Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attends a session at the Congres center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 21, 2020. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

Mocking Call for Fossil Fuel Divestment, 'Foreclosure King' Steve Mnuchin Tells Greta Thunberg to Go Study Economics

"Here's what Mnuchin learned from economics studies: he ran a company that booted elderly residents from their homes due to onerous loans and technicalities."

Jake Johnson

During press briefing Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, former Goldman Sachs banker and current U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin dismissed Greta Thunberg's call for complete divestment from fossil fuels and condescendingly told the 17-year-old climate activist to go study economics.

"Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I'm confused," Mnuchin said. "After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us."

Critics immediately hit back at Mnuchin's suggestion that one need have a degree in economics to understand the severity of the climate emergency and the steps necessary to avert global catastrophe.

"Here's what Mnuchin learned from economics studies: as the 'foreclosure king,' he ran a company that booted elderly residents from their homes due to onerous loans and technicalities," tweeted Miller Center fellow Chris Lu, referring to Mnuchin's destructive tenure as CEO of OneWest Bank.

Author and environmentalist Naomi Klein pointed to the thousands of academics who have echoed Thunberg's call for fossil fuel divestment:

Other critics piled on:

Mnuchin's swipe at Thunberg came after the Swedish activist warned Tuesday in a speech to the World Economic Forum that global elites are "fueling the flames" of the climate crisis "by the hour."

"We demand at this year's World Economic Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions, and governments: Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction. Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies. And immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels," said Thunberg. "We don't want these things done by 2050, 2030, or even 2021. We want this done now."

Anticipating attacks from elites like Mnuchin, Thunberg added: "It may seem like we're asking for a lot. And you will of course say that we are naïve. But this is just the very minimum amount of effort that is needed to start the rapid sustainable transition."

"So either you do this or you're going to have to explain to your children why you are giving up on the 1.5-degree target," said Thunberg. "Giving up without even trying. Well I'm here to tell you that, unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·


Critics of Louisiana LNG Project 'Hopeful' as Huge Sales Contracts Canceled

"The fight is not over," says one activist, but "from tax breaks to pollution and now to these recent financial downswings, we have all the evidence we need to understand that Driftwood will be a parasite."

Jessica Corbett ·


DHS Officials Urge Biden to End 'Disastrous Leadership' of Embattled IG

In an anonymous letter, the Homeland Security staffers say Inspector General Joseph Cuffari's actions "embarrass the entire agency."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Big Climate Win': California to Ban Sale of Gas Heaters and Furnaces by 2030

"This is the first state to do it," noted one advocate. "Who's next?"

Brett Wilkins ·


44 House Democrats Push Biden DOJ to Investigate DeSantis Over 'Cruel Migrant Flights'

"The actions of the officials in Texas and Florida were not only fundamentally cruel and uniquely un-American; there remains a likelihood that federal laws were violated."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo