By Frank Rotering | July 6, 2020
NOTE: Parents For Future (PFF) is an organization of parents who are deeply concerned about the impacts of the ecological crisis on their children. It was inspired by Fridays For Future - the organization of youth activists who in 2018 joined Greta Thunberg's school strike movement. Groups with similar aims include Our Kids' Climate, Mothers Rise Up, Mothers Out Front, Parents for Climate, and Parents Against Climate Change. For further information about these and other organizations, see the Centre for Climate Safety.
July 6, 2020
Dear Parents For Future:
Thank you for taking a strong and determined stance to help the world's young people confront climate change and the broader ecological crisis. As you poignantly state, it is agonizing for parents to hand their children and grandchildren a world that is on the verge of collapse. We are indeed responsible for their future, and must therefore "do what it takes" to ensure their health and survival.
Our efforts as concerned parents are crucial because we are in a unique position to help. We share our children's fear and anger about the crisis, and therefore understand the urgent need for a rational response. But, unlike them, we have had sufficient time to gain the knowledge and experience required to determine what this response should be. Thus, although the young must organizationally lead the drive to sustainability, we must be its primary strategists. The following comments are made with this role in mind.
- YOUR CONFIDENCE IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS IS UNWARRANTED
You say that the CoP25 delegates, "... will be negotiating on behalf of us and our children." This is unfortunately not true. These negotiations were mandated by the 1992 UNFCCC treaty, which stipulates that greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations must remain at safe levels. The safe level for CO2 is 350 parts per million (ppm) or less. When the treaty was ratified in 1994 the level was 360 ppm. Instead of falling it then rose rapidly, and is now 416 ppm. Based on the target of net-zero emissions by 2050, this number will continue to rise for 30 more years. This means that the safe-concentrations commitment has been flagrantly violated and the treaty is effectively void. PFF should therefore dismiss the CoP meetings as diversionary theater.
- The IPCC's Goal of Limiting the Global Temperature Rise to 1.5°C is Invalid
Assume your child has hyperthermia - an elevated and possibly fatal body temperature. Would you want doctors to quickly lower this to a safe level, or estimate the fatal level and "pursue efforts" (Paris Agreement) to keep the temperature below this danger point? The IPCC is telling us to choose the latter. PFF should tell the IPCC that this is scientifically absurd and ethically obscene.
- Decarbonization is Inadequate as a Climate Solution
As indicated above, the rational GHG goal is safe concentrations. This will require our species to not only "stop burning fossil fuels" but also remove massive amounts of unsafe GHGs from the atmosphere. Because this will take many decades to complete, solar radiation management (SRM) will be required to minimize the risk of runaway global warming. The conventional portrayals of SRM as a crazy techno-fix are propaganda, and PFF should treat them as such.
- The Capitalist Class is the Primary cause of Climate Inaction
According to your plea, "Powerful vested interests like the coal, oil and gas industries ..." are blocking effective climate action. However, industries and corporations are economic entities that protect their own commercial interests, whereas the capitalist class is a political entity that protects shared corporate interests. Big business can strongly influence society by funding denier groups and the like, but only the capitalist class could initiate the fraudulent UNFCCC/CoP process, establish and legitimize the genocidal IPCC, and compel the media to applaud these travesties. As outlined in my Youth Ecological Manifesto, this catastrophic rule demands revolutionary change.
Underlying several of these missteps is an error that crept in when PFF was founded. Because your organization was inspired by Greta Thunberg, you have embraced her core principle: "listen to the science". The science she listens to, however, is far too broad. It includes not just climate research, which is empirical and thus reliable, but also the framing of the problems and their solutions, which is political and thus suspect. As a result she accepts a carbon budget that was exhausted decades ago, and she supports the pro-growth IPCC while simultaneously opposing "the fairy tales of eternal economic growth".
Thunberg is a brilliant activist and an ethical hero, but her conceptual mistakes illustrate my key point: although the young must drive the activism and spearhead the movements, parents must lead in developing the required strategies. PFF correctly states that we are responsible for our children's future. Based on my analysis, this mature guidance is our most critical responsibility.