October 19th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Greta Thunberg: she's not doing it all on her own

EDITORIAL Time for Australia to rethink the neo-liberal experiment

RURAL AFFAIRS Queensland Labor punishes farmers to placate UNESCO

CANBERRA OBSERVED Morrison's 'positive' globalism has resonance

NSW ABORTION ACT Amendments annul some of the Act's worst excesses

GENDER POLITICS Doctors call for inquiry into childhood gender dysphoria

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Hong Kong's 'software' may be key to its survival

GENDER POLITICS Pornography and the transgender agenda

RIGHTS & FREEDOMS Transgenderism poses biggest threat to religious freedom

OPINION When Maggie (Sanger) met Mickie (Mann)

PHILOSOPHY The element of justice in economic practice, Part 2 of two parts

POPULATION Lifestyles and policies ensure population peril ahead

HUMOUR If atheism is the answer, what was the question?

MUSIC Good, better, Bach: The composer who consistently outdid himself

CINEMA Joker: From a heart in darkness

BOOK REVIEW Hope, more than economics, drives Trump voters

BOOK REVIEW A pushback against visceral unreason


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Greta Thunberg: she's not doing it all on her own

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, October 19, 2019

The use of children for political purposes is not new. In the last century, it was used by demagogues such as Chairman Mao to launch his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1964, in which an estimated million Chinese people were killed, and earlier by Adolf Hitler, who used the Hitler Youth to terrorise his enemies, and then to provide the pawns for his wars, which culminated in Germany’s defeat in World War II.

Greta Thunberg: Passionate but wrong.

The ploy is now being used again, with young people – mobilised through social media but organised by the radical environmental movement – being used as the storm troopers of a new intolerance, demanding that the world accede to their demands for the immediate end to the use of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal, regardless of the consequences.

At the vanguard of this movement is Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish girl, who has been catapulted to international stardom as the voice of youth protesting against the failure of the older generation to take action to prevent “catastrophic” climate change.

Ms Thunberg was invited to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where she harangued world leaders for their inaction.

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, yet I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Ecosystems “collapsing”

She continued: “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 the money and fairytales 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 are 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.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 per cent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control. Fifty per cent may be acceptable to you, but those numbers do not include tipping points …

“How dare you pretend that this can be sold with just business as usual and some technical solutions? There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today because these numbers are too uncomfortable and you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

“You are failing us, but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up and change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Almost every statement she made in this address is wrong.

The very fact that she was addressing a UN Climate Summit, convened by the UN Secretary-General, shows that most countries are committing huge sums of money to do something about “climate change”, despite uncertainties about climate science and the fact that computer-generated climate predictions have proved wildly exaggerated. Just as exaggerated have been claims of sea-level rises, increased floods, droughts and other natural disasters.

Contrary to Thunberg’s assertions, the science has not been settled “for 30 years”. It was not even an issue 30 years ago.

In fact, it is more hotly contested today than ever before, with mounting evidence that the small rise in temperatures over the past 30 years is due to a variety of factors, including increased solar radiation, long-term temperature oscillations in the oceans that cover over 70 per cent of the earth’s surface, and other factors.

And rising carbon-dioxide levels have actually led to an increased greening of the planet, because carbon dioxide is plant food.

Management consultancy McKinsey’s has calculated that the cost of a global commitment to cut carbon-dioxide levels would cost $US60 per tonne of carbon dioxide, at a total cost globally in the vicinity of $US200-$US350 billion ($A300-$A500 billion) a year.

This is money which would not then be available for spending on Third-World development, health and education.

Thunberg joined a group of 15 young green activists in filing a complaint against France, Germany and several other countries, alleging that they had breached children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as a result of their failure to enforce immediate limits on carbon-dioxide emissions.

The response was swift.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had both previously endorsed Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future school strike movement, were stung into reacting to what one French minister termed her “despair … verging on hatred”.

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm