I suppose if you believe that the world is going to end before you have a chance to grow up, and all this because of greedy grown-ups, you might sound like Greta Thunberg at the United Nations yesterday. Still . . .

No sixteen-year-old should sound like this. Here is some of what she said:

"My message is that we'll be watching you.

"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. 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 fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

"For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

"You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

It is sort of sinister that an adolescent says she’ll “be watching” the adults.

But Greta is right about one thing: she should be in school rather than promoting apocalypse based on incomplete science. In a way, her childhood has been stolen, just not by the specific adults she is unbecomingly lecturing.

With her parents, Greta has authored a book scheduled to come out in 2020. Here is the Goodreads word on it:

This is the story of a family led to confront a crisis they had never foreseen. Aged eleven, their eldest daughter has stopped eating and speaking. Alongside diagnoses of autism and selective mutism, her parents slowly become aware of another source for her distress: her imperiled future on a rapidly heating planet.

Steered by her determination to understand the truth, the family begins to see the deep connections between their own and the planet’s suffering. Against forces that try to silence them, disparaging them for being different, they discover ways to strengthen, heal, and act in the world. And then one day, fifteen-year-old Greta decides to go on strike.

This is incredibly sad. I can’t help but wish that Greta had not been scared mercilessly about climate change, or led to identify her own suffering with the supposedly suffering planet.

The maverick environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg agrees that we must address climate change but proposes innovation rather than frightening children. He recently tweeted:

We need to fix man-made climate change by ensuring that innovation can drive down the cost of low-carbon energy alternatives. But linking rising temperatures to every single challenge facing humanity is just a distraction.

He has spoken specifically about Greta:

PS. and yes, I disagree strongly with Greta Thunberg's climate policies (unrealistic and far more costly than the benefits they will derive) But of course, she should be treated respectfully, just like all participants should be treated in the climate debate

And this sobering tweet from Lomborg:

Greta Thunberg in 4 years “You’re 20, and the sacred status, where no one can contradict you since you’re just a sweet little child, is gone. So we’ve found someone new to represent the climate cause. This is Carola, JUST 14! But thanks — and cheerio” http://politiken.dk/7168447 

So I ask you: Who stole Greta Thunberg’s childhood?

This is all wrong.