In a strange turn of events, Greta Thunberg and I actually agree on something.
In Greta’s recent address to the Youth4Climate summit (a sort of youth prequel to the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow, all organized under the UN Climate Change banner) Thunberg called politicians and business leaders hypocritical over what they say on climate change and environmental policy.
I’d have to agree. Business leaders and politicians are hypocrites when they make extravagant and unfounded promises on climate (like net zero emissions by 2050) that they can’t keep.
But Greta said these commitments can be kept and must be kept.
I say these commitments cannot possibly be kept, and that even half-efforts to half-keep these commitments are, at best, foolish, and, worse, destructive to the well-being of individuals everywhere.
Greta says to those politicians and business leaders, ‘start keeping your promises on climate.’
I say ‘stop making ridiculous promises.’
Greta says ‘stop using fossil fuels, you are destroying the planet.’
I say ‘stop destroying peoples’ well-being, keep fossil fuels - affordable and reliable sources of energy - available.’
Thunberg’s address was full of extremist rhetoric. She villainized all people in authority as hypocrites. She mocked the concerns of older generations – concerns like whether people will have jobs. In a parody of a politician speaking on climate change Greta said, “When I say climate change what do you think of? I think of jobs.” And the room of youths laugh. Haha.
Putting job security over climate change policies? What backward idiots those adults are, according to Greta.
Greta is only 18, so I can maybe make some allowances for the contemptuous tone. What is harder to forgive is the fact that high-power adults continue to give Thunberg her platform.
If Greta’s address at the Youth4Climate summit made one thing clear it is that no climate policy will ever be good enough for her. Indeed, it seems that Thunberg will only be content if all fossil fuel usage is immediately and completely eradicated. The climate kids want climate justice. Worry about your job, your family’s meals, the ability to heat your home? To Greta and company, these are all distractions from the only thing you ought to be thinking of: climate change.
And this is the kind of thinking that world leaders continue to give a platform to.
I like to live in the real world - a world full of people that need jobs, reliable transportation, affordable groceries, and reliable and affordable energy.
This is a world that we see even today being threatened by extremist climate policy (policy that is not enough to Greta and company).
Look at Europe’s energy crisis, a crisis caused by an over-reliance on renewables and a fast-paced phasing out of nuclear and natural gas.
Look at the high prices of gasoline here in Canada, and the threats of unaffordable propane and heating oil bills this winter.
Indulging Greta’s youthful ignorance is desperately irresponsible. Why? Because it ignores the very real concerns people have – about their job prospects and food prices and the cost of home heating and the many other real challenges of life that the climate extremists are threatening.
It’s time for society to collectively give its head a shake, and notice the real issues facing families across the world.
Greta would have you believe that such concerns like “jobs” and “the economy” are trivial, and that we need to go even further down the road of irresponsible environmental action.
And politicians and business leaders go along with her, and give her a voice. Greta having a platform at all is symptomatic of a society that has lost focus on things that matter – and we are all paying the price.