Climate activist Greta Thunberg has a rival in German teen Naomi Seibt, a self-proclaimed ‘climate realist’ who believes Thunberg is simply a ‘climate alarmist’.
Seibt, a 19-year-old YouTuber who is employed by the Heartland Institute, an American conservative and libertarian think tank, is taking on Thunberg with a message of her own - that climate change science isn’t really science at all.
Right-wing groups have been keen to promote the YouTuber, who was hired by Heartland to produce videos about why the world should not be concerned about climate change.
The Correctiv reports Seibt was part of the think tank’s rebrand to attract a younger audience and has since risen as a commentator, speaking at events across the world.
She has been dubbed the “anti-Greta” after Thunberg became a household name when she made an impassioned speech to world leaders at the UN last year, saying entire ecosystems were collapsing and the world was at the beginning of a mass extinction.
But Seibt has used her new-found platform to hit back at the 17-year-old Swedish activist.
Who is Naomi Seibt?
Last month Seibt told Die Weltwoche she developed an interest in politics in 2015 after attending political events with her mum.
She was later inspired by YouTube bloggers who opposed mainstream ideas after her mother showed her videos created by Stefan Molyneux, who uses the platform to promote what some believe to be scientific racism and white supremacist views.
She claims she is “without an agenda, without an ideology”, according to The Guardian, which noted that she was thrust into the spotlight by leading figures on the German far right and her mother, a lawyer.
In 2017, Seibt had her first essay published by Philosophia Perennis – an “anti-Islamisation” blog started by David Berger, a supporter of right-wing anti-migration party AFD.
She only posted her first YouTube video last year and now has almost 70,000 subscribers to her channel and more than 15,000 followers on Twitter.
What is Naomi Seibt’s climate message?
In a YouTube video posted about two weeks ago, Seibt said the world was not ending.
“In fact, in 12 years time we’ll still be around casually taking photos with our iPhone 18s, tweeting about the current president and ranting about the latest celebrity gossip,” she said.
“However, we are currently being force-fed a very dystopian agenda of climate alarmism that tells us we as humans are destroying the planet and that young people especially have no future, that the animals are dying and we are ruining nature.”
Seibt said she thought activists like Thunberg and those part of global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion had good intentions, but were genuinely scared of the world ending and their parents and grandparents ruining the planet.
“It’s ruining relationships, it’s breaking up families and we want to spread truth about the science behind climate realism which is essentially the opposite of climate alarmism,” she said in her video.
“People now are actually developing mental disorders and referring to them as eco-anxiety and eco-depression, and I think it’s important we act now and change this entire mainstream narrative of fearmongering and climate alarmism.
“It’s holding us hostage in our own brains, don’t let an agenda trying to depict you as an energy sucking leech on the planet get into your brain and take away all of your passionate spirit.
“I don’t want you to panic, I want you to think.”
Many people have denounced Seibt as a climate denier, but she told media she hates the term and is a climate realist who wants to “talk facts and science”.
Naomi Seibt vs Greta Thunberg
Both teens have taken to world stages to express their views and opinions on the state of the planet.
In December, Seibt spoke at the Climate Reality Forum in Madrid – which was organised to discredit climate change warnings – while Thunberg addressed the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The Heartland Institute too released a video that alternated clips of both climate commentators promoting their messages, with Thunberg saying we were at the beginning of mass extinction while Seibt claimed climate science wasn’t real.
A video of Thunberg went viral last year as she glared down US President Donald Trump as he arrived at the United Nations climate summit in September.
President Trump, whose administration has been widely criticised for rolling back environmental protections and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, was not scheduled to attend the event. But he did, later, after Thunberg’s impassioned speech.
Thunberg, though, did see Trump in the hallway. The young climate warrior was seen clearly staring down the leader of the free world.
On the weekend, Seibt spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual political conference for conservative activists.
Trump also addressed the conference and mocked Thunberg for being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. He slated the climate activist after he was given the recognition in 2016.
“This year, I lost to Greta,” Trump told the crowd.
“I said, ‘Who?’.”
We are all Greta Thunberg.— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) September 23, 2019
He then went on to say it didn’t matter he had lost because he had “won it enough”.
During her appearance at CPAC, Seibt said she was still inspired by alt-right commentator Stefan Molyneux, the YouTuber who inspired her during her formative years.
In 2014, Molyneux said in a YouTube video “you cannot run a high IQ [white] society with low IQ [non-white] people”.
The Washington Post reports Seibt claimed his comments, which have been said to amplify scientific racism and supremacy, had been misinterpreted by his critics.
In 2018, Molyneux was slammed for saying he “could have peaceful, free, easy, civilised and safe discussions in what is essentially an all-white country”.
Reporters asked Seibt whether she still supported him following the comments, to which she responded, “I am still a fan of Molyneux’s, absolutely”.
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