Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

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.

Research Reveals How PR Firms Have Spent Decades Fueling Climate Misinformation

"The best time to stop working for fossil fuel clients was 20 years ago, when we had much more time to stop the climate emergency. The second best time is now."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Decry US Gun Control Failures After 'Truly Sickening' Michigan School Shooting

"A 15-year-old shooter may have picked up the weapon, but Congress—through its inaction on gun violence—may as well have handed it to him."

Brett Wilkins ·


New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


With SCOTUS Set to Hear Abortion Case, Anti-Choice Groups Prepare to Enact 'Post-Roe Strategy'

Right-wing groups are lobbying lawmakers to pass state-level restrictions and ban sales of abortion pills, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo