Next to outright physical child abuse, is there anything worse than harming a child’s psyche by telling him or her, falsely, that the world is soon coming to an end?

Must children be made to feel guilty for supposedly harming the planet by eating red meat, drinking from a plastic bottle, tossing a piece of paper in the garbage (not recycling), or leaving the lights on?

The recent climate change rallies at the United Nations and in Washington, D.C., along with the “climate strike” where hundreds of thousands of students skipped school to protest, should be the final convincing evidence of adults exploiting and frightening young people for their own adult political power.

It has gotten so bad, more children are being treated for “eco-anxiety” because adults—politicians, parents, teachers and TV talking-heads—keep parroting the idea of climate catastrophe in 30 years; and that we are passing the “point of no return” in 12 years or fewer.

The American Psychological Association studied the “mental health impact” of climate change, which has “shown to elevate hostility and interpersonal and intergroup aggression.” Indeed, plenty of hostility and aggression has been on display recently over an extremely skewed understanding of climate change.

The most obvious pursuit of political power is the presidential race for 2020. There are certainly plenty of issues for a presidential candidate from either political party to debate; instead, the campaign has become a theater of the absurd.

It is now dogma in the Democratic Party that the world faces an “existential threat” due to climate change, and that our children are at risk. Every one of its presidential candidates use this vocabulary, while they demand a government mandated reordering of the economy and our lifestyles—including our diets—to “address climate change” (yet with no guarantee any of their policies would fix it).

It has gotten so obsessive and ridiculous, that the last presidential debate had them discussing banning plastic straws and condemning consumption of red meat.

It cannot be said enough about the lack of scientific discussion in any of these political debates and cable news shows, much less the recent UN protests.

One would think that if curbing carbon emissions was so vital and immediate, every climate alarmist would demand the expansion of carbon-free nuclear power, at least until “renewable” energy sources from wind and solar can be made workable on a large scale.  But apart from an obscure presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, no one of any prominence on the alarmist side is pro-nuclear energy since the so-called environmentalists oppose that, too.

The most sensational example of the exploitation of children by the power-hungry is 16-year old Greta Thunberg, now famous for her climate change tirade against the United Nations for “failing” to act, and her sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in an emissions free yacht (that resulted in more carbon emission, not less).

With all her news making ability, including gracing the cover of Gentlemen’s Quarterly as the “Game Changer of the Year,” young Miss Thunberg has not uttered any scientific fact on the climate; rather, she’s skillfully read the script given to her by adults with an agenda.

This is no criticism of the Swedish teen. Rather, Greta Thunberg is the poster child for shameless exploitation, not climate change.  As result, she’s a very unhappy, acrimonious teenager.  She is a victim.

She and millions of children should be told both sides of the climate debate—beginning with the realty that there are two sides. Young people further should understand that so much of the climate change discussion is not science, but is a political means to the larger goal of many politicians and activists for much bigger government and control over society; i.e., it’s not primarily about altering the climate trajectory.

In sum, children should be educated about the climate and the environment, not exploited or lied to for political purposes using one-sided claims and doomsday scare-tactics.


  • CFACT Ed

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  • Peter Murphy

    Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: