Greta Thunberg: It’s the name that’s been on everyone’s lips as of late.
The 16-year-old Swedish climate-change activist has certainly enjoyed her fair share of the spotlight, having met by now with former President Barack Obama and having won the 2019 Right Livelihood award — the so-called “alternative” Nobel Peace Prize.
But more than anything else, young Greta Thunberg is most well-known for her recent speech at the United Nations, where she excoriated the world’s leaders for their apparent theft of her generation’s future.
“How dare you!” she exclaimed to the U.N. General Assembly.
“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.”
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth,” she said.
Her speech, impassioned as it was, caught the eye of Elon Musk — the billionaire businessman and “green energy” advocate.
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On Sept. 20, 2019, Musk tweeted that Thunberg “has better reasoning [and] more heart than the vast majority of political leaders.”
High praise from the founder of Tesla and SpaceX — who relies on those very political leaders for subsidies and government incentives; however, is the applause warranted?
Is Greta Thunberg the phenom that Elon Musk portrays her as, or is she merely reciting the same tired, debunked talking points from the Left’s climate change agenda?
Let’s break it down.
Young Thunberg claims that, ostensibly as a result of climate change, people are suffering and dying. It’s a tragic reality that suffering and death are endemic to the human condition — and have been throughout history.
But the underlying assertion that things are worse now because of climate change is patently ridiculous.
We are living in the most prosperous time in human existence. Global poverty is at an all-time low, infant mortality is steadily declining, disease is less prominent, people are living longer, and children are thriving.
One would think that, due to climate change, we would see the exact opposite trend — but the data tell a completely different story.
As to the assertion that the world’s ecosystem is collapsing, and we are at the precipice of another mass extinction — that is just climate alarmism of the highest order. Not only are those claims cherrypicked from the outlier, worst-case-scenario models, but they are also out of step with mainstream science.
Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace — an environmentalist organization — says a long-term, causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature is practically nonexistent.
Rather than shrinking, the Antarctic ice sheets are growing. There are more trees on Earth today than there were 35 years ago.
The planet’s ecology is changing, to be sure. But insinuating that the world’s population is on the brink of going the way of the dinosaurs is as dangerously counterproductive as it is misinformed.
It would seem that Musk may have misjudged the young climate activist’s capacity for reasoning. But make no mistake, that’s no slight against Thunberg. She is, after all, merely 16 years old — a teenager, full of passion, driven to promote a cause in which she thoroughly believes.
Everyone reading this remembers what we were like at age 16 — and if we’re being honest, “reasonable” wasn’t the most apt descriptor.
So, no, she isn’t some great beacon of rationality and people shouldn’t expect her to be. But while her lack of discernment can be explained in large part by her youth and inexperience, the same cannot be said of Elon Musk.
Musk’s decision to tout Thunberg as an exemplar of rational thought demonstrates an alarming lack of judgment, an unfortunate and growing pattern for the billionaire.
After all, Musk is the same man who, without evidence, publicly accused one of the Thailand Cave rescue divers of pedophilia.
A self-described impulsive individual, Musk — because of his erratic behavior — has cost his businesses untold amounts of money.
Who could forget Musk’s infamous appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, wherein his decision to smoke a doobie caused Tesla stocks to crash?
Or the recent tragedies of Musk-made “self-driving” cars crashing, solar panels burning, and rockets exploding?
Clearly, Musk doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to thinking things through.
Perhaps his ringing endorsement of Greta Thunberg isn’t so ringing after all.
It would seem that Thunberg and the Tesla CEO have more in common than just their quest to save the environment: Both struggle mightily to act reasonably and rationally.
But Thunberg at least has an excuse. She is a teenager.
Musk, however, just acts like one, in this writer’s view.
Norman Rogers is a board member of the CO2 Coalition and a policy adviser for the Heartland Institute. He is the author of “Dumb Energy: A Critique of Wind and Solar Energy.” He holds a master of science in physics from the University of Hawaii and a bachelor of arts in physics from the University of California at Berkeley.
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