Should it really be any surprise that not all teenagers are on the same page as Greta Thunberg? According to a poll by Survation, 31 per cent of Britons between the ages of 13 and 17 agree with the statement ‘climate change and its effects are being purposefully overexaggerated.’
I am not entirely sure what is meant by the now commonplace concept of ‘overexaggeration’ – which presumably means something beyond the optimum level of exaggeration – but never mind. I’ll take it as the teenagers themselves presumably interpreted it: that they are not entirely convinced by the rhetoric thrown at them daily, such as ‘the world is on fire’ (Greta Thunberg) or ‘there will be the slaughter, death, and starvation of six billion people’ (Rogar Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion) or ‘we have five years to save the planet’ (the World Wildlife Fund in, er, 2007) and think that the reality is quite likely a lot more modest than that.
But, no, this can’t possibly be a sign of teenagers thinking for themselves and working out that climate activists are spinning apocalyptical visions to promote their cause. Rather it is a sign that our youth have fallen victim to a dark conspiracy to poison their minds with shameless lies. Or so the Center for Countering Digital Hate (‘hate’ in this case seeming to mean anything which diverges from its own left-wing views) seems to think. It says it has analysed 96 YouTube channels which it thinks might be responsible, including ones which have spread such blatant untruths as ‘climate policies are ineffective or flawed’ (they are, as we all know, fully-baked and 100 per cent effective) or that ‘Clean energy technology or biofuels won’t work’ (it is wrong to single out wind and solar energy sources as being intermittent, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, because gas and coal powered stations sometimes need to be taken offline, too).