Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s recent speech to the United Nations seemed to reveal a deeply troubled individual. She said her childhood was taken away from her by the looming threat of climate change, and she blamed world leaders for letting it happen. She has every reason to be upset, but she is directing her anger at the wrong people. The real culprit is the green catastrophe industry that manufactures crises out of nothing.
The critical ingredient in Thunberg’s climate anxiety is her youth. Had she been older, she would have lived through so many false alarms that she would have grown numb and wary of green catastrophists.
Those older remember when former Vice President Al Gore declared that the North Pole would be ice-free by 2015. People were told that snow would be a thing of the past. Instead, the Northern Hemisphere has seen record levels of snow. In recent years it has snowed in the Sahara, Saudi Arabia, and even the Canary Islands, which is at the same latitude as Miami, FL.
And don’t forget the polar bears. The melting Arctic was supposed to render this animal extinct. Of the population of 8,000-10,000 in the late 1960s, only 25,000-30,000 remain today.
In 1988, climate scientist James Hansen scared the entire world by predicting that the globe would warm 1 degree Celsius (1.8 F) by 2018. In fact, the warming was less than half of that, and in the last two decades, the increase has ground to a halt, giving rise to the so-called “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming.
Those who are even older remember the acid rain scare. All the trees were going to die because of pollution from fossil fuels. The opposite happened. CO2 is plant food, and human emissions have been hungrily gobbled up by plants, resulting in an unprecedented greening of the earth, especially in arid areas. All over the world, deserts are yielding to vegetation.
Seniors may even remember the global cooling scare of the 1970s. Temperatures were plunging, and humans might have to cover glaciers with soot to stave off a coming ice age.
In 1972, the Club of Rome predicted mass starvation and complete depletion of oil and other natural resources. It was so wrong that today environmentalists complain there is too much fossil energy left to explore.
Green catastrophism is a never-ending story. Green activists try to scare people into submission, and the youngest and most ignorant are always the most vulnerable, as evidenced by Thunberg, who falsely believes that the world is heading for mass extinction.
One group of adults is as ignorant and naïve as the children who are scared by the climate alarmism: progressives. The reason for their ignorance is that they consider the wisdom and knowledge of the past as evil and passé. Salvation always lies in the future. The pot of progress is always to be found at the end of the rainbow. That’s why they meet every failed attempt at building utopia with a shrug: “That wasn’t real socialism.”
Despite the hysteria, there is no scientific basis for climate panic. The warming continues to be lukewarm, the oceans are not rising much, and the weather is not growing more extreme. We still have plenty of time to wait and see if climate change needs to be handled. Should it turn out to be a problem, Bill Gates and others have invested in technologies that could render the whole world carbon neutral overnight, either with nuclear power or carbon capture.
Children should sleep soundly; there are no climate monsters under the bed. It is cruel and irresponsible to fill the vulnerable young with the dread of a non-existent problem.