Highlighting the recent floods in Pakistan that have wrecked catastrophic damage, activist Greta Thunberg said Sweden’s politicians are ignoring the climate crisis in the run-up to the election on September 11 and treating it as if it were just a problem rather than a life-or-death threat.

The war in Ukraine and the ongoing energy crisis, which has seen power prices soar, are dominating the headlines with just a week to go before the vote while welfare, schools and gang crime also head the list of voter concerns.

Meanwhile, record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan have brought floods that have affected 33 million people and killed at least 1,290, including 453 children.

Thunberg, whose Friday protests outside Sweden’s parliament years ago turned into a global youth movement demanding action on climate change, said the issue had been “pretty much non-existent”, during the election campaign.

“We have been completely focusing on other things,” she told Reuters. “Just take Pakistan now, as an example, a very clear example,” she said.

She said politicians and the media had “chosen not to communicate that so many of the crises that we are experiencing now are very closely interlinked”.

“Therefore, people of course only focus on things that are right ahead of them instead of actually focusing on the larger holistic picture,” she said.

She said politicians were treating the climate as a distant problem.

“We focus on the climate when we have time to spare, it feels like,” Thunberg said. “It’s something that — yes, it’s a problem and not an existential emergency that affects all other issues as it should be.”

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