Greta Thunberg's 'How dare you?' a major moment for climate movement

Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019 at the United Nations Hea
Youth climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City

Her imperious "How dare you?" to world leaders at the UN cemented Swedish teen Greta Thunberg's role as her generation's leading spokeswoman on climate change, the culmination of a year of dogged relentlessness, say those who know her.

Though her words did not seem to move the leaders who spoke after her, her speech of only four and a half minutes immediately went viral, racking up tens of thousands of shares and comments on .

Thunberg's dominant status in the climate movement is easy to explain, say those who have met the 16-year-old high school student, who is taking a year off from her studies.

"She's done something that seems so unusual: a school strike. School is a very important thing for kids all around the world," said Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International.

Thunberg started the strikes by herself in Stockholm, with just a sign, in August 2018.

The simplicity of her actions quickly caught the world's attention, and one year later, strikes are occurring in scores of countries, spurred on by social media.

"She's very clear in how she speaks, and I think her words at the summit were words that many people feel," Morgan added.

Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam International, agreed, telling AFP that Greta "speaks so powerfully that we must listen."

Thunberg's way of speaking—brief, forceful and backed up by well-chosen scientific data points—contrasts sharply with the style of her peers, as was apparent over the weekend during a youth summit.

Some of the young activists already speak like their elders, reciting long texts lacking in nuance.

The uniqueness of Thunberg's speech—at times reserved, at others blunt—partly comes from her Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism that the teen says has made her very direct.

"The whole movement that she has helped inspire, and her speech yesterday, are playing a big part in the long-term task of changing the zeitgeist," said Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, an international environmental organization that has been active in the climate protests.

"Our sense of what's normal and natural and proper is shifting, and shifting faster now because of the work that Greta's doing," added the ecologist, who met Thunberg in Washington and New York.

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg (C) talks with members of her close entourage as she takes part in a media event o
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg (C) talks with members of her close entourage as she takes part in a media event on Capitol Hill on September 17, 2019 in Washington

The voice of science

Like young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who advocates for girls' education, or American student and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg, who advocates for gun control, Thunberg has been accused of being manipulated to promote an agenda.

She responded to the accusations on her Facebook page: "There is no one 'behind' me except for myself."

"And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input," she wrote.

Her team shared with AFP the names of reputed scientists whom she has consulted: They include Johan Rockstrom, Stefan Rahmstorf, Kevin Anderson, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Glen Peters and others.

"I'm convinced that she writes the bulk of her speeches herself, even if she has them proofread," said Belgian climate scientist Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, who is in regular contact with both Thunberg and her father.

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a Climate Crisis Committee joint hearing on September 18, 2019 in Washingto
Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a Climate Crisis Committee joint hearing on September 18, 2019 in Washington

Over messages last week, he helped Thunberg clarify a point before she testified in the United States Congress.

Kevin Anderson of the University of Manchester echoed the same sentiments: "I am confident that Greta writes her own speeches, but quite appropriately checks the robustness of facts, scientific statements and any use of numbers with a range of specialists in those particular areas."

For McKibben, Thunberg's abilities are a no-brainer: "If you sat her and President Trump down for 10 minutes and had a basic discussion of planetary physics and chemistry, who do you think would prevail?" he asked admiringly.

Of course, Thunberg does not travel alone. Her father, former actor and producer Svante Thunberg, accompanies her, as well as a longtime family friend.

Callum Grieve, from the organization Every Breath Matters, was also with her in Washington.

Thunberg also has help managing the flood of invitations and interview requests. Climate-oriented communications firms Climate Nexus and GSCC help handle media inquiries, free of charge.

Students participate in the Global Climate Strike march on September 20, 2019 in New York City
Students participate in the Global Climate Strike march on September 20, 2019 in New York City

Multiple NGOs work with Thunberg to coordinate events, such as 350.org, which passes along invitations.

"She doesn't have big NGOs behind her. She is her own person," said Kim Bryan, the spokeswoman for 350.org.

Greenpeace Sweden also helped Thunberg some during the winter by providing her with food and support, said Morgan, but nothing other than that.

"She knows she can call on us, but she's very much her own personality," Morgan said.

"That's pure Greta."


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Teen climate activist to French critics: Listen to science

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Sep 25, 2019
I understand her angst. When I was her age, the great looming catastrophe was Peak Oil, and I was righteously indignant that my parents' generation was using it up willy-nilly, without a thought for my generation's welfare. But my angst was misplaced because it turned out, some decades later, that Peak Oil was a failed prediction. What most adults know, that children don't, is that prediction is a very uncertain business, especially when it concerns, as Yogi Berra said, the future.


Sep 25, 2019
Politicians should be in charge of making sure that their countries (and by direct extension the kids therein) have a future...instead of just being in charge of making sure their bank accounts are getting fatter.

Kids should be the ultimate employer when it comes to making sure that they have a future. It's telling how far away from the idea(l) of politics politicians have moved when you listen to the lip-service drivel that they had to offer in reply to her.

Sep 25, 2019
How dare she make false accusations. How dare she spread propaganda. How dare she look as scary as Janet Reno at only 16-years-old...

Sep 25, 2019
Janet Reno. LMAO.
Sounds like you had it bad for the bu/itch.

Sep 25, 2019
Science does really well in predicting the physical world except when the variables are many, those variables are all interdependent, and they are mostly non linear. I could no more predict what the climate will be like in 100 years than I could tell you where the stockmarket will close next Tuesday. When did phys.org start shilling for the banksters?

