Oh, you mean THAT Scandinavian girl…

By the time we got there, the demonstration was fairly impressive.

By the time we got there, the demonstration was fairly impressive.

You ever notice how some people have a gift for summoning up a situation in a few words, while other people will give you War and Peace in response to the simplest questions?

I experienced that walking down a street in Dublin back on the Ides of March.

There were all these kids walking toward a demonstration carrying signs. Groups of them were converging from all over the city, wearing the uniforms of the schools they were skipping that day. So I fell in step with a woman who was with group of particularly young ones, like fourth or fifth graders, apparently as some sort of chaperone, and I asked her what was going on.

“It’s their first demonstration,” she told me. So I asked what the demonstration was about.

She started telling me about this Swedish schoolgirl, who had started a movement, and now all these Irish kids were caught up in it, and that’s about all I could make out what with the street noises and the bullhorn at the actual demonstration site, which we were approaching, and the lady’s accent, and my hearing problems.

She could have just said, “global climate change,” but she was not so verbally economical. From the signs and what I heard in the next moments, I figured that much out. But I went the rest of the day wondering what some Scandinavian girl had to do with it.

Well, by the time Greta Thunberg sailed across the ocean, I had put two and two together. And now kids around the world have skipped school again for the same purpose, and Greta herself has delivered her message to the U.N., and it seems she’s really ticked off about it.

Anyway, I’m all up to speed now.

They kept coming, in groups large and small from all over Dublin.

They kept coming, in groups large and small, from all over Dublin.

73 thoughts on “Oh, you mean THAT Scandinavian girl…

  1. Doug Ross

    She’ll be about as effective as those Parkland kids were on stopping mass shootings. When is she taking her slow boat to China to rant at them for their higher contribution to climate change? That should go over well

    1. Doug Ross

      I think we should all all those kids who played hooky whether they have turned off their electronics and air conditioners.

  2. Mr. Smith

    In contrast to the comments above, I’ve been quite moved by what this slip of a girl has managed to set in motion – and by her skills at communication. If there’s any criticism to be elicited, it shouldn’t be directed at her, the Fridays for Future campaign or, for that matter, the Parkland students, it should be directed at our own complacency.

    1. Doug Ross

      What exactly has she “set in motion” besides more hyperbolic outrage?

      I’m not signing up for owning climate change, so its not “our complacency”. If you want to own it, be my guest. What are you going to do about it?

      1. Mr. Smith

        I have taken steps regarding climate change.
        But I feel no obligation to defend or explain myself to congenital contrarians.

        1. Doug Ross

          Contrarian: anyone who disagrees with me.

          I am a pragmatic logician who expects people to live up to the words they speak through actions. If you believe climate change is a national emergency threatening the very existence of the planet in the next decade, act like it.

          I don’t believe the hype nor the outrage. Talk is cheap. Outrage is boring. Do something.

          1. Doug Ross

            A contrarian would say Y when you say X. I already say Y BEFORE you say X.

            My views are well formed and well informed.

    2. David T

      I don’t know what you saw, but what I saw was a 16 year old girl throwing a temper tantrum. I doubt this girl has the mental capacity to come up with much of what she went off screaming about, but she probably has an awesome ability to repeat what she’s been told to say. GIve it a couple weeks and she’ll be about as relevant as David what’s his name who personally saved all those kids in that school shooting. Or the little shaved headed girl at the same school.

  3. Harry Harris

    When I saw the gif of Greta Thunberg glaring at President Trump at the UN, my first thought was “That young girl is a woman.”

    Nice try at deflection, ill-intentioned finger-pointing, and typical Republican talking points, Doug. I’d come to expect better – at least once in a while.

    1. Doug Ross

      I’m not a Republican. I don’t know what their talking points are. I saw a young girl, likely coached by leftist parents, used as a prop. She’s a distraction for the people who think outrage is action. The latest in a long line of symbolic useless actors.

      How about we tell all those kids who skipped school that they have to ride the bus from now on to save energy? or give up their phones for one day a week? How many would do it? How many of the 18 year olds will actually vote? Anyone who walked out and doesn’t vote is a phony.

