Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist who has become a global sensation, has called out an Australian columnist who called her “deeply disturbed”.
The teenager turned his insult back on him when she tweeted that she was “deeply disturbed” but about hate and conspiracy campaigns that are allowed to “go on and on and on”.
In the column, Australian News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt slammed the Swedish schoolgirl, who has autism.
The Herald Sun columnist who also works for Sky News wrote: “No teenager is more freakishly influential than Greta Thunberg, the deeply disturbed messiah of the global warming movement.”
He later added: “I have never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru.”
His columns come after the 16-year-old announced she will sail across the Atlantic aboard a high-tech racing yacht, leaving Britain next month to attend UN climate summits in New York in September and Santiago, Chile, in December.
In response to this Bolt said: “Of course, she’s going by racing yacht, because she refuses to fly and heat the planet with an aeroplane’s global warming gasses.
“That typical refusal to compromise is guaranteed to help create another round of frantic media hype for Thunberg, who is one of the most astonishing Messianic figures in world history — and I don’t mean that in a good way.”
Since starting her “school strikes” in August 2018, the daughter of an actor and an opera singer has appeared before policymakers at last year’s UN climate conference in Poland and harangued business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
She also met with Pope Francis, who praised Greta’s efforts and encouraged her to continue campaigning.
Although little-known in the United States, Greta has arguably become the figurehead for a new generation of European eco-activists worried that they will suffer the fallout from their parents’ and grandparents’ unwillingness to take strong actions to combat climate change.
Her visibility has made her a target for those who reject the overwhelming consensus among scientists that climate change is being driven by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, released by the burning of fossil fuels.
“I don’t care about hate and threats from climate crisis deniers,” she said in a recent interview. “I just ignore them.”