The third example of the anti-Thunberg argument comes from Amanda Vanstone. An ex-minister in the Coaltion government. Often thought of as a moderate. This should be the place were we can find a way into discussion about the issues. Sadly, it is not.

She begins.

It’s a measure of where we’ve come to in public debate that I have thought more than twice about writing this piece. The days of civilised debate, of accepting different opinions seem to be disappearing.

None of us likes being yelled at or chastised for our views. The pleasure of exchanging opinions, exploring them and in the process better understanding or modifying our own is one of the hallmarks of a free society.

Vanstone would have been much more persausive here if she had made this comment when the Right started its head kicking of everyone who disagreed with it, in the eighties, or perhaps if she had gently asked her old companion Tony Abbott to use a little politeness everynow and again. But its only nowadays that its a problem, when people speak back to the right in the same way that they are spoken to…. But we can perhaps hope that she is going to engage in discussion rather than abuse.

The Greta Thunberg circus has become a complete farce.

That is a really good example of exchanging opinions and exploring them. Beautifully done.

Then follows a passage about Thunberg travelling by emissions free boat is “first-world fake melodrama at its best”. Ok we have quickly gone past expecting civilised debate, and lack of being chastised, but its interesting, how the soon the idea can be discarded, after it is brought up.

We could get the idea from the generally virtue signalling right wing social injustice warriors (see what I did there?) that whatever Thunberg did to produce her message would have been inadequate – unless nobody had heard about it. Then it could be bypassed without comment. Travelled by plane, used Skype all of these would have shown her hypocracy because of the emissions involved, just as not producing emissions was not enough.

It’s a personal choice but I don’t think telling people they’ll never be forgiven, berating them with “how dare you”, does much to bring people on board.

Neither does the kind of language that Vanstone uses. However, Thunberg’s short message, less I believe than 500 words was to the point. If leaders do not do something, when the problem is as clear as it is, how can they be forgiven, or praised? They may want praise for ignoring the problems, but that does not mean they will get it from everybody. And the short speech has certainly provoked a lot of dismisal.

Usually it has the opposite effect. It’s just another sad example of serious and complex political issues being reduced to “I’m right and you’re an idiot”. That kind of discourse just pollutes the town square. It’s fractious and shuts others out. It is toxic to democratic debate.

Exactly what Vanstone is doing. She is so good at this.

The whole trip, the hype and the expense was one big media circus.

Cliche after cliche about why people should not listen to Thunberg. No dealing with her arguments, no civilised exchange. And of course no lack of chastisement. Tut!

Given the over-dramatisation of global warming by some, including Thunberg, we now have a generation of children worried about being burnt to a crisp.

Do we have any evidence presented that climate change effects are being Over-dramatised? No, not necessary clearly. Even if scientists keep saying that the effects are proceeding more rapidly than the official predictions. And should people be relaxed about their ecologies and futures being destroyed? Really? Tell that to farmers.

Out of all the 16-year-olds in the world, why is it that just one features in the media worldwide? There are other kids who care as much, are just as articulate, just as concerned. If you think the world focussing on this one young girl was just some happy accident you are plugged into a faulty socket.

Gently plugging into the conspiracy theory socket here. All this concern is media manipulation. Probably Soros lurks in the background, with his evil tendrils everywhere..

Hmm, we have just had right wing speakers, criticising and dimsissing all these intelligent, caring kids who went on strike, and often refusing to engage in polite discussion with them as well. So we don’t have to look at what happens to one 16-year-old to know what will happen, but we get the idea. Every concerned, caring kid has to worry about retaliation for being bold enough to suggest that people should do something.

I’ve seen the photo of her outside her school on her first climate strike. Posed to draw on the haunting concept of the lonely outsider who (surprise, surprise) becomes the involuntary hero. Who took that photo and, more importantly, why?

Yes it is deeply suspicious that in this age of everyone having mobile phone cameras that anyone (including her parents, teachers or school-friends) would take a photo of her. It must have been planned malevolance, that is the only possible explanation.

Now we have kids all over the world skipping school for the day to show how much they care.

Yes indeed we have another example of Vanstone engaging in civilised debate with all these “kids skipping school”. Evil disobedient creatures that they are.

I’d be more impressed if they gave up their free time to make their statement.

Plenty of them probably have, and have been ignored.

Even more impressive would be if they organised to collectively make a lasting statement by doing something useful. If everyone who skipped school had planted a tree in pre-agreed areas that needed revegetating, that would have made an impressive statement.

Yes they could have been praised and ignored. They could have been more quiet Australians who agree with the Government being ecologically destructive. They would have suggested that planting trees was enough, and we could just ignore the wholesale destruction going on. It would have been much more comfortable for those who don’t care.

If all the protesters focussed on a few areas, whole suburbs could be made better places in which to live. All it would take is commitment and elbow grease. Just skipping school gives you no skin in the game.

Yes, it would be nice if our government did even that much to lead by example, but hey the Coalition likes land-clearing, so we don’t expect leadership, and we are not disappointed. That everyone else should do something, is always a good argument.

Perhaps the Australian protesting kids could all decide to not own a car and to use public transport instead. At home they could not use air conditioning: my generation grew up without it.

Individually they could give up all devices, maybe bar a simple phone and use a shared family tablet or computer.

Careful, she is calling for the end of comsumerism.

Would these striking students be able to pass a simple test on the positive things both sides of politics have done in Australia? Don’t hold your breath.

Certainly it would be hard to pass a test on the positive things that the Coalition have done in the last 10 years, but note the spurious sign of even-handedness.

Everyone can and should play their part. More to the point is how globally we address this. The plain fact is that China and the US produce more than 40 per cent of world emissions followed by India and Russia. The top 15 countries produce more than 70 per cent of emissions. Unless these countries change their ways what we do will make little difference.

Indeed and Australia is one of the top 15 to 20 countries in terms of total CO2 emissions depending on your source (closer to the top if you factor in emissions from coal and gas exports) and is extremely close to the top in terms of emissions per capita. And its getting bigger. We can’t ignore Australia. But she seems to imply we can. Odd. Or is this another example of how it is really everyone else’s problem and we don’t have to do anything?

That’s not a reason to shrug our shoulders and walk away. Not at all. But it does provide some perspective. Did our school protesters think that Xi Jinping, or Modi or Putin gave a damn about their protest? Did they even think about that?

I don’t know, of course, I’m sure some people did think about it. But they did not expect Xi, Modi or Putin to listen. These people are not going to listen to people from Australia. But then Scott Morrison did decide to lecture China on its emissions, while increasing those in his domain. Did he expect China to listen? and he apparently decided not to lecture President Trump who is going out of his way to increase emissions. But Morrison and Trump’s efforts to make things worse will not be commented upon, in an article which is asking us to dismiss Thunberg and student strikers.

Greta Thunberg seemed angered at the presence of President Trump arriving at the UN. She may have just been realising the missed opportunity to get more headlines by berating him.

Anyone who is concerned about emissions is likely to be angry about Trump’s continual efforts to boost them. But it was Trump and his followers who were snarky about Thunberg, not the other way around… The idea that Thunberg is realising a missed opportunity in that moment, is really showing how Vanstone’s mind works, not Thunberg’s. Thunberg could have run after him, if she had wanted, but she didn’t…. Absence of action is somehow proof of intent?

That’s what she does. People have grown tired of that trick.

Hopefully people will get tired of the trick of pretending to be interested in debate while slagging off at people who think there is a problem….

Its depressing. Were any of these three anti-Thunberg writers remotely interested in an opening for discussion? Not as far as I can see. They seemed to be just looking for excuses to put her down, and put concern about climate change down.

That is all.