        1. Doug Ross

          What did I deflect? I assessed what I saw. A girl who some people now actually believe should lead the world to “fix” climate change. Why not look to your leader, Nancy Pelosi, to do something about it? She is actually in a position to DO SOMETHING. But that would require starting now (if we are to believe the world is doomed)… not wait until January of 2021.

          1. Harry Harris

            Apparently you haven’t observed the Republicans in Congress since 2010 and since they have gerrymandered and forced out almost all of their more even-handed colleagues.

            1. Doug Ross

              Wow. That was a real left turn there (literally)… All Pelosi has to do is come to the table with a bill. Then make some compromises with the other side… surely in the name of saving the world from extinction she could make time to do that? Or could the political calendar be more important than the fate of humanity?

  4. Mark Stewart

    One, she is naive. Two, that seems to be a fundimental requirement for effecting significant change. That, passion, a moral and ethical rightness – and a gift for attention-grabbing communication. Also doggedness.

    I think anyone who can’t acknowledge that there was absolute underlying truth to what she said IS part of the problem. The solutions to come will have to be many-faceted. They will also require global political will to achieve. They will also require political and cultural courage here at home. They will require leaders and adults and voters to direct us in the directions most of us understand that we need to move.

    Chance she wins the Nobel peace prize 60/40. Chance Trump does 0.

            1. Norm Ivey

              …extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people…

              That doesn’t sound like Trump at all.

  5. Mark Stewart

    Speaking of Trump:. I listened to his comments before his UN speech. He said that he believes eventually people would be able to review “the read out of his telephone call.”

    This ought to ring alarm bells in everyone. Trump and his stuff have already been caught rewriting the official readouts.

    Congress is going to need to demand the actual recordings. And the “true” transcript. Otherwise I have no trouble imagining that the “read-out” released by the White House (to the press or Congress) will be a whitewashed editing of what actually happened.

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’m very concerned about Greta. It’s my Dad instinct. I worry about her.

    As I noted above, I was only vaguely familiar with who she was before yesterday. I had figured out that the girl crossing the ocean in a sailboat was the one the Irish Mom was talking about that day in Dublin. But that was about it.

    And then I saw that video clip, and I got concerned. I said something on Twitter to the effect of, it looked like that trip across the ocean put her in a bad mood. Then, a little later in the day, I saw something about her Asperger’s. I went right back and deleted my Tweet.

    I debated about changing my line above about how “it seems she’s really ticked off about it.” But I decided it was OK in the context, and it certainly DOES seem that she’s really upset. That’s the way her affect comes across.

    But now that I know about her condition, I’ve very concerned about her. Who knows what all this exposure will do to her? She seems less concerned — about herself — than I am. She seems altogether willing to immolate herself on the altar of her cause. And that worries me.

    Some use her condition to attack her and her cause. But it makes me want to protect her…

    1. Doug Ross

      What credentials does she have to speak on climate change?

      People like a good story and the media will sell it to every sucker out there. Clicks and views are all that matter.

    2. Mr. Smith

      As the parent of a child (now young adult) diagnosed with Asperger’s, I can tell you:
      They’re not as fragile as you seem to think.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Thanks for sharing that.

        She just seems to be struggling dealing with her emotions on this, and it looks like she’s having a hard time.

        So I feel for her…

        1. Mr. Smith

          It’s not hard to appreciate why she got emotional. It goes without saying that the issue she’s addressing is of extreme importance to her. She’s totally invested in it, both intellectually and emotionally. AND she is finally speaking to the very people she has been criticizing all along as having the responsibility to take action but who have failed to do what’s necessary to deal with the problem. This is the culminating event of what she has devoted herself to. I can completely understand why that would lead her to react as she did. She wanted to deliver a jeremiad to verbally demonstrate how important this is.

          Plus, if you watch more than the brief clip of her presentation that’s gotten airplay, you’ll see that she’s not as emotional after those first 30 seconds or so.

          1. David T

            How does a 16 year old girl get to speak to the United Nations without the involvement of others who can set an agenda and get it delivered by someone such as her?

