Until sometime last week, the state of Texas claimed a population of slightly over 25 million. That number has swelled to upwards of 1.8 billion as the world's children -- all of them -- suddenly set up camp outside the headquarters of the ExxonMobil Corporation. This development caught the world's adults by surprise. They have sent in CNN's Wolf Blitzer to get to the bottom of things.
"This is Wolf Blitzer reporting from somewhere near the corporate headquarters of ExxonMobil. I am speaking with Amanda Beyerstock, a press liaison for The Children."
"Amanda, how old are you and where are you from?"
"I am 12 years old, from Platte River, South Dakota."
"Amanda. the obvious question is... well... from best we can tell there are, in fact, no children over the age of three left anywhere else on the planet. All of them are here, gathered in Texas. Every single one of them. How did this happen?"
(Amanda rolls her eyes) "Duh, Wolf. Internet. Twitter. Social media. Ever heard of it?"
"Well, yes of course, but... every child, every single one? That's a pretty impressive feat to pull off, especially considering that many of you are too young to feed yourselves or tie your own shoes, let alone read or write."
"Well, Wolf, we just got fed up. Enough was enough and so we just decided and that was that."
"Fed up with what, Amanda?"
(Another eye roll. Then Amanda hands Wolf a brochure of some kind). "You can read, can't you, Wolf?"
"Yes, of course. I am a highly respected reporter. What's this, Amanda?"
"It's the World Bank report on climate change that came out a few months ago with the latest studies. The highlighted section. Read it."
(Wolf clears his throat) "A 4-degree Celsius rise is plausible by the 2060s. A 4-degree Celsius warmer world would be one of unprecedented heat-waves, severe droughts and major floods. There is no certainty adaptation to a 4-degree warmer world is possible."
Wolf looks at Amanda. She is just staring at him.
"Well, ahem, that's pretty strong stuff, I must say. Are you sure it's accurate?"
"No, Wolf... why in the world would anybody think it's accurate? I mean, it's only a report compiled by the top climate scientists in the world. You know, the ones who have the most knowledge, the highest level of expertise and the greatest motivation to study the complex dynamics of our climate. Why would anybody think that the report could be accurate?"
"Um... excuse me, Amanda, I'm not used to interviewing 12-year-olds... that was sarcasm, right?"
"But, Amanda, how can you be so sure? I admit, that report sounds pretty bad, but you know there is disagreement about what is happening with the climate. We have to be careful to present both sides of the argument, to take a balanced approach when reporting on climate issues."
"Wolf, you are a turtle."
"What do you mean, Amanda?"
"Wolf, I am looking at you right now, and it is obvious to me that you are a turtle."
"Amanda, that's ridiculous, I am not a turtle, I am a human being."
(Amanda shouts out to another child, "Hey, do you think that Wolf Blitzer is a turtle?" "Yep, looks like a turtle to me," the other child responds.)
"See, Wolf, there is serious disagreement about whether you are a human being or a turtle."
Wolf looks very confused for a moment, but then his brow clears. "Oh, I get it, Amanda, you're mocking my contention that there is disagreement about climate change."
"Good, Wolf! Because there is no disagreement. There is an appearance of disagreement drummed up by the fossil fuel companies. But if you do even ten minutes of digging on the Internet, you'll discover that this is a smokescreen designed to delay taking action. I watched one of your climate stories, Wolf. It went on for about eight minutes. During this time, and I kid you not, there were commercials by a petroleum company, a coal company and a natural gas company. Could that have anything to do with your 'balanced approach'? "
"Well, we do have to pay our bills, Amanda."
"Look, Wolf, we get it. We are a flawed species. Sure, we can create works of breathtaking beauty: Mozart, Michelangelo and so forth. We can demonstrate breathtaking kindness and compassion: Gandhi and Mother Teresa. But for all of our unique capacities, for all of our technological developments, over 95 percent of our make-up still derives from our ancient days as ice-age hunters and earlier. We still basically only react to in-our-faces, clear-and-present dangers such as finding a saber-tooth tiger outside our cave. The tipping points and non-linear change processes that are leading to that non-adaptable world?... We're not getting it, we're just not wired to get it."
"But, see Wolf, it's we who are going to suffer (Amanda sweeps her hand to take in The Children in their millions) because you adults are not getting it."
"So, Amanda, the world wants to know: What do you want? How can we get you to go back home to your parents."
"Oh, Wolf, we're not going anywhere."
"That's ridiculous, Amanda, you can't just say here forever."
"We don't want to stay here forever Wolf. You adults cut carbon emissions 6 percent in the next twelve months and we'll go."
"Why 6 percent, Amanda?"
"Because the scientists tell us that we have to cut worldwide emissions 6 percent per year from now until 2050 to have a decent shot at preserving a 'non-dangerous' climate. So if you do that, we'll leave. If not, we'll stay another 12 months and try again. And, of course, any year that we fail to reach the needed emissions reductions, we'll be back again."
"But, Amanda, that's hardly fair. I mean, it's not just the United States that has to agree to the reductions, it's the whole world."
"Geez, Wolf, you're breaking my heart."
Wolf grins in self-congratulation as he picks up on the sarcasm immediately. He gathers himself and turns to look directly into the camera.
"Well, world, you heard it here first. The Children are demanding emissions cuts in line with the most current scientific understanding. Amanda, what makes you think that the world will listen?"
Amanda now turns to the camera.
"Frankly, Wolf, we think they probably won't. ou sure haven't shown signs of listening yet. But, who knows, maybe you all will miss us enough to actually begin acting like grown-ups. You know, making choices that are good for you and take others into consideration, just like you're always telling us to do. Until then, we're staying. Goodnight, Wolf."
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