Climate crusaders urge us to Think of the children! But that can be used by anyone to advance any argument under the sun.
Again and again in the climate debate, we’re urged to support a variety of measures for the sake of future generations – for our children and our grandchildren.
But that’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. Think of the children! can be used by anyone to advance any argument under the sun.
The image at the top of this post comes from EnvironmentAmerica.org‘s website. Here are just a few of thousands of other examples:
- a lecture by John Houghton, former co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2001, backed up here; details here)
- former US President Bill Clinton (2006, backup)
- the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Statement of Conscience (2006, backup)
- the Union of Concerned Scientists (2007, backup – see also its website)
- Tim Flannery, currently Australia’s chief climate commissioner (2007 interview, backup)
- Storms of My Grandchildren, 2009 book by activist scientist James Hansen
- Lord David Puttnam, UNICEF UK spokesperson (2009, backup)
- an open letter to President Obama, signed by 21 people (2013, backed up here)
- a Scientific American article that references children and grandchildren more than once (2013, backed up here)
- the US Environmental Protection Agency website (backup)
- the Early Childhood Australia website (backup)
- the David Suzuki Foundation website (backup)
- the Nature Conservancy website (backed up here)
- the website of ForOurGrandchildren.ca, a Canadian non-profit group (backup)
- the Recycling-Revolution.com website (backed up here)
Judith Curry is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In fact, she’s chair of its School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Back in June 2011, she titled one of her blog posts Dueling Grandchildren. The discussion there underscores the fact that a variety of legitimate perspectives exist on climate-related matters.
Claiming that your ideas should be taken seriously because you care about your children and grandchildren is a cheap rhetorical tactic. For one thing, it implies that people who hold a different opinion don’t care about their own kids and grandkids – that they’re unfeeling monsters.
It’s also irrelevant. The strength of your attachment to your offspring doesn’t make you wise or infallible. It has no bearing whatsoever on the accuracy of your perceptions or the rigour of your analysis.
I must admit, I find this perplexing. If you really, truly believed that climate change was an urgent problem – and that the fate of future generations was in your hands – would you not work a teensy bit harder?
Would you really employ lazy, insipid, shabby rhetoric such as this – year after year?