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  You can sure give it a try…

                  But I offer this observation from a lifetime of presenting content to the public: You never know how people will react.

                  Sometimes, the picture or video or column or blog post that you work the hardest on and hope will change the world will get totally ignored.

                  Then, you put out something that you hardly worried over at all — something you thought of as cranking out something to feed the daily beast — and you’re in the middle of a national, viral storm

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Something just occurred to me. As uncomfortable as that week was, dealing with the national reaction to my Edwards column, it would have been WAY worse with social media.

                    But that wasn’t a thing yet, at least not for me, and not for most people. This was the summer of 2007. Twitter had only started the year before, which was the same time Facebook — previously a college-campus thing — opened up to the general public. I would sign up for Facebook later in 2007, but wouldn’t really use it for years. I didn’t get a Twitter account until 2009.

                    There was no Twitter-shaming, no “cancel culture.”

                    My column went “viral” in an old-fashioned way, largely because Drudge picked it up (remember Drudge?). The only ways I had to measure the reaction were those 1,500 emails that awaited me the first morning, and all the calls I was getting from media across the country.

                    But in that column about the reaction, I tell of a couple of things that foreshadowed the way it would have been on social media — the bullets about the Wonkette, and the comments from Jake Tapper and the woman on “The Democratic Daily.” Those had the flavor of social media storms — people flying off with no knowledge of who I was, or context, or anything. just using me as yet another example “proving” their wordviews.

                    I lucked out that it didn’t happen 10 years later…

                2. Doug Ross

                  “(remember Drudge?”

                  You’re kidding, right?

                  VISITS TO DRUDGE 9/25/2019

                  033,955,694 PAST 24 HOURS
                  847,505,364 PAST 31 DAYS
                  10,212,902,701 PAST YEAR

                  10 Billion page views a year. Wait til the election kicks off for real next year.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    What I mean is, Do you remember when Drudge was everywhere, and everyone talked about it?

                    Back me up here, people — do you hear Drudge mentioned as much in 2019 as you did in the mid-2000s?

                    I don’t…

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve heard Drudge mentioned that I’m surprised by those numbers you share.

                      I wonder why he doesn’t get talked about as much as he used to?

                    2. Brad Warthen Post author

                      I just looked, and Drudge Report was mentioned four times in the past week in the Washington Post. But before that, it hadn’t been mentioned since last October….

                    3. Brad Warthen Post author

                      As wrong as I apparently was, I thought “Drudge” was a name younger people might not recognize. So to me, it was like, “remember when everybody was on AOL or CompuServe?”

                3. Doug Ross

                  I go to Drudge every day pretty much as a starting point. He’s not breaking news any more, just providing links. He’s got a good feel for the “temperature” of the country.. what’s hot, what’s not. It’s certainly right leaning (sort of interesting since Matt Drudge is gay) but not excessively so.

                  I use slate.com as my left leaning source of what’s going on.

              1. Barry

                Only time I see Drudge mentioned online is when his site seems focused on something outside the cheerleading Trump universe.

                But no

                Drudge use to get mentioned a lot on talk radio, etc but it’s rare to hear that site mentioned anymore.

  7. Harry Harris

    I think she speaks from the collective credentials of over 97% of the climate scientists in the world as opposed to the deniers who are mostly backed by fossil-fuel money. I think she speaks with the credentials of one who will inherit the damage of our neglect and self-interest long after you and I have made our money off the oil, waste, and other short-sighted greed. Those are good enough.

    1. Doug Ross

      Really? 97% of the climate scientists have abdicated their collective intelligence, training, research, and careers to a 16 year old kid who is angry? May as well give her a PhD now in science. She’s earned it.

      1. Norm Ivey

        Climate change science is pretty simple stuff. A 16-year-old can easily understand the forces at work even without an advanced degree.

        1. David T

          Maybe she should take her next sailboat trip to India and give a speech to their government body. Maybe get a picture of herself along the Ganges River.

        2. Doug Ross

          Ok, Norm, what will be the impact in the next year? Let’s not talk about predictions decades from now. It’s science so show me where 97% of scientists agree on specific outcomes.

