The New York Times called it a “news analysis,” but its “take” looks to have come right out of a brochure for a far-left group.
“This is the world we live in: Punishing heat waves, catastrophic floods, huge fires and climate conditions so uncertain that children took to the streets en masse in global protests to demand action,” wrote Somini Sengupta in the lead to “Climate Protesters and World Leaders: Same Planet, Different Worlds,” in Monday’s New York Times.
“But this is also the world we live in: A pantheon of world leaders who have deep ties to the industries that are the biggest sources of planet-warming emissions, are hostile to protests, or use climate science denial to score political points.”
The piece, an advance story about the United Nations General Assembly meeting opening today with a climate event the U.S., the U.K., Japan and other major economies have chosen to ignore, goes on:
“The stark contrast comes at a time when governments face a challenge of a kind they have not seen since the beginning of the industrial era. In order to avert the worst effects of climate change, they must rebuild the engine of the global economy – to quickly get out of fossil fuels, the energy source that the system is based upon – because they failed to take steps decades ago when scientists warned they should.”
In fact, the results of those scientific predictions provide a case study in why it was right not to respond to them decades ago. On the first Earth Day, in 1970, experts predicted the globe would be 11 degrees cooler by 2000, civilization would end by 1985, the world would run out of oil by 2000, life-expectancy would drop into the low-40s by 1980 and pollution would be so bad childbearing would be illegal, gas masks would be required and fish would be dead from suffocation.
The source of the urgency of acting on climate change now is yet another report predicting “that if emissions continue to rise at their current pace, by 2040, the world could face inundated coastlines, intensifying droughts and food insecurity. Basically, a catastrophe,” Sengupta writes.
She told readers not to expect much from the summit. Not only is it being ignored by the world’s major economies, Antonio Guterrez, secretary general of the United Nations, says the focus will be on plans to help the world’s most vulnerable cope with the fallout of global warming rather than eliminating warming itself.
“If anything,” she wrote, “the Monday summit meeting, coming on the heels of huge youth protests worldwide, showed the vast difference between the urgency of climate action and the limits of diplomacy.”
These protests on Friday, which drew protesters numbering in the hundreds of thousands to events all over the world, represented a break point for Sengupta. “Never has the modern world witnessed a climate protest so large and wide, spanning societies rich and poor, tied together by a sense of rage,” she wrote. “’Climate emergency now,’ read banners in several countries.”
Sangupta, without irony, pointed to the problem for the green movement going forward – its many predictions of dire consequences have not come true, and no viable energy alternative has emerged.
“Whatever comes out of the Monday summit meeting may well seem lackluster to those out on the streets – the generation that will feel the intensifying impacts of climate change,” she wrote. “That’s the challenge facing Mr. Guterres, who has made climate action one of the top priorities for the world body at a time when several powerful leaders have dismissed the science.
“’It’s a pretty exquisite balancing act to ally with Greta Thunberg and Xi Jinping to box in Donald Trump,’ said Richard Gowan, who follows the United Nations for the International Crisis Group. ‘Let’s see if he can do it.’”