The latest Labour Party proposal is to add 1.5 million 16- and 17-year-olds to the British electorate, presumably gambling that they are more than averagely ignorant, gullible and excitable and so will vote for the cost- and trouble-free Utopian visions given them by the backroom people who steer the "narrative." https://labour.org.uk/latest/stories/time-votes-16/
Dropping the voting age didn't work for Harold Wilson and wisely, many young people refrain from balloting on issues and parties about which they know next to nothing.
But some can be wound up to a pitch of melancholy hysteria and used as disposable spokespersons. Their 15 minutes of fame may cost them dear personally in the long run, but they will have served their purpose as far as the political chessplayers are concerned.
Here's 16-year-old Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit, 23 September 2019:
"My message is that we'll be watching you.
"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
"For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
"You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.
"The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.
"Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.
"So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.
"To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.
"How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just 'business as usual' and some technical solutions? With today's emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.
"There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.
"You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.
"We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.
If we take protesters like this seriously then we need to get down to the Chinese embassy and tell their government to shut off all China's coal-fired power stations.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement 196 nations made a collective undertaking to reduce global warming to "1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels" and each country is to do its part - known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
But China, trying to raise its people's standard of living above the mire in which it was stuck for thousands of years, is determined to continue with its industrial development and it sits on a vast coalfield. Accordingly, its CO2 output is assessed as consistent with global warming in the 3-4% bracket - a "highly insufficient" commitment, according to climateactiontracker.org.
Of course China is aware of problems connected with burning fossil fuels. It is concerned to reduce the atmospheric pollution that concentrates in the geological basin containing Beijing, for a start. But it won't commit to rigid targets that entail an economic crash. Still, they have a strong incentive to act, in their own way and on their own timescale, without a tearful lecture from a child/woman with Asperger's, OCD and selective mutism.
As to the underlying science of "climate change", despite the threats to their careers and reputations some scientists are beginning to poke their heads above the parapet and call into question the facts as well as the pros and cons:
It is always good not to be wasteful and messy. There's a lot we can and should do to manage our material needs in a more efficient and less unsightly way. Just don't ask the poor to stay poor to suit our Marie Antoinette toy-farm fantasies.
But we should deplore the use of youngsters for propaganda purposes who have limited understanding of the issues and are encouraged to make emotional rants. Or allowing (accompanying, leading!) placard-wielding, slogan-chanting children to take time off school to tell us simplistic nonsense, as I saw in Oxford a few months ago.* If their political education is "gob open, ears shut" then we need to raise the voting age to allow them time to outgrow the indoctrination of their stupid teachers...
... some of whom may have learned all the wrong lessons themselves. I remember the sit-in at Oxford's Examination Schools in 1973, and the marches ("Thatcher! Thatcher! Milk-snatcher!"). Not being a natural joiner, I just watched as nondescript men halfway up lampposts took telephoto shots of the ninnies for the Press and/or the Home Office. What the crowds didn't realise is they were just being used by the self-selected leaders of tomorrow, as sheepdogs practise penning flocks. Then the few worked their way into organisations so they could take charge of the many, for real.
There's much to do; and much to undo.
By the way, one of the the slogans I saw there, "There is no Planet B," is plain wrong.
UPDATE: originally, after the "Marie Antoinette reference", I wrote the following, which Sobers' comment below informs me was a subversive stunt to upset AOC's meeting:
And we can do without insane certainty and crazy, desperate proposals like this one from a young town hall meeting attendee who wore a T-shirt with the slogan "Save the planet, eat the children."
[video was embedded here]
She is well-informed in the modern sense, i.e. knows everything she wants to know. For she is right up-to-date in referring to a Swedish professor (Magnus Soderlund) who recommends cannibalism as a greener form of nutrition.
Since that intensely embarrassing outburst, Democratic Party Congresswoman Ms Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez correctly tweeted, "This person may have been suffering from a mental condition and it's not okay that the right-wing is mocking her and potentially make her condition or crisis worse. Be a decent human being and knock it off."
But in that case, we should also deplore the use of other youngsters for propaganda purposes who, like this one, have limited understanding of the issues and are encouraged to make emotional rants...