Greta Thunberg needs to get a grip. The celebrity teen climate activist addressed the United Nations and excoriated the assembled worthies for coming “to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

Someone may have stolen her childhood, but the guilty parties can’t be found at Turtle Bay. A 16-year-old from Sweden, Thunberg thundered, “I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean,” which would have been easy enough to achieve, beginning with not taking two weeks to sail across the Atlantic last month in a jet-travel-eschewing publicity stunt.

Greta Thunberg is the leading edge of a youth movement against climate change that is being promoted and celebrated by adults who find it useful for their own purposes.

Kids are powerful pawns. The catchphrase “for the children” has a seductive political appeal, while kids offer their adult supporters a handy two-step. The same people who say, “The world must heed this 16-year-old girl” will turn around and say to anyone who pushes back, “How dare you criticize a 16-year-old girl.”

There’s a reason that we don’t look to teenagers for guidance on fraught issues of public policy: Kids have nothing interesting to say to us. They just repeat back what they’ve been told by adults, with less nuance and maturity.

Much of their climate advocacy boils down to the plaint that all parents know well: “I want it, and I want it now.” As a National Geographic headline put it, “Kids’ world climate strikes demand that warming stop, fast.”

Behind the foot-stomping is the idea that a long-running global phenomenon can be quickly stopped, if only adults cared as much as the kids. This fails to account for such recalcitrant factors as costs and complexity, but when do children ever think of those? (And who can blame them? They’re children.)

Instead, the youthful climate activists claim they’ve been sold out by their elders. Greta Thunberg put it with her usual accusatory starkness at the U.N.: “You are failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal.”

This is laughable. By no global measure of social and economic well-being have we failed kids. According to, the global poverty rate fell from 28% in 1999 to 11% in 2013. Life expectancy increased from 63.2 years to 71.9 years from 1981 to 2015. The same benign trends hold for hunger, child labor, literacy and so on.

If climate change proves a significant challenge, today’s youth will have more resources and technology to grapple with it than any other generation in the history of mankind.

Of course, the adults they listen to don’t tell them any of this. Instead, they feed the kids a diet of apocalyptic warnings that children repeat back as if they were urgent insights. One speaker at the youth climate rally said we have just 18 months — yes, only until the beginning of 2021 — to forestall irreversible environmental harms.

This is nuts, and it’s the adult enablers who are ultimately responsible. As for the kids, they’ll be all right. One day, they will grow up, even in a warming world.

Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

Rich Lowry is editor of the

National Review.

(8) comments


Let's see if WMI posts my comment since they have censored my last two... Bravo Rich! It is correct in thinking that we shouldn't listen to children for our policy and answers to complicated issues. This kid, much like David Hogg, is just a political pawn being used by people with an agenda that has more to do with power and money than it has to do with saving the world. Besides, the planet will be just fine as it has for millions of years before we were here and it will go on long after we're gone. This kid has no clue of what suffering and losing your dreams and hopes are. She rides in on a yacht while there are kids in the streets of America who just want a warm bed and a meal. They have a right to complain, not this whinny privileged parrot.


You two are products of the FLAT WORLD SOCIETY of the 21st century

It is never too late to help this worlds environment


Sad Sad

Flat Earth Society people at their BEST !!!!!!!


DROWN, BURN, STARVE: And that is the good news from the anthropogenic global warming front. The bad news is that you don't suffer just one but all three, because every dimension of this catastrophe is present over every square inch of the planet, and accelerating much faster than previous models and scholarship has predicted. It is much worse than we ever thought. The maximum target of plus two degrees Celsius from the Paris accord was an objective for disaster, even if achieved. Even at plus 1.5 degrees, massive levels of climate chaos and global disruptions will occur, just as they are now occurring at plus 1.1 degrees. No hysteria, no panic, no exaggeration, just the plain facts without passion or prejudice. Miss Thunberg is absolutely correct in every regard. Her age is irrelevant to the facts.

