Greta Thunberg named Time’s Person of the Year 2019.



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59 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    As Time’s Person of the Year 2006, I vaguely approve.

    It’s got a hair less of the self-regard displayed last year but only a hair… but then I ask myself “who else could they have chosen?” and am stuck with people like David Hogg.Report

  2. Avatar Pinky says:

    Of course she is.

    If our culture got any dumber, they would have picked…actually, it would have been her. From here down, it’s her. This is Idiocracy, where being angry and loud is a substitute for understanding.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky says:

      She understand climate change perfectly well. She understands political intransigence perfectly well. She understands her world as an adult will continue to be more dangerous to human life as a result of that intransigence. And she’s mad as hell and not going to take it any more.

      I’d say that merits consideration.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H says:

        She certainly doesn’t understand climate change well. Even the most respected experts wouldn’t claim to understand it well. She probably knows as much as a Wikipedia entry (and not the deep science ones, just the first click). She visibly can’t comprehend political intransigence. I’m not blaming her; she’s on the spectrum, and that makes it tough. She thinks she understands the world, probably as much as any teenager. But I agree that she’s mad.Report

    • Avatar jason in reply to Pinky says:

      “where being angry and loud is a substitute for understanding” Hey, it worked for the president.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    No child has the maturity or life experience to understand complexities of “global climate change”. Everything I’ve seen of her is that she’s a angry scared child who demands that “something must be done”. I’ve ignored her since I’ve heard of her.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    How dare they, how DARE they?!?!?!Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

      A raging desire to be seen as having TIME left?”Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

        It was a play on her UN speech. Eh… I don’t exactly begrudge her being on Time but that emotive style of environmentalism really grates on me, especially since they pack so much AGW-non-related shit under the skirts of AGW then screech as if the solutions to AGW are easy or cheap.Report

        • Avatar Jesse in reply to North says:

          Making sure people don’t revolt due to the increased costs of stopping AGS is AGW-related.

          I hate to break this to you, but the neoliberal dream of just passing a huge carbon tax is never going to happen, because the Right doesn’t want that an the Left rightly knows it’ll lead to insane backlash when gas prices go up by $x dollars and other things.

          The reality is, it’s far more likely, a coalition to pass a Green New Deal is far more likely to be created in the next 20 years, than the coalition to pass a carbon tax, no matter how much it annoys upper middle class liberals who wish it was 2006 politically forever.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

            Small Modular Reactors are very promising.



          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jesse says:

            You are not acting quickly enough or going far enough to avoid destroying Greta’s future, and that’s really all that matters.

            You are failing her because you are consumed by selfishness and greed, content to see our planet destroyed just to prop up your lavish lifestyle in which you sit around idling reading articles about all the sailors flying back and forth across the Atlantic to crew the multi-million dollar ships that haul her across the world’s oceans.

            Certainly mankind is certainly facing a dire crisis, but it’s not from global warming. No, it’s the risk that everybody’s hard drives will fill up with hilarious Greta memes so that humanity runs out of available disk space.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Jesse says:

            Mmm sort of what Jaybird said. The Green New Deal and similar enviro-leftist fantasy plans not only promise to produce all the price hikes and miseries that a more centrist and narrowly tailored AGW plan does but also lard on “economic justice” issues that are incidental to direct AGW and also rules entire families of technology as out of bounds because environmentalists think they’re icky. If you think people are going to revolt when their gas prices go up $x dollars from a centrist carbon tax plan you have to acknowledge that they’ll be burning environmentalists at the stake when their gas prices go up $x10 dollars, meat is banned visiting Gramma on the other coast by air is banned,, we’re transferring big subsidies to the developing world and their taxes are at European levels without European levels of safety nets and we still have rolling blackouts every time the wind doesn’t blow enough and we’re strip logging the American forests for bio-fuels.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse says:

            Never let an environmental crisis go to waste.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

          Right there with you North.

          I just like making fun of Greta DOOMberg.


          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Aaron David says:

            I can’t make fun of her. She just seems screwed up. She seems to genuinely lack the ability to understand the people on (what she perceives as) the other side. You look at a David Hogg, you can see malice. I don’t get that from her.

            Then again, I could have been a David Hogg too if I were a scrawny 17-year-old thrust onto the national stage.

            In a healthier society, adults would have helped these children through their trauma, teaching them how to channel their passions constructively. But this is Idiocracly.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    She certainly got more attention for the problem than, say, Jay Inslee (full disclosure: I sent Gov. Inslee money).

