Anuna De Wever and Greta Thunberg speaking during a protest in Rome in 2019. Daniele COSSU /

November 8, 2021

This is part 2 of a trilogy. The full document can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Dear Youngsters,

Climate alarmists are telling you that the older generation has caused catastrophic global warming (CAGW) by emitting too much CO2. They also led you to believe that if you do not reverse what the “industrial oldies” have brought about, our planet will soon become uninhabitable for people and animals. No time to lose, we are in the middle of a climate crisis!

But is this scaremongering story true? Many prominent scientists tell us that the climate system is one of the most complex systems mankind is trying to understand. There will be many Nobel Prizes awarded before man can make reliable climate predictions that cohere with the past (back casting) and will reliably anticipate the future (forecasting). By the way, do you realize that virtually no one of the tens of thousands of COP26 attendees has any idea about how the Earth’s climate works?

But there is more. The past tells us that your parents and grandparents worked hard to build today’s society with an impressively high standard of living. As a result, you are very privileged. You don’t need to live in a slum, can get an education of your choice, can go on holidays every year, can get life-saving medicine when needed, etc., etc. There are many youngsters in the world who have not had that good fortune. Actually, you are living in the best of times ever to be young on our planet. For you, protesting in Glasgow is a luxury!

Dear youngsters, why protesting against a problem that does not exist? Just adapt!

More CO2 enables future generations to better address global hunger.

Does this mean that the older generation has not made mistakes? Definitely not, they have made many wrong decisions, but undoubtedly the same will happen to you. Hopefully, you will learn from the mistakes of the past and you will do better than ever before. Building on this inspiring challenge, I have a message for all of you who are present at COP26:

  1. Please, don’t act like a parrot. Be critical against the many false prophets who are trying to take advantage of you and set you up against what your parents and grandparents have achieved. The information these prophets tell you is one-sided and misleading. They ruin your future!
  1. Deepen your knowledge on the facts of our climate. By doing so, you will discover that there is no evidence that points to a climate crisis. Yes, climate change exists and is of all times. But don’t worry, the current global warming is gentle (ca. 0.14 0C per decade) and has already made many positive contributions to the quality of life.
  1. Do you know that the difference between the mean annual temperature in cold Finland and warm Singapore is more than 20 degrees? Yet, both these countries are very successful. Declaring current global warming of 0.14 0C per decade a catastrophe is totally out of proportion. Think about that, while you are protesting.
  1. Did your teachers ever tell you that CO2 is a blessing for everything that lives on our planet? Far from being pollution, CO2 is the molecule of life, providing food for plants. Without plants there would be very little animal life and no human life at all. Think about that as well, while you are protesting.
  1. Don’t confuse climate change with environmental pollution! They are two completely different phenomena. Climate change is largely caused by the primordial natural forces and environmental pollution is largely caused by human behavior. Climate change requires adaptation measures and environmental pollution asks for clean production technologies.
  1. Please, don’t waste your life by solving a problem that does not exist. Instead, put all your talents and energy in developing a productive sustainable economy. Only then can you realize enough financial means to increase the standard of living beyond the basic needs. When you go back to the unproductive past and make yourself poor, you are no longer in control of your future!
  1. History shows that living on planet Earth requires adaptation all the time. If you continue to advance science and technology, you generate new capabilities to adapt to climate change, to protect our natural environment, to conquer the universe and to take care of one another. This is the formula for creating a better world.

Finally, for all of you who have been poisoned by fear of things to come, forget the preachers of doom and gloom at COP26; they ruin your future by destroying everything your parents and grandparents have built. Look at the positive times ahead of you, and consider the above challenges as your mission in life.

On behalf of the global CLINTEL community,

Dr. A.J. (Guus) Berkhout, President of CLINTEL
Emeritus Professor of Geophysics
Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Senior member of the Dutch Academy of Engineering (AcTI)