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Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at United States secretary of the treasury Steven Mnuchin after Mnuchin had suggested she needed to study economics in college before lecturing the US on fossil fuel investments.

Thunberg, who has taken a year off school to advocate action on climate change, took to Twitter, and said it did not take a degree to know the world was not meeting its climate targets.

“My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” the 17-year-old said in a tweet.

“So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments,” she added.

Talking about Thunberg’s calls on the world’s decision-makers and business leaders to stop all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, Mnuchin told a media briefing in Davos: “Is she the chief economist? I’m confused. After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rushed to Thunberg’s defence, saying at Davos attaining the goals of the Paris climate accord, which the United States has quit, was vital.

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