A Message to Children About Climate Change

September 23, 2019
last modified: September 23, 2019

A Message for Children About Climate Change

Posted September 23, 2019

Dear Children,

I’m sorry adults have frightened you about climate change and how it might affect your future. You might be less afraid if you knew some facts that adults intentionally do not explain to you. I’ll tell you here.

The news was once a source of real information, or so we thought. But in the modern world, the news people discovered they can make more money by presenting scary news regardless of whether it is true or not. Today, much of the news on the right and the left is opinion that is meant to scare you, not inform you, because scary things get more attention, and that makes the news business more profitable. The same is true for people who write books; authors often make books scary so you will buy them. Most adults know all the scariness is not real. Most kids do not. You just learned it.

Nuclear energy used to be dangerous, back in the olden days. Today’s nuclear power plants (the ones built in the past 20 years all over the world) have killed zero people, and are considered the safest form of energy in the world. More people have died installing solar panels and falling off roofs than have died from nuclear power problems anywhere in the world for the past few decades. And nuclear energy is the obvious way to address climate change, say most of the smartest adults in the world, because it can provide abundant, cheap, clean energy with zero carbon emissions.

Nuclear energy as a solution to climate change is one of the rare solutions backed by several Democrats running for president and nearly all Republicans. Please note that two Democrats in favor of nuclear energy (Corey Booker and Andrew Yang) are among the youngest and smartest in the game. To be fair, the oldest Democrat running for president, Joe Biden, also supports nuclear energy because he is well-informed.

If you are worried about nuclear waste, you probably should not be. Every country with nuclear energy (and there are lots of them) successfully stores their nuclear waste. If you put all the nuclear waste in the world in one place, it would fit on one football field. It isn’t a big problem. And new nuclear power designs will actually eat that nuclear waste and turn it into electricity, so the total amount of waste could come way down.

The United Nations estimates that the economic impact of climate change will reduce the economy by 10% in eighty years. What they don’t tell you is that the economy will be about five times bigger and better by then, so you won’t even notice the 10% that didn’t happen. And that worst case is only if we do nothing to address climate change, which is not the case.

A number of companies have recently built machines that can **** CO2 right out of the air. At the moment, using those machines would be too expensive. But as they come down in cost and improve in efficiency, we have a solution already in hand should it ever be needed. It would be expensive, but there is no real risk of CO2 ruining the world now that we know how to remove any excess from the atmosphere. (Plants need CO2 to thrive, so we don’t want to remove too much. Greenhouses actually pump in CO2 to make plants grow better.)

Scientists tell us that we could reduce climate risks by planting more trees. (A lot more.) That’s all doable, should the world decide it is necessary. There are a number of other companies and technologies that also address climate change in a variety of ways. Any one of the approaches I mentioned (nuclear energy, CO2 scrubbers, planting trees) could be enough to address any climate risks, but there are dozens of ways of dealing with climate change, and more coming every day.

Throughout all modern history, when we humans see a problem coming from far away, we have a 100% success rate in solving it. Climate change is no different. All the right people are working hard at a wide variety of solutions and already know how to get there, meaning more nuclear power plus CO2 scrubbers, plus lots of green power from solar, wind, and more.

If you are worried about rising sea levels, don’t be. The smartest and richest people in the world are still buying property on the beach. They don’t see the problem. And if sea levels do rise, it will happen slowly enough for people to adjust.

Adults sometimes like to use children to carry their messages because it makes it hard for the other side to criticize them without seeming like monsters. If adults have encouraged you to panic about climate change without telling you what I am telling you here, they do not have your best interests at heart. They are using you.

When you ask adults about nuclear energy, expect them to have old understanding about it, meaning they don’t know the newer nuclear energy technologies are the safest energy on the planet.

What I told you today is not always understood even by adults. You are now smarter than most adults on the topic of climate.

My generation has a lot of faith in your generation. You will be the most educated and effective humans of all time. My generation (and a few generations younger than me) already has the fixes to address climate risks coming online. Your generation will finish the job.

We adults respect your passion and your energy on the topic of climate. But it isn’t fair for us to deny you the basic facts while at the same time scaring you into action. I hope this letter helps you sleep better. We adults have this problem under control, or will soon, and you’ll help us finish the job. So get some good sleep tonight. Together, we got this.

Scott Adams

Comments (81)

  • blfenton

    Where do you plan on planting all these trees which will take 30-40 years to grow big enough to do any good?

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Urbo, I never said to keep children ignorant and I never said not to take political action. Demonstrations, boycotts and whatnot were mentioned in my list of what you have control over.

    As for kicking the problem down the road, indeed that has been the game for decades, under left and right governments.

    And while you decry Trump, what has Trudeau done about the tar sands? Tar sands oil is filthier to extract and refine than regular oil. Trudeau makes all the right noises, but bows down to the oil money anyway.

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  • lurker111

    It doesn't matter now that the left has admitted that it is all a scam. It's over. After 30+ years of failed fear mongering and bogus predictions, only the blind are left.

  • Chi

    "It doesn't matter now that the left has admitted that it is all a scam"

    Where has "the left" admitted it's a scam?

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    So let me understand, FOAS, you believe worry outside of action is fruitful and find my approach of managing my economic and political choices useless? I find that surprising. I'll take doers over worriers every day and twice on Sunday.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    The inability to edit is maddening. Apologies for the typos.

