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  • Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Villasenor participate in a youth climate change protest in front of the the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S.,September 6, 2019

    Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Villasenor participate in a youth climate change protest in front of the the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S.,September 6, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 September 2019

After arriving in the United States in August by sailboat to reduce her carbon footprint, she is bound for New York later this month, where she will take part in the U.N. climate summit.

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who shot to global fame for inspiring worldwide student strikes to promote immediate action against climate change, took her mission to the doorsteps of United States President Donald Trump on Friday with a protest outside the White House.

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Thunberg was greeted by hundreds of mostly young people carrying signs reading "People or Profit?" and "Warming!" and chanting "This is a crisis, act like it!" and "Business as usual is not enough."

"See you next week," she said toward the end of the event, referring to a planned Sept. 20 global "Climate Strike" in which youth and adults are encouraged to walk out of school or work to urge more action on climate change.

The demonstration marked the first high-profile event of Thunberg's six-day visit to Washington intended to pressure the Trump administration and Congress ahead of a United Nations climate summit where world leaders will be asked to cut even more their carbon emissions to fend off global warming.

Trump is among a small minority of global leaders who has openly dismissed the science of climate change. He has long announced his intention to take the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement–a global pact to stem the rise in global temperatures–and continues to promote and incentive the nation's production of fossil fuels.

Thunberg has said she does not believe she can convince Trump or other climate change doubters that global warming is real, but hopes they will take briefings from “actual scientists and experts in this area.”

While in Washington, Thunberg will address Congress on climate change and later join Democratic lawmakers and plaintiffs at a Supreme Court hearing of the Juliana v the United States case in which a group of young people sued the government for failing to address climate change.

Last year, the 16-year-old activist started skipping school every Friday to demonstrate outside Sweden's parliament to force her own government to do more to address the rapid climate changes.

Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year after the number of students taking part in her strikes - dubbed “Fridays for Future” - broke 2 million across 135 countries.

Jennifer Morash, a doctoral candidate in plant science, brought her daughter Adeline, age 9, to the rally to see Thunberg after getting permission from her school in Maryland.

"I just want to make sure we all have a happy future and for people to take climate change seriously," Adeline said.

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