Sep 25, 2019
What most adults know, that children don't, is that prediction is a very uncertain business,


No need for the arrogance towards someone still adolescent, yet far more capable in science and especially climate science than you. Science is the business of making predictions and test them, all the while specifying the remaining uncertainty carefully.

Man mad global warming is not a prediction, nor is the mass extinction Thunberg describes.

Science does really well in predicting the physical world except when the variables are many, those variables are all interdependent, and they are mostly non linear. I could no more predict what the climate will be like in 100 years ...


Yes scientists have no problem to do that for the climate system, if the system has no tipping points, since the main driver is man made greenhouse gas release. Natural variation is now too small (give or take an unlikely super plume). The immediate problem is that the predictions are *conservative*.

Sep 25, 2019
The same meeting had UN discussing that the conservative approach is no longer the best predictor: the situation is *worse* than we all hoped for.

When will climate trolls stop shilling for the fossil industry, for Russian oligarchs trying to remain in economic power and for their own narcissistic interests?

Sep 25, 2019
Thunberg
Feel the Thunberg
Lightning then the Thunberg

#Make America Greta Again

Sep 25, 2019
No need for the arrogance towards someone still adolescent, yet far more capable in science and especially climate science than you. Science is the business of making predictions and test them, all the while specifying the remaining uncertainty carefully.

Man MAD global warming is not a prediction, nor is the mass extinction Thunberg describes.

Wow, science is predictions, tests, uncertainties. Yet, Climate "Science" is SETTLED, no debates necessary. Burn the heretics. Yep, arrogance, that ain't.

Man MAD, ain't that the truth. An ignorant adolescent, with a medical condition, who claims she has the superpower to see invisible CO2. Yet, there she is on the world stage, preaching claims about the future are not PREDICTIONS. Amazing, she also has the superpower to see the future and it's mass extinction. So, why are billions still being squandered on "settled" climate "science"?

Sep 25, 2019
It is good include everyone's opinions and beliefs in making progress. That's a democratic approach. Greta's viewpoint should be respected, but this gives no guarantee that her voice will be heard. If she wants to make new laws and policies, she must officially enter politics and run for elections, and aim to acquire the highest position that can alter things on the ground.

Many scientists, politicians, businessmen, and entrepreneurs have far more knowledge, understanding and solid approaches for tackling issues that she is concerned with.

Sep 25, 2019
'The Global Warming Hypothesis is an Unproven Hypothesis'

https://youtu.be/x1HVsRuqfpo

$.99 on Amazon, worth the read.

Sep 25, 2019
If she wants to make new laws and policies, she must officially enter politics and run for elections, and aim to acquire the highest position that can alter things on the ground.

Brilliant. It's not bad enough that she's luring children out of their classrooms to spread her ignorance, anger, hate, fear and despair, she must now be given the power to make laws and policies to force those on everyone.

Sep 25, 2019
Oh dear Anonym, grantgeorge and idiot anti! Science is really bad at making predictions with many variables? Peak oil was wrong so AGW is wrong? Climate is like the stockmarket?
You really need to read 'Climate for Dummies'.

Sep 26, 2019
Oh dear Ojorf, so 'Climate for Dummies' is where you get your "science". Ain't yer the smrt one.

Sep 26, 2019
She is being used. I feel sorry for her.

Sep 26, 2019
How dare you use young our young people for your political ends, who stumble over their scripts and talking points, who take time out of school so they can pursue a path of uselessness. How dare you put them on display and manipulate them like this, how dare you think that some media propped gum flapping is a substitute for rational discourse. How dare you feed the culture of moral outrage, yet even more.

Sep 26, 2019
The stuff from the liar denier climate trolls being used against these kids is disgusting. Maybe you should read it and see if that's who you want to be.

Sep 26, 2019
Science is the business of making predictions and test them, all the while specifying the remaining uncertainty carefully.


That is not what so-called climate "scientists" do, however. There is no way to test their predictions empirically --- only through computer modeling. And if you look carefully, you will notice that any uncertainty has been carefully "settled."

As the American physicist Richard Feynman observed, theories to be scientific must be subject to falsification. All else is "research," he said, and that is the stage of development that climatologists have reached at present. When their theories can be falsified, they will have attained the status of a science. Unfortunately, we won't know for another 30-100 years what truth if any is to be found in the present understanding. We may also learn then whether the cooling trend expected by Milankovitch modelers has begun to kick in.

Sep 27, 2019
She is being used. I feel sorry for her.

How dare you!

Sep 28, 2019

No need for the arrogance towards someone still adolescent, yet far more capable in science and especially climate science than you.


Since I equated myself to her, you can't say I'm arrogant. Well, I was arrogant then maybe, in thinking I knew more than people of wider experience and education than my own. Greta's entitled to her opinion, as I was. Your smug complacency is founded on a misplaced, faith-based belief in "science," an attitude more suited to the 19th century than now. You've been "fooled by randomness" (h/t to Taleb) and a well-funded campaign to engineer acceptance of a big, new tax regime.

Sep 28, 2019
Another caricature from Central Casting.

The reptiles are upon us. We are being lizardized!?

Sep 28, 2019
Another caricature from Central Casting.

The reptiles are upon us. We are being lizardized!?
Sounds like a conspiracy

Sep 28, 2019
It's a quote from my new book 'Sounds Like a Conspiracy'
https://www.amazo...27207269

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