    The latest NOAA Arctic Report Card summarizing recent research came out this week. All signs point to the Arctic having reached the tipping point where CO2 released by thawing permafrost exceeds the CO2 sequestered by new deep bog expansion. Welcome to positive feedback territory.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain says:

      We’ve been crossing fatal tipping points and ‘point of no return’s for most of my life. Don’t worry, the Arctic story will be run afresh for years to come, so none of us have to throw away our “The End is Near!” placards just yet. I’ve still got a closet full of signs from 2000 asking “Why don’t we have snow anymore?!” Eventually we’ll have an unusual weather snap where I can sneak those out again.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I think it is probably better to stop talking about a “solution” to climate change, and start talking in terms of our reaction to it.
    Because, its pretty much here.

    I think we should also expect that the political reaction to a changing climate will be a lot like the reaction to any resource change like a change to arable land or depletion of an aquifer.
    That is, the political battles over whose interests are protected and whose are not, will be every bit as messy and irrational as any other.

    For example, the Northwest Passage is no longer a myth, but a reality. And the possibility of mining the Artic seabed is no longer science fiction but a reality. Who gets the bounty that can be extracted from it? What are we willing to do to protect our interests and claims?

    Low lying areas like Miami and the outer Carolina banks are becoming economically unsustainable as they are regularly ravaged by flooding and storms. Small towns in the West are dying as the aquifers underneath them make farming unfeasible. Large swaths of timberland in the West are threatened by bark beetles and fire prompted by a warmer climate.
    Who pays for real estate losses? Should the taxpayers continue to extend emergency relief to these areas?

    Notice how these decisions are political in nature and pit various interests groups against each other. Which means I don’t expect any political reaction will necessarily be rational or conform to any sort of scientific premise.

    We might for example, continue to subsidy beachfront homes, rebuilding them at taxpayer expense year after year, but let small towns dry up and die because well, that’s where the votes fall.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I made a huge Excel spreadsheet of a decade’s worth of my local daily temperatures (3652 or so entries), and then added 2 C to each day’s high to see how I’d survive a catastrophically worse climate over a ten year span. It turns out the upcoming artificially hot decade, coming toward the end of the century, will exceed the 1990’s high temperature mark for three afternoons, probably ten hours in total.

      So I’ve got ten episodes of Stargate SG-1 season 4 that I plan to binge watch in my air conditioned bedroom, thus completely skipping out on the prophesied collapse of our civilization. The trouble is that there will probably be ten hours worth of better programming between now and the year 2090, or my tastes might change before I’m 130 years old, so my plans may have to be altered.

      Needless to say, this uncertainty keeps me up at night. Would I be better off watching Downton Abbey, Weeds, Westworld, or The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina? What if I get married in the next 80 years and my wife wants to decide what we’ll watch? What if, by then, we have a great grandchild staying over who wants to watch Sponge Bob Squarepants or Bubble Guppies? What if we move to Cincinnati and have to wait 50 or 60 more years for a 2 C increase over the climate I’m used to? Will a DVD even last 150 years? And that’s why I think much of the spending on climate adaption and resilience should focus on long-term digital storage technologies.

      Meanwhile Greta will be sitting out on the patio of a retirement home in Stockholm, where the peak August highs would have surged to 76 F. She’ll be screaming at the staff, claiming the unbearable heat is destroying her existence. They’ll just give her more Valium and wheel the crazy old lady back inside, wondering how anyone could have thought a Nordic ice princess was a good pick for a global warming siren, as opposed to someone from Phoenix or Libya or Ethiopia.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

        Poe’s Law is harsh, but fair.Report

      • Avatar PhilipH in reply to George Turner says:

        what should keep you up at night is changes in temperature and precipitation regimes that are already making it harder to grow wheat, corn and like grains in the bread basket of the US and Europe. What ever else climate change does – and the Pentagon has been planning for over a decade for regional wars based on climate change induced resource scarcity – it will impact our economy through our food supply.

        Sure there are business opportunities in there, but as I note we all seem to collectively prefer screaming at each other about Greta then actually making headway.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to PhilipH says:

          Scary stuff! Back in 1970, before global warming, US corn farmers fed the world by producing 75 bushels per acre, the best in the world. But due to global warming, by 2016 they could only produce 175 bushels per acre. If global warming continues to worsen, at their present rate they might be down to 200 bushels per acre by 2030. In contrast, from the Civil War to WW-II, when we lived in a veritable climate utopia, US farmers could at times even get to 30 bushels per acre, though that was unusual.

          Wheat is similar, with pre-WW-II production of about 15 bushels per acre, falling to about 45 bushels per acre today. Due to that, we’ve recently taken about 30% of the acreage out of production to keep prices from collapsing, a catastrophe which could result in starving farmers, which would of course be blamed on global warming.

          And the trends are worsening as our climate collapses. Just in the last 15 years, US soybean production plummeted from 2.5 billion bushels to 4.5 billion bushels.

