MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 11: Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg gives a speech at the plenary session during the COP25 Climate Conference on December 11, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. The COP25 conference brings together world leaders, climate activists, NGOs, indigenous people and others for two weeks in an effort to focus global policy makers on concrete steps for heading off a further rise in global temperatures. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

As we were just about to start reporting on Greta Thunberg’s most recent moving and powerful climate change speech, the 16-year-old Swedish activist was named TIME’s Person of the Year, the youngest person to be honoured by the magazine in a tradition that started in 1927.

While it’s an achievement worth celebrating – especially given the accolade used to be ‘Man of the Year’ – as we know from her refusal to accept a recent award with the line “the climate movement does not need any more prizes”, Thunberg would much rather we focus on her message than on her magazine cover.

At the COP25 Climate Conference in Madrid, Spain overnight, Thunberg, standing on a box to reach the microphone, accused world powers of making constant attempts to find loopholes to avoid making substantial environmental changes with ‘clever PR’.

“The changes required are still nowhere in sight. The politics needed does not exist today, despite what you hear from world leaders,” she said to an encaptured audience who, unlike one year ago when she was an unknown teen sitting in the snow alone outside the conference, were hanging off her every word.

TOPSHOT – Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg sits next to a placard reading “school strike for climate” on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on January 25, 2019 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. – Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has inspired a wave of climate protests by schoolchildren around the world after delivering a fiery speech at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland last month. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

“I still believe the biggest danger is not inaction,” Thunberg continued. The real danger is when politicians and CEOs make it look like real action is happening, when in fact, almost nothing is being done, apart from clever accounting and creative PR.”

Thunberg’s call to action comes just one day after 20,000 people – four times the expected number – asked the same of the Australian government, marching in Sydney for leaders to take action amid the climate emergency and ongoing bushfires raging through rural NSW.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 11: Activists rally for climate action at Sydney Town Hall on December 11, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Activists are calling for action on climate and health and services related provisions as New South Wales is battling over 80 bushfires, and hazardous air quality. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

Her words, while half a world away, couldn’t be more fitting for Australia right now: “In just three weeks we will enter a new decade, a decade that will define our future. Right now, we are desperate for any sign of hope.”

thoughts?