Greta Thunberg Responds To US Politician Who Said She Needs An Economics Degree

by : Julia Banim on : 24 Jan 2020 11:31
Greta ThunbergPA

While many teens will spend their gap year backpacking around distant lands in search of themselves, Greta Thunberg has spent hers sparking a global movement of impassioned climate change activists.

Like anyone in history who has ever stood up for something they believe in, Greta has had to deal with being sneered at and patronised by individuals who have long forgotten what it’s like to care about something bigger than profits and ego.


And the latest Disney villain to step out of the woodwork is United States secretary of the treasury Steve Mnuchin, a grown man who apparently thinks a totally fine and normal way to own a 17-year-old girl is to be condescending towards her for not yet having a college degree.

Greta Thunberg in Madrid, Spain for COP25PA Images

Mnuchin, 57, was asked by a journalist at the World Economic Forum in Davos about whether the climate policies pushed for by Greta and other climate change advocates would hurt US economic growth, CNBC reports.

In answer to this, Mnuchin said:


Is she the chief economist, or who is she? I’m confused. It’s a joke. After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us.

Following this woefully predictable attempt to dismiss scientific consensus by belittling an individual on a personal level, Greta took to Twitter to give her response.

Sharing a sobering graph which show how carbon emissions have risen in the past two decades, Greta tweeted:

My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up.

So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments.


The graph shared by Greta is from Carbon Brief, a website dedicated to analysing and fact-checking energy policy and climate change science, and was created by – degree educated – climate scientists Zeke Hausfather and Robbie Andrew.

It emphasises how, if carbon emissions had peaked in 2000, a 3% annual drop might have been enough to remain below 1.5C. However, emissions have continued to rise nearly every single year since.

As of 2019, emissions would need to drop by an annual 15% to keep below below 1.5C. If emissions do not fall, then the 1.5C carbon budget will be all used up within just eight years.

Steve MnuchinPA

Unfortunately for all of us, believing in climate change isn’t an ideological position where balance and reason can be found somewhere in the middle.

It’s simply a case of making the choice to believe in the stone cold, terrifying facts which have been backed by the majority of the world’s scientific community.

Mocking somebody for being young or for not laughing enough when discussing the gravest threat to our planet will sadly do nothing to save you from the catastrophes we are currently hurtling towards.


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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Global Warming, Greta Thunberg


  1. CNBC

    Mnuchin says Greta Thunberg can tell us what to do ‘after she goes and studies economics in college’