A girl in a braided blond pigtail dressed down adults Monday from a pulpit at the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit in New York. She minced no words in eviscerating adults for stealing her future by using fossil fuels. If it doesn’t stop, young people “will never forgive you.”

“This is all wrong,” said Greta Thunberg, 16, of Sweden. “I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

“How dare you!”? The more pertinent matter: How dare left-wing adult activists put a young teenager up to such an embarrassing display of ignorance and hyperbole.

Thunberg’s tongue-lashing continued with a reminder that “People are suffering. People are dying…”

That is so true, Ms. Thunberg, and thanks for acknowledging them.

Despite great progress at reducing poverty and hunger, millions of children Greta’s age and younger lack adequate food and water because they live in regions deprived of fossil fuels. A billion people live without electricity. Lacking electricity, natural gas or heating oil, nearly 1.5 billion people cook indoors with coal, animal dung or wood. About 4 million of those people die prematurely from indoor air pollution.

The number of people who die from energy poverty is millions-to-one, at most, against humans killed by climate change.

You see, Ms. Thunberg, without the extraordinary power of fossil fuels, farmers cannot produce enough food. They don’t have tractors to till, plant and harvest on a large scale. They cannot power hydraulic systems that turn dry ground into fertile soil. Without fossil fuels, societies cannot build the wealth required to fund schools.

Without fossil fuels, no society could build or import a windmill or solar panel or any other “zero-carbon” contraption for guilt-free electrons.

Life without fossil fuels means abject poverty. It means no shoes, no modern clothing, no clean running water, no storm-resistant buildings and homes, no store shelves full of food. It means a life Greta Thunberg cannot imagine.

The young Ms. Thunberg is the daughter of two wealthy entertainment celebrities and the granddaughter of actor and director Fritz-Olof Thunberg.

She has everything she needs and consumes countless goods and services that require fossil fuels. They will require fossil fuels for the rest of Greta’s life, regardless of pie-in-the-sky claims to the contrary.

The Thunberg family lives in one of the world’s more flourishing free-market economies, so capitalistic even the country’s schools and pensions are privatized. The country is so wealthy it plans to go “green” by 2040, operating entirely on renewable energy. Sweden can do that because it imports iron, steel, lumber, food, clothing, etc., from countries that produce those and other goods with fossil fuels.

Many other countries cannot make a “green” pretense while living off the fruits of a distant carbon footprint.

Because of the world’s production and consumption of fossil fuels for the past century, life has never been better on planet Earth. Even the environment has improved. NASA’s Earth Science News Team reports “a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide” produced by consumption of fossil fuels.

That story isn’t told by the media, or in the classroom, because it does not fit the left’s eco-religious end-of-times narrative.

World hunger has declined reliably in correlation to oil and gas production and distribution. Poverty and hunger have fallen faster in the past 50 years than during any other era in history — even as world population grew by 3.2 billion.

Greta and her contemporaries seem to care sincerely about humanity and nature. They should understand that older generations have not doomed the planet and caused widespread suffering and death.

Contrary to propaganda the left feeds to kids, mature generations built a society of rising life expectancy, declining infant mortality rates, increasing vegetation and plummeting poverty.

With fossil fuels, they enabled Greta Thunberg’s safe and comfortable lifestyle — a lifestyle other children will someday enjoy if allowed access to traditional fuels.

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