Earth Day: Greta Thunberg's activist group warns 'our house is on fire' in stark video

Greta Thunberg’s climate activist group has launched a stark new video for the fiftieth annual Earth Day, urging the world to take greater action to avert climate breakdown.

Since igniting school strikes across the globe with her solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament in 2018, the young activist’s warning that “our house is on fire” has become synonymous with her fame.

A new video created by Fridays for Future depicts that reality, portraying a family happily going about their daily routine as their home is gradually devoured by flames.

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Sunlight beams into a smoke-filled room as the mother breezily wakes up her young children, who discuss upcoming school tests as they eat breakfast from a burning table.

The smiling parents then happily wave their children off to school as flames lick the door frame behind them, looking set to devour the entire house.

The dramatic imagery is echoed in a report published on the same day by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which confirms the past five years have been the hottest globally on record.

Scientists at the UN organisation urged world leaders to ”show the same determination and unity” in averting climate change as it has in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Global average temperatures have increased by 1.1C since pre-industrial times, and levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are at record highs, the state of the climate 2015-2019 report found.

The Paris Agreement — the most significant geopolitical effort to avert climate change — aims to keep warming to 1.5C by 2050.

Experts had warned that the upcoming UN climate change summit, COP26, due to be held in Glasgow later this year, offered the “last chance” for signatories agree on crucial carbon trading rules in time to meet the target.

While the summit has been postponed due to coronavirus, it is hoped this could give countries more time to prepare for a successful meeting.

The previous year, the UN’s landmark IPCC report warned that merely an additional 0.5C of warming beyond the Paris accord target could see 10 million more people lose their homes to rising seas by 2100, place hundreds of millions more at risk of climate-related poverty, and push far greater swathes of the natural world towards extinction.

While Covid-19 and the grinding to a halt of industry and travel it has brought may result in a temporary reduction in greenhouse gases, it is not a substitute for sustained climate action, the WMO warned.

The pandemic will also make it more difficult to tackle worsening climate hazards, such as storms and tropical cyclones, while overstretched health systems may not be able to cope with extra patients from heatwaves.

“Whilst Covid-19 has caused a severe international health and economic crisis, failure to tackle climate change may threaten human wellbeing, ecosystems and economies for centuries,” said WMO secretary general Petteri Taalas.

“We need to flatten both the pandemic and climate change curves.”

He added: “We need to show the same determination and unity against climate change as against Covid-19. We need to act together in the interests of the health and welfare of humanity not just for the coming weeks and months, but for many generations ahead.”​

It is a year to the day since Ms Thunberg addressed Extinction Rebellion climate activists in London, warning in the face of unprecedented media attention: “Humanity is now standing at a crossroads”.

Shortly after the demonstrations, the UK government agreed to aim for a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, although campaigners warn even this may be not be enough.

In the face of the pandemic, climate activism is still ongoing, albeit in largely digital format.

Extinction Rebellion has cancelled mass protests planned in London for May, and is currently hosting a week online talks.

Fridays for Future continues to urge youngsters to continue their protests in solitude around the world, using social media to broadcast the messages on their pickets and posters.

Meanwhile, millions around the world were expected to digitally take part in the digital action planned by the Earth Day movement.

Additional reporting by PA