TV panellist’s snide swipe at Greta


Teenage activist Greta Thunberg was back in the spotlight overnight after her Nobel Peace Prize "snub", leading a climate protest in the United States.

"It is we young people and future generations who are going to suffer the most from climate and ecological crises," Ms Thunberg told the crowd in Denver.

"It should not be up to us to take the responsibility, but since the leaders are behaving like children, then we have no other choice.

"The world is waking up and we are the change. That change is coming whether you like it or not."

The 16-year-old Swede reached a new level of fame with her appearance at the United Nations last month.

She has become an inspiration for climate change activists - and a focal point for their critics.

One of those critics is conservative columnist Gerard Henderson.

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Gerard Henderson on Insiders today. Picture: ABC
Gerard Henderson on Insiders today. Picture: ABC

Henderson was one of the panellists on the ABC's Insiders program today.

At the end of the show, host Fran Kelly asked each member of the panel for their parting thoughts. Henderson took the opportunity to take a shot at Ms Thunberg.

He focused on her "failure" to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali on Friday.

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"I am not surprised that Greta Thunberg failed to win the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. After all, international bureaucrats of the kind that judge these prizes and hang around the UN and Nobel Prize places are heavily into flying. Heavily into flying," Henderson said.

"And the idea that you would give an award to someone who is heavily into flight-shaming, as she is, is most unlikely. So I'm not surprised. I don't think she'll win any award that affects the right of international figures to fly around the world telling us all to reduce our emissions."

To put it more succinctly, Henderson thinks the Nobel judges snubbed Ms Thunberg because she critcises people who fly a lot.

"I think it might have been more to do with the fact that she was 16. It is probably a little early in her career," host Fran Kelly quipped.

There were some quips from viewers on Twitter as well - snarky tweets about Insiders are something of a Sunday tradition - but few of them were polite enough to publish.

For the record, Mr Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, within months of coming to office last year, to end Ethiopia's conflict with Eritrea.

He signed a "Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship" with his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki, welcomed home once-banned opposition groups, and shocked observers by releasing tens of thousands of prisoners.

In other words, he was a deserving winner.

Betting agencies had tipped Ms Thunberg as the favourite for the prize among 301 nominees. She had already received Amnesty International's top honour and the Right Livelihood Award, which is sometimes nicknamed the "alternative Nobel".

Ms Thunberg's climate activism started with her sitting alone in front of Sweden's parliament. Just over a year later, she had galvanised millions of young people around the world to take part in public protests pushing for action.

At the United Nations last month, she delivered a blunt and impassioned message to world leaders.

"How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you," Ms Thunberg said.

"For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

"You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all the future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.

"We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not."

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