Environmental activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate accused the British government of being “climate bad guys”.

Speaking at the Youth4Climate summit in Milan, Mrs. Thunberg said the continued approval of new licenses and authorizations to drill for oil and gas in the North Sea runs counter to the UK’s leading position as host of the UN summit on the Glasgow based climate, COP26.

The 18-year-old Swede told Sky News: “This is a classic example of hypocrisy, alongside many other countries as well.

“Of course the climate crisis .. more or less it started in the UK since that’s where the industrial revolution started, we started burning coal there, so of course the UK has a huge historic responsibility for historic emissions since the climate crisis is a cumulative crisis. “

Greta Thunberg at the Youth4Climate conference in Milan

Ms Thunberg said the UK, like many other countries, is engaging in what she called “creative carbon accounting”, where emissions from exported fossil fuels or international shipping and air transport do not are currently not counted.

She said: “I find it very strange that they are like, these are the ones we’re supposed to admire now, but they are objectively one of the biggest baddies in the climate, which I find very strange.”

Ugandan activist Ms Nakate mentioned the controversial Cambo oil field off the coast of Shetland, which is expected to receive final approval for drilling.

She said: “True climate leadership does not mean opening new coal-fired power plants or financing new oil fields.

“I think that’s not real climate leadership. I think real climate leadership puts people and the planet first over profit.”

The two activists expressed real concern that greenhouse gas emissions are not being reduced quickly enough despite the UN Secretary General calling climate change a “code red” for the country. humanity.

Ms Thunberg said: “Just recently a UN report showed global emissions are expected to increase 16% by 2030. I mean, that says it all. We think we are moving in the right direction, but emissions are actually still increasing. “

Sky News asked if the couple had given up on world leaders and their ability to deliver on their promises at COP26.

Ms Nakate said: “Well I haven’t given up on them because if I give up it means communities like mine will continue to face the worst of the climate crisis, so if that means if we want to act, if we want justice then now is not the time to give up. “

Ms Thunberg said: “Yes, I agree with Vanessa. Now is not the time to give up.

“Of course we are going in the very wrong direction, but of course there are still many, many people who want to work, who are trying and who want to do good.

“We want to do more and drive change, but in order to do that, something drastic has to happen.”

Sky News has contacted the office of COP26 President Alok Sharma for comment.