Greta Thunberg and the Wounded Man-Children

August 29, 2019

I’ve made clear the connection between climate denial and racism many times.
I’ve also mentioned misogyny, which is more in evidence this week with the arrival of Greta Thunberg in New York.

Seems to be triggering a lot of doughy old men.

One of these days, further research will confirm the connection to faulty toilet training as well.

Yeah, you heard me. If you’re a climate denier, you’re probably a psychological mess in a lot of ways. Get help for God’s sake so we can get on with it.

New Republic:

Climate skeptic Bjørn Lomborg has built his global brand on keeping his cool. “Cool it,” his best-selling book told those worried about the warming planet. For some reason, however, he seems to have difficulty sticking to the blasé tone when it comes to a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden.

Lomborg has repeatedly mocked and criticized Greta Thunberg, the prominent young activist who has been sailing across the Atlantic to attend the UN’s Youth Climate Summit and other meetings in the U.S. In June, he tweeted out a cartoon that implied Greta was only useful to climate activists because being young made her unassailable—in four years, it joked, she’d be replaced with someone younger still. Earlier in the year, he’d asked why the World Economic Forum was listening to her at all, and approvingly shared a Quillette article which called Thunberg a fanatic and “absolutist” and which argued adults had a duty to correct her childlike naiveté.
And Lomborg’s on the more civil end of Thunberg’s critics. In April, while tweeting that her policies were “unrealistic” and “costly,” he added that, “of course, she should be treated respectfully, just like all participants in the climate debate.” Several of his followers didn’t seem to care for the caveat, attacking Thunberg with comments about her age and mental health in replies.
As Thunberg approached America, she was followed by a tsunami of male rage. On her first day of sailing, a multi-millionaire Brexit activist tweeted that he wished a freak accident would destroy her boat. A conservative Australian columnist called her a “deeply disturbed messiah of the global warming movement,” while the British far-right activist David Vance attacked the “sheer petulance of this arrogant child.”

In the U.S., former Trump staffer Steve Milloy recently called Thunberg a “teenage puppet,” and claimed that “the world laughs at this Greta charade,” while a widely shared far-right meme showed Trump tipping The Statue of Liberty to crush her boat. We can expect a surge of similar attacks in the U.S. as she arrives in New York this week.

While these examples might feel like mere coincidence to some, the idea that white men would lead the attacks on Greta Thunberg is consistent with a growing body of research linking gender reactionaries to climate-denialism—some of the research coming from Thunberg’s own country. Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, which recently launched the world’s first academic research center to study climate denialism, have for years been examining a link between climate deniers and the anti-feminist far-right.
In 2014, Jonas Anshelm and Martin Hultman of Chalmers published a paper analyzing the language of a focus group of climate skeptics. The common themes in the group, they said, were striking: “for climate skeptics … it was not the environment that was threatened, it was a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity.” 
The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, Hultman told me—an identity they perceive to be under threat from all sides. Besieged, as they see it, both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another.

Womb with a view

“There is a package of values and behaviors connected to a form of masculinity that I call ‘industrial breadwinner masculinity.’ They see the world as separated between humans and nature. They believe humans are obliged to use nature and its resources to make products out of them. And they have a risk perception that nature will tolerate all types of waste. It’s a risk perception that doesn’t think of nature as vulnerable and as something that is possible to be destroyed. For them, economic growth is more important than the environment” Hultman told Deutsche Welle last year.

The corollary to this is that climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized—or viewed as “oppositional to assumed entitlements of masculine primacy,” Hultman and fellow researcher Paul Pulé wrote in another paper.
These findings align with similar ones in the United States, where there is a massive gender gap in views on climate change, and many men perceive climate activism as inherently feminine, according to research published in 2017. “In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female,” marketing professors Aaron R. Brough and James E.B. Wilkie explained at Scientific American. “In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment,” they write.
In the past year, young women such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and Thunberg in Europe have become the global faces of climate activism, often with tremendous political impact. In the United States, Ocasio-Cortez has helped transform what was once considered a bit of fringe rhetoric—the Green New Deal—into a topic of regular conversation. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in a recent poll, one out of three Germans said that Thunberg has changed their views on climate change.

The rise of Thunberg and Ocasio-Cortez has generated a predictable backlash among conservative men. In the U.S., Ocasio-Cortez has become an obsession on right-wing media. Fox News mentioned her an average of 76 times a day during her first month in Congress. Now, Greta Thunberg is becoming a similar target for European nationalists. In Germany, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland party seems to have coordinated their attacks on Thunberg with the right-wing European Institute for Climate and Energy think tank.

