David Aaronovich has called Trump v Thunberg "the battle of our age" and both were at the annual Davos shindig where climate change was the theme despite the prevalence of private jets. I don't know about you but I thought that Donald Trump had the better of the verbal sparing at Davos, despite his bringing two jumbo jets with him. I say this because he offered something positive. Greta Thunberg, meanwhile, made yet another interminable train journey (about 24 hours) to pass on her bleak message to the world. You can see her here along with other inspiring young people who don't usually get the limelight. Here are few of her cheery utterings:
"We don’t need a low-carbon economy . We don’t need to lower emissions. Our emissions have to stop. Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source, starting today, is completely insufficient.”
Too much; too soon, her critics said. The trouble with Thunberg's please panic now policy is that, if implemented in full, and by everyone, it would slam the economic brakes on resulting in a severe global recession that would do nothing to help the poor, or anyone else, although hedge funds would probably do ok given their ability to make money on the up and down sides of growth. We should, of course, keep a bit of carbon in the ground for a rainy day). Trump's wider point was that there is time to do something about climate change without having to adopt extreme positions – not of course, that he's doing much about it, although plenty of institutions in the USA are.
My main interest in all this (from this blog's perspective) is the effect that Thunberg's gloom has on young people who seem gloomy enough already thank you very much judging by an article in a recent Times. It may seem too much to say that a 17 year old has responsibilities to temper her apocalyptic message with a bit of hope, but a lot of young people do listen to her. To be continued ...
PS, I did like the "Stop (f)lying to us" slogan though.