Whether Greta Thunberg is possessed by a mania or some evil energumen is a subject that’s finally being discussed in the mainstream press.
The choice of either option is generally determined by the pundits’ preference for a medical or metaphysical explanation, with the former being more popular in our medicalised age.
However, even those hacks who feel that Greta’s hysterical harangues have finally gone too far have to qualify their mild criticism with phrases like “much as I respect Greta and her cause…” or “even though I admire Greta…”.
The consensus seems to be that, though this poor child is promoting an unequivocally good cause, isn’t it a shame she goes ever so slightly over the top. And perhaps she should soften her prophesies of gloom not to upset other, more balanced, children.
And of course Greta’s incoherent, lachrymose shrieks at large audiences of grown-ups, along the lines of “you took my childhood away”, make some hacks fear for her neurological health.
My concerns are different. It’s crystal-clear to me that Greta needs to be committed to a good clinic before she kills herself or bites someone else, necessitating a course of antidotes against rabies.
However, much as I dislike seeing a child, even one as odious as Greta, disintegrate so spectacularly, this is really her parents’ problem, not mine. My problems are much more serious.
One is that this disturbed, possibly evil and definitely illiterate child does draw large audiences of grown-ups, including those in governments.
Anyone retaining any vestiges of humanity would just call for the men in white coats. If he happened to be brave, he could dismiss the danger of being bitten and hug the poor girl, muttering: “There, there, dear, calm yourself, you’ll be all right, I promise…”
However, dismissing Greta with either kindness or scorn would be tantamount to casting aspersion on her cause, and that’s simply not possible for anyone hoping for an extended career in the public media.
Questioning anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the 21st century is like questioning God in the 11th. Our ancient religion has been ousted by a newfangled superstition, and heresy is punished severely.
Yet the medieval theologians conducted the debate with more rigour, integrity and honour than today’s admirers of that awful child and her half-baked cause.
Thus a couple of years ago, Dr Tim Ball wrote that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stifled honest research by channelling almost all its funding to scientists willing to spread the myth of the impending catastrophe.
One of those culprits, Prof. Andrew Weaver, sued Dr Ball for defamation, but the case was thrown out of court in February, 2018. Yet the same hacks who profess qualified admiration for Greta and unequivocal support for her cause didn’t deem that event worth mentioning.
They’ve also hushed up a similar case against Dr Ball brought by Dr Michael Mann that too was dismissed. It wasn’t just Dr Ball who emerged victorious – it was his data that were found scientifically sound, while the data presented by his accusers weren’t.
It’s not only journalists who display a deficit of integrity. In the run-up to the 1995 Madrid Conference, at which the UN announced that AGW was an ironclad scientific fact, a number of documents presented by the opponents of that hypothesis had vanished without a trace. And none of those opponents was allowed to speak.
No wonder. Because that ideologically inspired fiction doesn’t stand up to evidence.
First, AGW fans confuse cause and effect: it’s not СO2 that causes warming, but vice versa. That stands to reason – and also to the extensive evidence obtained by meteorological drilling in Greenland and the Antarctic.
The physics are simple enough: the human input into the amount of СO2 is only a few per cent, while 90 per cent of it is dissolved in the global ocean. Any warming, even by half a degree, forces the ocean to emit a vast amount of СO2.
Throughout history, warming and cooling periods have been cyclical. Thus in the 17th century, both the Thames and Amsterdam canals froze solid, while during the Roman period Britain was much warmer than it is now, and grapes grew in Scotland.
It’s true that there has been some warming over the past 100 years. But in the past 30 years, we’ve had not warming but a slight cooling – this though the amount of СO2 has grown by 80 per cent during the same period. This datum alone should debunk any theory about AGW caused by a growing amount of СO2.
Rather than being catastrophic, this growth has actually been beneficial because СO2 increases the coefficient of photosynthesis, making plants grow better and faster. The net effect of that development has always helped people survive: all major famines coincided with the mini Ice Ages, while the warming periods produced an abundance of food.
I’m not suggesting that any of this puts paid to the debate. Some serious scientists, for example, insist that different measurement techniques yield different results. There exist sets of data showing some warming in the past 30 years. However, it’s so small that it can be safely discounted as a factor of danger, much less catastrophe.
That’s why such scientists constantly downgrade their predictions of temperature rises. If 20 years ago they forecast increases of around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, now they are talking about only a couple of degrees at most.
So yes, there are grounds for discussion, which ought to be left to climatologists. But there are no grounds for hysterical shrieks communicating secular piety.
No scientific grounds, that is. Ideologically, however, AGW is a godsend for people like Greta, or rather those who are happy to use her as their figurehead.
I’m talking not about a narrow cabal, but about a broad cross-section of pathological discontents on the Left, most of them young, who abhor what they call ‘capitalism’, but what is in fact everything the West stands for.
They want AGW to fulfil the ontological human need for a cause that’s bigger than them, one worth sacrificing lives for, ideally other people’s. Since God who not only postulates love, but actually is love offers little opportunity to vent one’s bile, those discontents look for secular causes.
These can be political, social or environmental – it really doesn’t matter. The same, or at least typologically the same, people will embrace communism or Nazism, fascist marches or anti-nuclear campaigns, vegetarianism or environmentalism.
Whatever the cause, they’ll pursue it with the same mindless, manic devotion. That’s why the American writer Dinesh D’Souza was absolutely right when he had a bit of fun putting Greta’s picture side by side with that of a girl in the Bund Deutscher Mädel, the female wing of the Hitlerjugend.
The two girls look like twins, but not just because of their plaits and Nordic appearance. It’s not only facial features but also facial expressions that make people look alike.
And all fanatics exude the same demonic energy, the same fiendish light – whatever the cause of their fanaticism. Alas, many people fly towards that light like moths, forgetting the fate of such insects.