Climate change used to be a bipartisan concern, the first Bush senior presidency famously promising to tackle global warming. But as conservative male mockery of Thunberg and others shows, climate politics has quickly become the next big battle in the culture war—on a global scale.
As conservative parties become increasingly tied to nationalism, and misogynist rhetoric dominates the far-right, Hultman and his fellow researchers at Chalmers University worry that the ties between climate skeptics and misogyny will strengthen. What was once a practical problem, with general agreement on the facts, has become a matter of identity. And fear of change is powerful motivation.


14 Responses to “Greta Thunberg and the Wounded Man-Children”

  1. morpheusonacid Says:

    Greta wants us to understand the science and that includes you. It’s quite simple really. The earth’s surface is 70% so just consider the thermal capacity of air and water. Water holds about 3300 times the thermal energy as the same volume of air at the same temperature. Now think of a cubic metre of each with a shared surface with no heat loss from the other surface. If the atmosphere heats the surface, which it does not, it isn’t difficult to work out the temperature of the air needed to raise the temperature of the water by 2C. It will never happen. Now consider the nonsense that you believe which is that only human released CO2 is causing the heating of the oceans. This is only 0.01% of the atmosphere. What temperature would that have to reach to heat the oceans by 2C. Melting ice needs even more energy from the atmosphere to add the latent heat to make it change state. Human caused climate change is a fraud. Now fools like you worship at the feet of the new messiah Greta. God help us!

    • dumboldguy Says:

      This sounds very much like another denier moron who used to frequent Crock with similar nonsense—-can’t reval the name—-CRS at my age.. Was he banned and has he reappeared under a new handle?

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Don’t take it personally that a 16 year old chick is more intelligent than you. After all you are an idiot.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      First, we know that most of the heat has gone into the ocean, which explains the rate of melt of marine-terminating glaciers being much higher than originally forecast. Other signs that the oceans have taken up a lot of heat, besides the wonderful network of Argo floats, is the death of large portions of the marine and arctic food chain, as key food sources have migrated to cooler water.

      If the atmosphere heats the surface, which it does not, it isn’t difficult to work out the temperature of the air needed to raise the temperature of the water by 2C. [emphasis mine]

      Hello? Not only do we have droughts, we have flash droughts. Evapotranspiration of plants and soils under conditions that are hot enough and dry enough means faster water loss, and hotter surface conditions. Heated ground produces thermals, which remove water vapor even more quickly. While the soil retains any water, evaporative cooling keeps it from heating too much. Once the soil dries, the surface heats up faster. Texas lost tens of millions of trees to its 2011 drought, and often the clay-rich surfaces are baked so hard that the first rain runs off in a sheet flood rather than soaking in.

      You have trouble understanding that 400ppm CO2 can block significantly more escaping infrared radiation than 180ppm: You can block visible light flow through water by adding a mere forty ppm of ink. The behavior and warming effects of greenhouse gases can be reproduced in laboratories.

      It doesn’t matter if the heat might not propagate to a meter below ground, because we live and grow food on the surface.

  2. grindupbaker Says:

    I think Trump has had some work done. I’m thinking of getting some false teeth to enhance my chiselled jaw and so’s I can eat peanut brittle.

  3. Sir Charles Says:

    At the end they’re nothing but child molesters.

  4. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Corporal bone spurs!

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I prefer Cadet bone spurs.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        At least corporal hitler fought for his country.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          And Hitler was wounded, and was given some medals. Cadet Bone Spurs has a lot to live up to. He will never be wounded (except maybe for getting a paper cut unwrapping a Big Mac) or given any medals, but maybe he can still match Hitler in turning a country fascist and getting it into a war. Stay tuned.

  5. Ann Says:

    Thanks, Peter. I hadn’t considered the obvious-when-I-think-about-it connection between misogyny and deniers. I have wondered for a long time about what the underlying motivation in women-bashing males is. I knew it was fear of some kind, but am still not sure, at root, what the fear is. As was said at the end of the last article, it must be fear of losing their identity. Alongside my bewilderment at them and my utter frustration at their blindness, now I feel a sense of pity.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Save the pity for their victims. Even though to some extent they can’t help it, tjhey make little effort to overcome the inbred deficits outlined in BRAIN. It’s time to again remind all Crockers of that great book that does much to explain how and why Repugnants behave the way they do.

      THE REPUBLICAN BRAIN: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality
      by Chris Mooney, Wiley, 2012 This book is jaw-dropping in its revelations.

      This book follows on the heels of Mooney’s earlier THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON SCIENCE, Basic Books, 2005 (A NYT best-seller)

  6. Roger Ailes conceived a great business opportunity. About half of Americans are “conservatives”. The MSM was not delivering the stories that the coalescing right-wing wanted to believe. Ailes ignored journalistic standards to provide feel-right propaganda. Great inside baseball, although we know the score.

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