Some climate change hawks are questioning whether the brand of outraged activism trademarked by newly minted Time “Person of the Year” Greta Thunberg will prove effective in inspiring policy to curb emissions.
“I’m not sure that Time magazine elevating her further is helpful in achieving our shared goal of mitigating the most harmful effects of climate change,” said Shane Skelton, who runs the consulting group S2C Pacific.
“I admire her passion and the lengths she’s gone to in promoting what is a very important cause,” said Skelton, a former energy and climate policy aide to former House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he questioned whether Thunberg’s activism has produced “real-world impact.”
If the point of activism is to generate attention to a cause, no one can deny Thunberg’s effectiveness, climate hawks say.
However, “translating moral outrage into policy and engineering is a long and uneven process,” said Joseph Majkut, a climate scientist at the right-leaning Niskanen Center.
“I don’t have any qualms with Greta’s place in the climate debate,” Majkut said. “She doesn’t mince words when she calls inaction on climate change a moral outrage. As for her influence on climate action, the jury is out.”