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IPFS News Link • Climate Change

A Generation Lost To Climate Anxiety

•, by David Zaruk

This reckless alarmism, saturated across the mainstream media and endlessly amplified by it, has had profound societal consequences. It has both distorted public understanding of the massive benefits the carbon economy makes possible and grossly exaggerated the risks of extreme events it allegedly makes more likely. 

As a result it has rendered reasonable debate on climate policy impossible, even as it has given cynical politicians an easy scapegoat for every social ill, drawing attention away from regulatory and institutional failures and laying blame instead at the feet of fossil fuel companies and other evil "emitters." 

Perhaps most perniciously, as Nordhaus details, the doomsday prophesying of climate extremists has created hardened skeptics on one side who are increasingly suspicious of all public "expertise", while at the same time infecting true believers on the other side with a crippling, pathological fatalism that has come to be referred to as "climate anxiety."

Climate Anxiety

If there's any flaw in Nordhaus' damning and comprehensive analysis it's that he undersells just how much damage the advent of "climate anxiety" has done already—and how much more it's likely to do in years to come.

Yes, there's the obvious cases of obnoxious and lawbreaking behavior, from climate iconoclasts defacing priceless works of art, to interrupting Broadway shows and sporting events, to gluing themselves to buses and holding up traffic on major thoroughfares.

But it runs much deeper than that.

Consider recent headlines: From Vox: "What to do when you're completely overwhelmed by climate anxiety." From The Guardian: "Climate anxiety adds to teenagers' fears." And the New York Times: "How Climate Change is Changing Therapy." And perhaps most depressing of all, from the BBC: "Climate anxiety: 'I don't want to burden the world with my child." The trend is so wide now that they have given it a name: birth strike.