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Greta Thunberg returned to global attention yesterday at the launch of the week of climate action in New York, while the groups that deny global warming are ready to fight back with an alleged European Declaration, signed by 400 scientists and professionals, ready to ensure that "there is no weather emergency."
Tens of thousands of students seconded on Friday around the world the initiative of the 16-year-old Swedish girl, founder of Fridays for Future, in a "global strike" that aims to mark a milestone in climate change activism. Outside the criticism received in recent weeks, after crossing the Atlantic in a zero-emission sailboat (sponsored by Pierre Casiraghi), Greta Thunberg has decided to challenge his detractors and use his "super powers" (Asperger's syndrome) to continue penetrating public opinion.
After his intervention in the US Congress and his meeting with former President Barack Obama, Thunberg will give a speech on September 23 at the UN , at the express request of Secretary General António Guterres, who has asked young people to pressure their governments To accelerate the changes . "The numbers [of the protests] are incredible," he told AFP yesterday. "When you see the images, it's hard to believe. I hope it is a turning point for society."
New York, which hosts the Climate Summit, will become the epicenter of "climate action" for a week, which will be spread across 156 countries until September 27.
Greta Thunberg has in the meantime become a favorite target of a campaign orchestrated by a network of think tanks of climate deniers, linked to the fossil fuel industry and conservative parties on both sides of the Atlantic. The objective is what public relations experts know as character assassination : a systematic campaign of defamation to achieve "media murder" (like the one launched at the time against Al Gore).
'Puppet of green corporatism'
Thunberg has been denounced as a "puppet of green corporatism" (for his relationship with the entrepreneur Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of the platform 'We do not have time', who was looking for "new faces" to incorporate into his cause and could be the maximum instigator of his school protest). He has been called "prophet in shorts" (by the candidate of the French conservative party Los Republicanos, Julien Aubert). And he has finally deserved all kinds of personal attacks, from "deeply disturbed girl" (Andrew Bolt in Australian News Corp ) to "girl with apocalyptic dread in her eyes" (Brendan ONeill on the Spiked website).
" When the typical group of adult, well-off and reactionary men throw themselves like birds of prey on a 16-year-old girl with Asperger, it is when you know that something fat must be happening, " George Monbiot, author of Heat, tells EL MUNDO He has just shot a documentary about climate change solutions with Greta Thunberg.
"Greta is, first and foremost, the voice of his generation, and he has known how to endure the orchestrated offensive against him with great dignity," Monbiot says. Fridays for Future and the Extinction Rebellion group have managed to get people out of resignation and take climate activism to a new dimension. A little over a year ago, I had practically lost all hope. But the response we had been waiting for decades is beginning to curdle, thanks to the impulse of a new generation of activists. "
Behind the anti-Greta campaign, Monbiot believes that the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), linked to the large multinational fossil fuel multinationals until its dismantling in 2002 after disseminating skepticism about climate change. " The deniers have not disappeared, but have changed their skin and message to try to stop the energy and economic transition," warns the British author and activist.
In fact, one of the accusations launched against Greta Thunberg is his contribution "to the greening of Western economies" (and in particular that of his country, which is preparing "the greatest bonanza of government contracts in history"). Through the ineffable Ingmar Rentzhog, he is reproached for having ties with former Social Democratic Minister Kristina Persson, with businessman Petter Skogar or with Vice President of Rome club Anders Wijkman, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times , taking over from ultraconservative media as media.de in Germany or the Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche .
'Guru of the apocalypse'
The anti-Greta campaign was sponsored from the beginning of the year by ultra-right groups such as Alternative for Germany or the National Association of Marine Le Pen, which boycotted its appearance in the French Parliament as a "guru of the apocalypse." In the United Kingdom, the ultraconservative Arron Banks - linked to Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party - caused stupor when he sent his strenuous message to the Swedish girl at the beginning of his crossing of the Atlantic: "Strange accidents happen on the yachts."
An investigation sponsored by DeSmogBlog (founded by former Canadian public relations James Hoggan) has revealed links between more than a hundred associations and think tanks in the new wave of denialism. The last one, the so-called Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL), was launched in April in the Netherlands by the tycoon Niek Sandmann. Another of the groups especially active in the anti-Greta campaign has been the Global Warming Policy Foundation, created by British ultraconservative and Lord Nigel Lawson, a supporter of the hard Brexit and promoter of the Leave Means Leave campaign.
On the other side of the Atlantic, climate denial is championed by the Cato Institute, the Heartland Institute or the Committe for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), where they write among others the "skeptical" meteorologist Joe Bastardi and the journalist Marc Morano, who recently warned that Greta Thunberg is "a bait to catch climate critics."
Another of Greta's most notorious critics, since his arrival in the US, has been Steve Milloy, who works for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CIS), funded by donations from the oil industry and foundations linked to billionaires David and Charles Koch. Its director of energy and environment is none other than Myron Ebell, former director of the Donald Trump transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency, famous for reporting misinformation about climate change.
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