Sweden’s 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg has defied threats of hostile reception from the French Parliament and is set to speak to MPs before she attends debates as the guest of honor.
Her visit follows outraged comments from some right-wing MPs who have slammed her presence.
The teenage activist leads school strikes protesting government inaction over climate change and through her actions, a worldwide movement was launched.
She is in France at the invitation of 162 MPs from a cross-party group concerned about climate change called “Let’s Accelerate”.
Speaker Richard Ferrand welcomed her at his residence before heading to parliament but many conservative figures on the French right have criticised the invitation, dismissing her as a “prophetess in shorts” and the “Justin Bieber of ecology”.
Republicans MP Guillaume Larrive called on MPs to boycott her appearance, saying that to fight climate change “what we need is scientific progress and political courage, not apocalyptic gurus”.
Julien Aubert, like Larrive a Republicans MP contending for leadership of the right-wing party, snapped: “Don’t count on me to applaud a prophetess in shorts, a Nobel Prize for Fear.”
Thunberg has long been the target of vicious attacks by social media trolls but now finds herself at war with political figures.