For all the economic, social and national unity pain inflicted, our sacrifices will have no perceptible impact on global climate change
It’s been almost three decades since delegates from 172 countries, meeting at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, adopted the Climate Change Convention. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show that since then the Earth’s temperature has risen an average of 0.03 degrees Celsius per year.
At that rate, the planet will warm 2.4 degrees by 2100. That’s a sizable amount over 80 years but it’s certainly not the “climate emergency” needed to galvanize people into making life-altering sacrifices like giving up cars or air travel or switching to “eco-friendly” food.
The answer to every climate activist’s prayer came in the form of 17-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg. Her transformation to the world’s pre-eminent climate-change warrior began with Fridays spent demonstrating outside the Swedish Parliament and gaining the attention of financially capable fellow warriors.
Her carefully choreographed journey to New York by “zero-carbon” sailboat was timed to coincide with the UN Climate Action Summit, where she passionately delivered an apocalyptic “How dare you!” tirade heard around the world.
Here in Canada her performance inspired radicalized groups including “Extinction Rebellion,” which enraged drivers by blocking roads and bridges. A one-day climate strike shut down classes across the country as students joined climate emergency rallies. In a scant few days, Greta struck existential climate-change fear into teenagers everywhere. Unfortunately, her words struck terror into pre-teens. In one elementary class, a child yelled out, “I don’t wanna die.”