On Climate, The Kids Are All Wrong

  • Date: 13/03/19
  • Paul H. Tice, The Wall Street Journal

And a band of ignorant brats shall lead them: Some things have hardly changed since 1212.

In the summer of 1212, thousands of divinely inspired young people from across Catholic France and Germany took off to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. None made it to the Holy Land. Many died along the way or were sold into slavery. As military campaigns go, the Children’s Crusade was a disaster. Yet environmental activists and politicians are adopting the same “a child shall lead them” strategy to push their climate change agenda and its latest incarnation, the Green New Deal.

Youth-oriented climate groups have proliferated in the past few years, helped by logistical support from the United Nations. With earnest names such as iMatter Youth Movement, Zero Hour and Youth vs. Apocalypse, these outfits publicly lecture world leaders and march for the cause. This Friday has been designated “a global day of action” on which thousands of students world-wide are expected to strike—otherwise known as cutting class.

A few of these youth groups are highly litigious, bringing lawsuits on the novel theory of “intergenerational equity.” Most cases have been dismissed, although some continue to work their way through the courts, including Juliana v. U.S., filed in 2015 by Our Children’s Trust.

Meanwhile, the Green New Deal has been introduced, appropriately enough, by the youngest member of Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It reads more like a progressive letter to Santa Claus than a serious piece of legislation.

Members of Congress not yet on board—Democrats and Republicans alike—are targets of adolescent Alinskys. Sen. Dianne Feinstein was recently ambushed in her San Francisco office by middle- and high-school students from the Sunrise Movement. To her credit, Mrs. Feinstein tried to explain to the youngsters that the Green New Deal would cost too much and would never pass into law. The exchange called to mind a grandparent laying down the law when the parents can’t or won’t do their job.

The Feinstein fiasco should give pause to the adult climate-change activists hiding behind—and exploiting—all of these doubtless sincere young people whose heads have been filled for years with frightening tales of climate disaster. Children are innocent, but innocence goes with inexperience, naiveté and unwisdom. From following the Pied Piper into a medieval forest to sailing off with Pinocchio to Pleasure Island to shoplifting candy from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, children tend to make bad choices, which is why we don’t let them run things—or vote, consume alcohol, drive cars or enter into contracts.

Anthropogenic global warming is a highly politicized, scientifically complex issue that still requires debate despite the purported consensus. Given the strategic importance of the nation’s energy sector, any mitigation efforts would have wide-reaching economic and geopolitical ramifications.

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