          Reason magazine has a very level headed view of this current media event.. .


          An excerpt:

          But despite the volume and vitriol of the attacks directed her way, it’s vitally important that the worldview she represents and the policies she espouses are refuted. Like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), and a host of other American politicians, Thunberg believes that we’ve only got a few years left to settle the fate of the planet, a basic tenet pushed by supporters of the Green New Deal and by most of the Democrats running for president. In fact, Thunberg thinks that “cutting our emissions in half in 10 years,” the target invoked by many environmentalists, is too little, too late. She avers that such a drastic reduction only

          “gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.”

          “Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.”

          “So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us—we who have to live with the consequences.”

          Such catastrophic thinking is similar to AOC’s equally apocalyptic statement that “The world is gonna end in 12 years” and Warren’s contention that “we’ve got, what, 11 years, maybe” to cut our emissions in half to save the planet. As Reason’s Ronald Bailey has documented, such predictions stem from a fundamental misreading of a 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That report offered up predictions in the growth of global economic activity, how it might be affected by climate change, and how reducing greenhouse gases might increase planetary GDP. It did not specify anything like a 10- to 12-year window after which extinction or amelioration is inevitable. Writes Bailey:

          If humanity does nothing whatsoever to abate greenhouse gas emissions, the worst-case scenario is that global GDP in 2100 would be 8.2 percent lower than it would otherwise be.

          Let’s make those GDP percentages concrete. Assuming no climate change and an global real growth rate of 3 percent per year for the next 81 years, today’s $80 trillion economy would grow to just under $880 trillion by 2100. World population is likely to peak at around 9 billion, so divvying up that GDP suggests that global average income would come to about $98,000 per person. Under the worst-case scenario, global GDP would only be $810 trillion and average income would only be $90,000 per person.

          “There is no looming climate change ‘expiration date,'” writes Bailey, a point underscored by Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, which promotes cost-effective policies to remediate climate change, hunger, disease, and other global issues. Lomborg notes that the IPCC itself

          has found the evidence does not support claims that floods, droughts and cyclones are increasing.

          The scientists have said, “there is low confidence in a global-scale observed trend” in drought, a “lack of evidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale” and “no significant observed trends in global (cyclone) frequency over the past century.”

          What’s more, the scientists have found that current human-caused global warming cannot reasonably be linked to any of these extreme weather phenomenon-“globally, there is low confidence in attribution of changes in (cyclone) activity to human influence”, “low confidence in detection and attribution of changes in drought” and low confidence “that anthropogenic climate change has affected the frequency and magnitude of floods”. This doesn’t mean there is no problem-just that the facts matter.

          1. Norm Ivey

            The nature of science is that it will not state a specific outcome in one year. Climate scientists don’t even make specific predictions for 10 years down the road. There are too many variables for that kind of specificity. I find that uncertainty troubling in itself. What 97% of climate scientists agree on is that the planet is warming, that warming will lead to changes in climate, and it’s because of human actions.

            Since humans have created the problem, we can also take actions to mitigate it.

            I agree with one narrow premise of the article you linked. There is a level of extreme alarmism in the climate change discussion that isn’t helpful. There’s a level of extreme denialism that also doesn’t help.

            The real problem I have with the article is their cynical dismissal of the economics of climate change. GDP will never be evenly distributed amongst the planet’s inhabitants, so using that illustration is disingenuous. Climate change will impact impoverished citizens of the world to a greater degree than those with wealth. But since Reason is funded by Scaife and Koch, I wouldn’t expect much open-minded discussion of climate change anyway.

    2. Realist

      Some skeptics are financed by fossil-fuel money. Most climate scientists are financed by government money in one form or another. Wouldn’t it be a logical conclusion that both sides are influenced by the primary sources of their financing?

      The official position of the US government is that climate change is directly caused by human activity. Therefore, it behooves the government funding efforts to be directed to legitimate climate scientists who are in agreement with the official government position.

