- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he fears climate change activists are causing “needless anxiety” among children.

Mr. Morrison was reacting to a now-viral speech this week at the United Nations by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, whose voice shook as she warned of imminent “mass extinction” and scolded world leaders for their inaction on saving the planet.

Mr. Morrison said he understands “how deeply people feel” about the environment but that the public needed to be given “proper context and perspective” so as to rationally debate the issue.

“I want children growing up in Australia to feel positive about their future, and I think it is important we give them that confidence that they will not only have a wonderful country and pristine environment to live in, that they will also have an economy to live in as well,” he told reporters Tuesday, The Guardian reported. “I don’t want our children to have anxieties about these issues.”

The prime minister said he talks with his own daughters, aged 10 and 12, about climate change but makes sure not to put a doomsday spin on it.

“We don’t have deep conversations about emissions reduction targets and what’s happening with the Kyoto protocol and Paris, but we talk about fossil fuels and we talk about what they learn at school, and I encourage them to have a passionate independent view about how they see the world, but I also give them a lot of context,” Mr. Morrison said.

“I don’t allow them to be basically contorted into one particular view,” he added. “I like them to make up their own mind, but I also like to give them reassurance because the worst thing I would impose on any child is needless anxiety. They’ve got enough things to be anxious about.

“We’ve got to let kids be kids. We can’t have them growing up as mushrooms, but we’ve got to get a bit of context into this,” he said.

Mr. Morrison echoed the same comments in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, declaring that “our children have a right not just to their future but to their optimism.”

“We must respect and harness the passion and aspiration of our younger generations, we must guard against others who would seek to compound or, worse, facelessly exploit their anxiety for their own agendas,” he said.

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