Greta Thunberg's controversial protest

With her urgent appeals for climate protection Greta Thunberg has become an international figurehead. But as well as applause the 16-year-old has also been the target of hate comments and claims that she is being exploited by adults for political purposes. In a Facebook post she has rejected this criticism, but Europe's commentators are still divided about the climate activist's achievements.

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Contrepoints (FR) /

Unacceptable instrumentalising

Greta Thunberg said in Davos that she would like to meet oil industry representatives and accuse them of crimes against humanity in person. Author Drieu Dodefridi is appalled by the way the media has seized on this remark. He writes in Contrepoints:

“A 15-year-old child may not marry, buy real estate, vote or take part in most of the legal acts of daily life. But she's supposed to be competent to publicly pass judgement on crimes against humanity? When a child expresses such maledictions and makes such accusations - crimes, criminals! - which basically amount to hate speech, seizing on her words and exploiting them exceeds the limits of what is acceptable in a democracy and under the rule of law. Writing so fanatically about childhood is abuse in itself.”

Echo24 (CZ) /

Greta caters to cheap emotions

Echo 24 explains why Greta Thunberg has become the poster girl of climate protection:

“She has long since become a famous figure in the fight against the lax approach to environmental problems. ... The travels around the world of a 16-year-old girl who - in her own words - is autistic and sees things in black and white can, however, at best satisfy the public's need to celebrate its own emotions. Greta Thunberg's immaturity is not her disadvantage. She appeals to a society that is itself immature and dependent on a daily flood of cheap emotions.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Young activists deserve to be heard

The Guardian on the other hand argues that no one should be ignored because of their age:

“Young people have a distinctive and valuable perspective. They deserve to be heard. … There are sensible questions to be asked about the influence exerted by parents and other adults on children professing strong opinions. But we should respect and welcome efforts by children and teenagers to make their voices heard and influence decision-making. After all, they will be living with the consequences for longer than the rest of us. … If children want to take to the streets and demand tougher action to avert disaster, who can blame them?”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Schoolgirl being instrumentalised

The think tank Fores, which is financed by the Center Party, went too far in presenting Greta Thuber as a climate expert, Göteborgs-Posten believes:

“It's fantastic when young people take an interest in important issues. But children are not oracles or redeemers to be crowned and followed. They are vulnerable and susceptible, precisely because they're children. And they have a right to dignity and integrity. That's true regardless of how justified their views are and however much they want to be in the limelight, and irrespective of how good the cause they stand for is. If Fores gives this platform to a 15-year-old it will only strip the debate of its depth. What's more, the child is being used in an unhealthy, unethical manner.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Children speak the truth when others fail to

The laurels with which Greta Thunberg is being decorated should be accepted with serenity, Aftonbladet recommends:

“It's common knowledge that children and drunks speak the truth. Seldom was this saying more accurate than in the case of Greta Thunberg. Her message is clear: rich countries like Sweden must reduce their emissions by at least 15 percent per year for the two-percent target to be reached. .. Limhamn Church wrote with a wink on Twitter that Jesus has appointed Greta Thunberg as his successor. Of course some saw that as inappropriate and even blasphemous. Apparently the world not only has a problem with an accelerated climate crisis but also with a lack of humour - which is almost as worrying.”