      97% of climate scientists? Won’t get into that debate because the definition of “climate scientist” has been expanded to encompass anything that involves any profession that has the word “climate” associated with it when debating the impact of human activity on climate change.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        “The official position of the US government is that climate change is directly caused by human activity.”

        Is it? Because lately, it hasn’t seemed that way. Unless the corollary to that position is, “… and we couldn’t care less.”

  8. bud

    Naysayers like Doug will stand on the wrong side of history with regard to this issue. Won’t be the first time. I’m sure plenty of nattering Dougs were saying similar nonsense about Rosa Parks.

    1. Doug Ross

      Will I be standing in water up to my ankles or over my head?

      Rosa Parks did something. She wasn’t paraded around by her parents.

      Here’s my offer – find me one climate scientist who will stake his job on accurately predicting the rise in global temperature in six months. It’s SCIENCE right? That means you can use the scientific method to come up with an accurate prediction based on data and evidence. Seems quite odd that predictions a decade out are so certain yet nobody can tell you what will happen in six months. Yes, I agree there is climate change. But the actuale ffects and the solutions are pure junk science like astrology.

      1. Norm Ivey

        Yes, it’s science. But the type of prediction you’re asking for relies on being able to control for variables, which is impossible with climate predictions. The best you can do is make general statements–longer droughts, worse floods, stronger storms, rising seas–all of which have been predicted for decades, and all of which are coming to pass.

        There are changes that we can make that will make a difference for future generations. From a technological standpoint, it’s really not beyond us at all. What we lack is the will to act decisively.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’m no expert, but common sense tells me it would be far, FAR easier to predict a general trend over 10 years — and do so accurately — than to give you a specific weather forecast for a day six months from now.

        I find it startling that you suggest it’s the other way around…

        1. Doug Ross

          I find it startling that people forget how many “scientific” predictions made ten years ago didn’t come true. Climate “science” is like economics. There are too many variables to make any type of consistent, accurate prediction…. and nobody remembers when you are wrong.

          Here’s an article from the WSJ assessing the predictions made to Congress by a NASA scientist:


          Mr. Hansen’s testimony described three possible scenarios for the future of carbon dioxide emissions. He called Scenario A “business as usual,” as it maintained the accelerating emissions growth typical of the 1970s and ’80s. This scenario predicted the earth would warm 1 degree Celsius by 2018. Scenario B set emissions lower, rising at the same rate today as in 1988. Mr. Hansen called this outcome the “most plausible,” and predicted it would lead to about 0.7 degree of warming by this year. He added a final projection, Scenario C, which he deemed highly unlikely: constant emissions beginning in 2000. In that forecast, temperatures would rise a few tenths of a degree before flatlining after 2000.

          Thirty years of data have been collected since Mr. Hansen outlined his scenarios—enough to determine which was closest to reality. And the winner is Scenario C. Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16. Assessed by Mr. Hansen’s model, surface temperatures are behaving as if we had capped 18 years ago the carbon-dioxide emissions responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect. But we didn’t. And it isn’t just Mr. Hansen who got it wrong. Models devised by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have, on average, predicted about twice as much warming as has been observed since global satellite temperature monitoring began 40 years ago.


          So forgive me if I don’t accept what “97%” of scientists believe will happen decades from now.

          1. Norm Ivey

            I don’t have a WSJ account, so I can’t read this opinion piece in its entirety, but Pat Michaels is a little bit notorious in the climate change debate. His books are often funded by the fossil fuel industry, so I’m skeptical of his skepticism.

            Data collection and modeling have improved since Hansen’s testimony in 1988. Real Climate is a website with posts written by climate scientist who receive no remuneration for their posts. Here’s how they see Hansen’s predictions.

          1. Doug Ross

            My name is literally at the top of my comments. If you don’t like what I write generally, you can just skip over them. It’s not hard. I won’t care. I do it with Bill’s videos all the time. Tried a couple, realized they were supposed to imply some level of musical “coolness” that I don’t have (or want), so I ignore them.

            “Barry” can do the same.

            1. Bill

              I’ve studied music for the last 60 years.It’s not about “coolness”(remember,Lester Young when you use “cool” that way)…

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