Thunberg Vs Mnuchin Round 2: Le changement climatique peut-il rompre la solidarité de classe Elite?


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Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton at the White House on April 24, 2018.
AFP via Getty Images

It had all the hallmarks of an instant classic: teen environmentalist rails against world’s wealthiest nations for climate inaction; treasury secretary of world’s wealthiest nation attempts ill-advised slap-down of teen; treasury secretary’s wife takes to Instagram in support not of husband, but of teen environmentalist.

That’s what happened on Saturday, when Scottish actress Louise Linton, wife of U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, put up an Instagram post in response to dismissive remarks made by her husband about Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, saying: “I stand with Greta on this issue. (I don’t have a degree in economics either) We need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels. Keep up the fight @gretathunberg.” The post stayed up for 30 minutes before disappearing.

Let’s rewind a little: on Tuesday, Thunberg had castigated assembled leaders attending the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, saying “almost nothing” had been done by wealthy nations to reduce their carbon emissions. Suitably chastened, said world leaders bowed their heads in shame and went on doing almost nothing.

But in a press conference at the event on Thursday, the U.S. treasury secretary referred directly to Thunberg, saying: “After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us.”

Taking shots at Thunberg has apparently become normalized within the Trump administration, in the context of the U.S. president’s recent history of jibes at the 17-year-old.

Thunberg hit back at Mnuchin on Twitter, posting a @CarbonBrief chart showing that, under current global fossil fuel subsidies and investments, the “carbon budget” stipulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be exhausted within just eight years, and signatories to the Paris Agreement will have failed in their goal to limit warming to 1.5 degree Celsius.

Mnuchin’s snide comments generated the sort of uproar to be expected whenever a powerful man attempts to publicly belittle a young woman. But what he was probably not expecting was that his wife would get behind Thunberg. While Linton’s post did not remain in situ for long, with 17.5 thousand followers on the platform, it wasn’t long before screenshots were doing the rounds on Twitter. The post was all the more noteworthy given that Linton has tended to remain politically ambiguous, if not supportive of her husband’s work. In her Instagram bio, she describes herself as: “Not a Republican. Not a Democrat. Humanitarian & Animal welfare activist. Pro- Environment. Vegan”

In the wake of the post, the internet’s armchair marriage counselors speculated that it might be indicative of strains within the power couple’s relationship; others suggested it was a cynical ploy by Linton to reinvigorate her career in a Hollywood that generally considers itself antithetical to all things Trump. There were numerous comparisons to the ongoing political schism between former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and husband George Conway, a Washington duo famously unafraid to air their disagreements in public.

Further, incredulous posters asked whether it was hypocritical of Linton to back Thunberg, given her well-publicized proclivity for private jets.

In all likelihood, we won’t know whether Linton is ready to switch her Valentino shoes and Hermès scarves for sandals and a hemp keffiyeh until it happens. But amid the somewhat prurient gossip and hot takes, the Thunberg-Mnuchin-Linton tiff indicates that climate discourse—or rather, climate discord—has accrued the clout to create divisions even among the cream of the global elite. Where will it take us next? Watch this space.

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Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton at the White House on April 24, 2018.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton, apparently divided on the subject of Greta … [ ] Thunberg.

AFP via Getty Images

It had all the hallmarks of an instant classic: teen environmentalist rails against world’s wealthiest nations for climate inaction; treasury secretary of world’s wealthiest nation attempts ill-advised slap-down of teen; treasury secretary’s wife takes to Instagram in support not of husband, but of teen environmentalist.

That’s what happened on Saturday, when Scottish actress Louise Linton, wife of U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, put up an Instagram post in response to dismissive remarks made by her husband about Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, saying: “I stand with Greta on this issue. (I don’t have a degree in economics either) We need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels. Keep up the fight @gretathunberg.” The post stayed up for 30 minutes before disappearing.

Louise Linton posts support of Greta Thunberg on Instagram.

Louise Linton takes Greta Thunberg’s side after her husband Steven Mnuchin said of Thunberg on … [ ] Thursday: “Is she the chief economist? Who is she, I’m confused.”

Instagram.com

Let’s rewind a little: on Tuesday, Thunberg had castigated assembled leaders attending the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, saying “almost nothing” had been done by wealthy nations to reduce their carbon emissions. Suitably chastened, said world leaders bowed their heads in shame and went on doing almost nothing.

But in a press conference at the event on Thursday, the U.S. treasury secretary referred directly to Thunberg, saying: “After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us.”

Taking shots at Thunberg has apparently become normalized within the Trump administration, in the context of the U.S. president’s recent history of jibes at the 17-year-old.

Thunberg hit back at Mnuchin on Twitter, posting a @CarbonBrief chart showing that, under current global fossil fuel subsidies and investments, the “carbon budget” stipulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be exhausted within just eight years, and signatories to the Paris Agreement will have failed in their goal to limit warming to 1.5 degree Celsius.

Mnuchin’s snide comments generated the sort of uproar to be expected whenever a powerful man attempts to publicly belittle a young woman. But what he was probably not expecting was that his wife would get behind Thunberg. While Linton’s post did not remain in situ for long, with 17.5 thousand followers on the platform, it wasn’t long before screenshots were doing the rounds on Twitter. The post was all the more noteworthy given that Linton has tended to remain politically ambiguous, if not supportive of her husband’s work. In her Instagram bio, she describes herself as: “Not a Republican. Not a Democrat. Humanitarian & Animal welfare activist. Pro- Environment. Vegan”

In the wake of the post, the internet’s armchair marriage counselors speculated that it might be indicative of strains within the power couple’s relationship; others suggested it was a cynical ploy by Linton to reinvigorate her career in a Hollywood that generally considers itself antithetical to all things Trump. There were numerous comparisons to the ongoing political schism between former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and husband George Conway, a Washington duo famously unafraid to air their disagreements in public.

Further, incredulous posters asked whether it was hypocritical of Linton to back Thunberg, given her well-publicized proclivity for private jets.

In all likelihood, we won’t know whether Linton is ready to switch her Valentino shoes and Hermès scarves for sandals and a hemp keffiyeh until it happens. But amid the somewhat prurient gossip and hot takes, the Thunberg-Mnuchin-Linton tiff indicates that climate discourse—or rather, climate discord—has accrued the clout to create divisions even among the cream of the global elite. Where will it take us next? Watch this space.

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