DROWN: The current watermeggadon is expanding rapidly. Every 60 seconds, every American adds five gallons of water to the world's oceans due to land and energy practices now entrenched in our culture. Do the math--that's almost 10,000 cubic meters of water per year, per person. That's right folks--3,300,000,000,000 cubic meters per year, just from about five percent of the planet's population. The Antarctic which lost an average, annual 49 billion tons of ice melt from 1992-1997, is now losing 219 billion tons per year and increasing rapidly. Add another 50 billion tons per year from the Greenland ice sheet and, to paraphrase Everett Dirksen, "purtty soon ye'r talk'n some real water here."

BURN: Imagine a high-rise building engulfed in fire to the extent of 11%. Imagine also that the firefighters are standing around wringing their hands for fear of a political backlash if they point out the need for action. That is the state of the world's scientists today. By the time a baby born today graduates high school, that building, without action, will be beyond human salvation. That is the state of climate forcing today. Globally, the increase in burning has been about 20% just in the last 40 years. But, for each degree of new warming, the area burned quadruples which means that by the end of the century it could be 12-16 times larger than now. By 2030 pilgrims going to Mecca will die if they go outside for just a few minutes.

STARVE: Over an incredibly short time, the declarative statements concerning our fate have changed dramatically. Just a mere thirty years ago, that statement was, "The human race will survive." Today that statement is, "The human race probably won't survive." In just a dozen years, absent draconian action, that statement will be, "The human race will not survive." While a few places will produce more crops due to warming, vast stretches will be ruined, and the net effect will be drastic reduction in global agricultural output at a time when the human population is careering suicidally upward.

Lowry avoids the issue by deflection and pivoting to economic and longevity matters which are not germane to the calamity we face. Both the global economy and human longevity will decline rapidly. So what good are they anyway if the planet is unlivable, as it surely will be.

che guevara

Little Greta's future dreams and her adulthood have also been stolen , although I'm sure that she is blissfully unaware of this reality . Her homeland of Sweden which was once a model of progressiveness has fallen victim to incongruous and unmitigated third world immigration . The negative interest rates being rolled - out across Europe ( and soon to be here in America ) will incrementally and insidiously steal her future along with any potential wealth that she may acquire in her adulthood . The end result will be the decline of human lifespans , a plummeting in the quality of life , and the abandonment of hope in ever attaining an appreciable degree of fulfillment on this earth . The looming economic Armageddon is every bit as deadly as is the climatic apocalypse , and it will be those youngest of age cohorts who will suffer evermore .

Ron : Good points posted .

John Doe : I agree that Greta is a pawn in a game that she can not possibly begin to fathom the depths of at her tender age . This however is not to underscore the severity of the climate issue , some of which is indeed human - caused , and some of which are simply part of the Earth's cyclic rhythm whereby the planet will purge itself of it's problems - starting with man .


As usual, Che has fearlessly grasped the nettle and squeezed the truth out of it. Recourse to sub-zero interest rates by central bankers is motivated by the wish to promote growth; however, that growth will simply be an economic latte' where the tumbler looks full but is mostly froth. The USFED is also poised to resume quantitative easing(the economic equivalent of eating beans)without the spur of a major contraction. This week's tepid ISM Manufacturing and services numbers, and a lower-than-expected jobs gain for private employers reported by payroll processor ADP are signs that Trump's trade war is having a negative impact on the economy. Oh my, who knew? The real issue is that not only is consumer spending parlous, investors are very nervous, while the workforce participation rate is in chronic decline, along with American productivity. Meanwhile, the Brits are about to plunge the English economy into an abyss from which they will play the very devil getting out, Brexxxxxit, which will exacerbate the global downturn, again, American precipitated.


The question is: Why is Rich Lowery attacking a young girl for her concerns for the future of our world and why doesn't he disprove the hundreds of scientists who agree with Greta? Simple, Rich Lowery is too dumb to argue science, so he attacks little girls instead.


"the planet will purge itself of it's problems - starting with man ." Exactly Che, that's what I keep saying. Everyone keeps spouting the ridiculous idea of "Save our planet" when they really mean "Save our sorry human bu++s. The planet will be just fine and shake us off like a bad cold. Sorry folks but no matter what we do the human race is not destined to be on Earth forever.

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