Thunberg was an anonymous student last August, when she began staging "school strike" protests outside the Swedish parliament.
Since then her movement, named Fridays for Future for the day of protest, has inspired millions to join copy cat strikes in more than 100 countries around the world.
Miss Thunberg has given a series of impassioned speeches on world stages, including at the UN climate summit in New York last September where she warned world leaders: "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We’ll be watching you."
The teenager, who has faced fierce criticism from world leaders including Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in March.
The daughter of a Swedish opera singer and an actor, Miss Thunberg has spoken in the past about how her Asperger’s diagnosis has focused her mind on the problem of climate change.
Time Magazine’s announcement came as Miss Thunberg gave a speech to the UN’s climate summit in Madrid, where she arrived last week after sailing from the US.
She accused delegates at the summit of prioritising image over action. “The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR."
The COP25 summit is intended to finalise the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement next year and expectations are low.
Delegates are hoping to agree wording on carbon markets, mechanisms for compensation to climate-hit countries, and pledges to ramp up commitments next year.
Nonetheless, as of Wednesday night, there was little sign of any concrete agreements in time for the end of the summit on Friday.
Activists say that the pace of change among global leader’s does not reflect the scale of the crisis or the momentum outside the summit.
No senior members of the White House have been at the talks after President Donald Trump – Time Magazine Person of the Year 2016 – pulled the country out of the Paris Agreement.
Just hours after Thunberg’s speech some 200 youth and indigenous delegates had their badges removed after staging a protest over the lack of action at the summit.
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