          And the warmer it gets, the worse these global problems will become as the vast, underused land areas of North America and Asia become highly productive, creating an arable acreage glut that will require government intervention to control.Report

  7. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I do not like the cult of Gerta. Her fans use her as an indulgence but continue pressing on with their Western Lives after they done penance at a climate protest. She says that climate changed ruined her childhood, yes I realize she is speaking in the collective here, but she had a childhood that many people would be envious of. She got to sail around the world, meet some very famous people, etc. She is like a more impotent version of Joan of Arc for climate change. The solution to climate change is going to be something big, personal, technical, and rather boring. It isn’t going to be a hippie thing.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Some thoughts:

    1. Climate change is a very real and very serious thing. People who shit their pants over Greta Thunberg and/or claim that economics will save us in the end or she will destroy economic growth need to get over themselves. Or they are simply Ok Boomers willing to destroy the next generations;

    2. That being said, I think the whole cult of Greta is kind of overblown too but I have never been a joiner for anything.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Let me expand. I have a feeling that a lot of people take Greta Thunberg seriously but not literally and as I mentioned before listening to her Jeremiad and harangue is kind of like a selling of the indulgences. You get scolded and then go on with your modern life with electricity and cars.Report

  10. Avatar InMD says:

    Wasn’t there an Onion article a few years back about the upcoming release of a new version of Time magazine targeting an adult audience? I feel like that best captures my feelings about the importance of who they name person of the year.

    Re: Thunberg herself all I can say is I’m so sick of emotional appeals, including the ‘from the mouths of babes’ schtick that I pay her no mind. I think we should be pouring resources into the technology and doing what we can to change lifestyle incentives (obviously keeping perspective on what is and isn’t plausible). All of this obviously requires the ability to address the issue like adults, something we as a society seem to lack.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD says:

      I find it hilariously ironic that so many of those so opposed to doing anything about climate change bill themselves as pro business and pro market. There is money to be made in moving ot a more sustainable and equitable future, but here in the States we choose to pi$$ that away on the alter of politics. %00,000 people now work in the solar energy industry, ten times the employment in coal, and we have an administration that keeps working to change emissions policy and trade policy to prop up coal – rather then just letting it die and getting on with a change over. Vesta and Siemens build windmill parts over seas and ship them to the US on expires patents GE licensed decades ago because they didn’t see a US market. Those companies are European, and laughing all the way to Deutsche Bank. And China is the largest manufacturer of solar panels because China makes everything.

      We can make profits becoming a cleaner more sustainable equitable society. Instead we’d rather go around looking down our collective noses at a teenage who has a far better grasp of whats coming then most adults. Shame on us.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Philip H says:

        It seems as though the politics of the subject are overly stuck on the cost and insufficiently interested in the opportunity.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD says:

          of course -because if we start looking at he opportunity – in avoided societal costs, economic gains and not losses, etc this becomes something we can tackle. And thus its no longer a wedge issue. Kind of like how easy access to birth control lowers abortion rates so those wanting to control women’s reproductive and sexual freedom seek to restrict both birthcontrol and abortion.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H says:

        Thing is, there are tons of small companies across the US doing just that, but they don’t get the kind of government support that companies in Europe and China do.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H says:

        There is money to be made in moving ot a more sustainable and equitable future, but here in the States we choose to pi$$ that away on the alter of politics. %00,000 people now work in the solar energy industry, ten times the employment in coal

        I get that coal is bad because of pollution. I’m not disputing that. But if solar power employs ten times as many people to produce less energy than the coal industry, that’s a drawback, not a selling point. Increases in labor productivity—producing the same output with less manpower, or more output with the same manpower—is how economic growth happens and material standards of living improve.

        The idea that if there are two ways to do something, we should prefer the one that takes more labor specifically because it takes more labor is just…Y’all need Jesus Bastiat.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          I’m not making the point hat we should prefer solar from a labor only perspective – though saving Coal has been pitched as a labor economics issue. I’m simply saying that the argument hat we wreck our economy by becoming more sustainable is bupkiss in as much as it ignores the facts on the ground. Solar is more labor intensive in that it takes people to put it on houses and buildings, and you can’t yet outsource that to technology the way mining was done. Thus incentivising the move to solar more rapidly has less economic cost (at least in labor markets) both initially and long term, because there’s already substantial workforce who are getting paid well. There are solar installer training programs at community colleges, etc.

          Its just one example of why trying to avoid the change is not an economically sound idea.Report

  11. If their goal was to give Trump a stroke , I of course approve.Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw says:


    There is a certain strain of left thought that eventually decides the best thing that they can do is cheer on the next generation and hope said next generation fixes the mistakes of the previous ones.

    This is why a lot of left-leaning adults love her. They have no hope of their generation taking any action to fix climate change (which needs fixing). Same with gun control on the Stoneman Douglas kids. So all the energy goes into cheerleading Children’s crusades.Report

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