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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Explained: Who is Naomi Seibt, the ‘anti-Greta Thunberg’ activist?

With her calls for climate realism, Naombi Seibt has been called a sympathiser of Germany’s far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) that supports climate change denialists.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 3, 2020 8:54:16 am
Explained: Who is Naomi Seibt, the “anti-Greta” activist? Naomi Seibt and Greta Thunberg. (Source: Twitter/AP)

Nineteen-year-old German Naomi Seibt has recently gained prominence as the “anti-Greta” activist, after The Washington Post ran a front-page profile of her in their February 24 issue. Seibt was also in the news for her description of a white nationalist as an “inspiration”.

With her calls for climate realism, Seibt has been called a sympathiser of Germany’s far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) that supports climate change denialists. Even so, Seibt doesn’t deny that greenhouse gas emissions may be warming the planet, but she thinks that the scientists and media have “overstated” the impact.

Who is Naomi Seibt?

Seibt was hired by the conservative think-tank, The Heartland Institute’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, where she will be working on communicating the message of “climate realism” to her generation.

In a press release, the think-tank said the following, “Unlike the global legacy media’s favorite young climate communicator, Greta Thunberg, Naomi doesn’t want you to “panic”. She wants you to “think”,” it says. On the other hand, climate activist Greta Thunberg who has become one of the most recognisable faces of climate change activism told world leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos, Switzerland in 2019 “to panic”.

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In a video of Seibt uploaded by the think tank, Seibt has referenced “climate alarmism” as something, which is “dystopian” and calls climate-related concern as “eco-depression” and “eco-anxiety”. “Don’t let an agenda that is trying to depict you as an energy-sucking leech on the planet get into your brain and take away all your passionate spirit.”

The Heartland Institute

The Chicago-based think-tank describes itself as promoting “science-based” skepticism of “catastrophic, man-caused climate change.” In February 2012, some Heartland Institute documents were leaked into the public domain, which revealed the think tank’s plans for spreading climate change denial propaganda for the year.

“Why would an American think tank want to get involved in German politics?,” the Post article questions, as per which, the think-tank which is backed by influential Republicans views Germany’s efforts towards limiting greenhouse gas emissions as “contagious”.

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In recent years, more countries in the developed countries’ pool can be seen passing laws to protect against climate change. In November 2019, the German parliament passed the Climate Protection Act, the country’s first climate action law that aims to impose a price on carbon emissions in the transport and heating sectors. In the same week, New Zealand passed the Zero-Carbon law in a bid to comply with its Paris climate accord commitments. Most recently, on Thursday, a Court of Appeals in the UK designated as “unlawful” the government’s decision to allow the expansion of one of the world’s busiest airports at Heathrow citing unfulfillment of its climate laws.

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