After U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday dismissed youth climate activist Greta Thunberg's call for global leaders to address the climate crisis by telling the teenager to come back to him after she "studies economics," Thunberg and other progressives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hit back, calling attention to the environmental issues the secretary was trying to ignore.
"It doesn't take a college degree in economics to realize that our remaining 1.5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don't add up," tweeted Thunberg, linking to a video of a graph by the group Carbon Brief showing the catastrophic, continual rise in global emissions that has exacerbated the climate crisis.
My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/1virpuOyYG— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 23, 2020
"Either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments," Thunberg added.
Mnuchin made his remarks on Tuesday morning, replying to a reporter's question on Thunberg's call for world economies to divest from fossil fuels.
"Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I'm confused," said Mnuchin. "After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us."
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Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, said the secretary's remarks were an example of how elites attempt to crush dissent.
"If you don't have an economics degree like Greta, they'll mock you for not having one," said Ocasio-Cortez. "If you DO have one, as I do, they'll claim it's illegitimate."
If you don’t have an economics degree like Greta, they’ll mock you for not having one.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 23, 2020
If you DO have one, as I do, they’ll claim it’s illegitimate.
Haters gonna hate & deniers will deny. They will deny logic, science, and environmental consensus in order to protect oligarchy. https://t.co/6b0S40MQk2
Eric Holthaus, climate reporter for the Correspondent, found Mnuchin's attack ridiculous on its face.
"You know who has college degrees?" said Holthaus. "The thousands of scientists of the IPCC who wrote the report Greta quoted from."