Davos 2023: 'Keep it in the ground' Greta Thunberg tells protest at end of WEF

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Greta Thunberg and around 30 other activists braved sub-zero temperatures on Friday in a protest calling for climate justice as the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting wound up in Davos.

The protesters chanted "What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now" and "Fossil fuels have got to go", while Thunberg held up a sign saying "Keep it in the ground".

Thunberg, who was detained by police in Germany earlier this week during a demonstration against the expansion of a coal mine, was in Davos after a Thursday joint round-table discussion with the head of the International Energy Agency.

The 20-year-old Swedish activist stuck to her stance against all new oil, gas and coal developments during the fringe event, that was not part of the official conference agenda.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, whose agency makes policy recommendations, said new investments in oil fields would take years to become operational. They would be too late to allay the energy crunch, but would contribute to the climate crisis.

He praised Thunberg's efforts and thanked her for the invite to speak with activists.

At Friday's protest, Vanessa Nakate from Uganda, who was also in the discussion with Birol, said leaders needed to listen to the science and stop all investments in coal, oil and gas.

"The IEA has made it very clear we cannot have any new fossil fuel investments if we are to live with global temperatures below 1.5 degree Celsius," she told the crowd.

Thunberg and fellow activists have presented a "cease and desist" notice to oil and gas executives, which protesters brandished during the demonstration on Friday in Davos.

The oil and gas industry, which has been accused by activists of hijacking the climate change debate in the Swiss ski resort, has said that it needs to be part of the energy transition as fossil fuels will continue to play a major role in the energy mix as the world shift to a low-carbon economy.

In 2019, the then 16-year-old Thunberg took part in the main WEF meeting, famously telling leaders that "our house is on fire". She returned to Davos the following year.

Reporting by Maha El Dahan and Kathryn Lurie; Editing by Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.