Why we should be wary of ’12 years to climate breakdown’ rhetoric

safe_imageby Myles Allen, University of Oxford

I was invited to speak to a group of teenagers on climate strike in Oxford recently. Like many scientists, I support the strikes, but also find them disturbing. Which I’m sure is the idea.

Today’s teenagers are absolutely right to be up in arms about climate change, and right that they need powerful images to grab people’s attention. Yet some of the slogans being bandied around are genuinely frightening: a colleague recently told me of her 11-year-old coming home in tears after being told that, because of climate change, human civilisation might not survive for her to have children.

The problem is, as soon as scientists speak out against environmental slogans, our words are seized upon by a dwindling band of the usual suspects to dismiss the entire issue. So if I were addressing teenagers on strike, or young people involved in Extinction Rebellion and other groups, or indeed anyone who genuinely wants to understand what is going on, here’s what I’d say. Read the rest of this entry »

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