  • foodonastump

    Zalco it seems I misinterpreted your posts and if that’s the case I apologize. Sounds like you are actively doing your part. You‘re not alone, but there are far from enough who so. Hence the importance of passing on the concern to our kids. What else will motivate them if not the grim reality of where we’re headed? If our elected leaders’ inaction is any indication, we’ve done a poor job of doing “what we can.”

  • foodonastump

    (Ditto on editing typos. Even if I can see them (iPhone 6 and no reading glasses) it’s too much of s PItA to fix

  • vgkg Z-7 Va

    Stockpiling dangerous waste whether it be nuclear rods, coal ash, etc is just a ticking time bomb waiting for the next earthquake or 1,000 year flood to mix it up into our soil, air, and water environment.

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others


    9 hours ago

    Where is Adams wrong in the letter to children?


    Have you ever talked to a child?

    Two minutes.

    That’s your window of attention. After that they drift. This letter drones on for about five minutes when read aloud.

    Short sentences should be used. Simple vocabulary that matches their comprehension level is needed.

    Like what I did here.

    That’s what he did wrong if he is truly addressing children. But we all know he’s not. He’s pretending to address children while actually riling up people who agree with him. So he’s just exploiting the abstract idea of “children” to foment unrest.

    I thought it was bad to use children that way?

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I don't think Adams has children in his audience. Saying Dear Children here is meant to represent a message for children to be carried by the adults who read the missive. Using an epistle format to convey a message is pretty standard. I don't see this as deceiving.

  • ubro

    And while you decry Trump, what has Trudeau done about the tar sands? Tar sands oil is filthier to extract and refine than regular oil. Trudeau makes all the right noises, but bows down to the oil money anyway.

    Trust me I agree with you, but it is not just Trudeau but before him all PMO's did the same and Scheer will (as well as Trudeau) in the future.

    I am listening to Scheer this morning and he has stated, that if he is elected, for every regulation on the books he will eliminate two, and he did not rule out this including environmental regulations applied to industry, including clean water. WTH, who eliminates two regulations on the basis of reducing red tape?

    I don't support the tar sands but again, money talks and Alberta tar sands has money. Any politician that takes on Alberta oil will eliminate themselves politically, and put Canada into a crisis of separation once again.

    I failed to point out the tar sands not because I don't want to condemn it or portray Canada as some type of 'better', but because I slipped up. I also condemn our faux recycle program, and the shipping of waste to poorer nations.

    I think my point is that if we do not collectively push the environment to the forefront of issues govt. will fail to act. Just like ours fails to act on the Tar Sand issue.

    I live in a province that mines Uranium that ships yellow cake out to other countries. I am not opposed to possible nuclear options for energy, I just don't trust that those aims will be done without greed and power muddying all the good intentions.

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others

    “I don't see this as deceiving.”

    I don’t see it as deceiving either.

    It is blatantly obvious what he is doing.

    And I don’t like it.

    Kids need to be educated, this is not the way to do it, and I see it as exploitative. Not exploiting a certain child, but exploiting people’s feelings toward their children. Not cool in my opinion and definitely not going to advance his message past those who already believe it.

    Now if he had begun with “Dear Parents Everywhere” I would have no objection.

    but to be honest I was reacting to catkin’s question of “where did he go wrong in his letter to children.”

  • Chi

    For every "fact" he uses that agrees with his argument, there are other facts that disagree.

    He's cherry-picking the ones that fit his narrative and doing exactly what he's accusing the "climate scarers" of doing.

    He's trying to convince children there's nothing to worry about, and that's just not true. It's not beneficial for children to be anxious but they must be aware. Surely there's some middle ground between panic and being told it's all a lie. Reasonable steps that everyone can take to help.

    There is no downside to helping the environment.

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others

    This is why it would have been nice if governments were promoting a calm, rational, consistent policy of conservation and responsible consumption right along.

    Kids understand the concept of “we don’t know for sure what the future holds but we are doing x, y, and z to make sure we are making the least amount of impact possible.” They understand a hierarchy of needs and they can understand trying to make the best of a bad situation.

    People like the letter writer or the critics of Greta Thunberg want to reduce kids to brainless idiots until they “grow up.” The letter writer did it by addressing his letter to children but writing it to adults. Greta’s critics do it by dismissing her as a puppet.

  • catkinZ8a

    Thanks for stating the obvious for our readers who don't get it.


    Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I don't think Adams has children in his audience. Saying Dear Children here is meant to represent a message for children to be carried by the adults who read the missive. Using an epistle format to convey a message is pretty standard. I don't see this as deceiving.

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others

    Oh we get it. We just don’t like it.

  • Carro

    Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I don't think Adams has children in his audience. Saying Dear Children here is meant to represent a message for children to be carried by the adults who read the missive. Using an epistle format to convey a message is pretty standard. I don't see this as deceiving.

    I see it as age-appropriate honesty and frankly, he's not taking advantage of their lack of sophistication.

  • catkinZ8a

    Naw, you don't get it.

  • ubro

    Thanks for stating the obvious for our readers who don't get it.

    I get it, I also get that in addressing it to children he is trying to push his cherry picked points forward to change the minds of.......children, pot or kettle

  • ubro

    Naw, you don't get it.

    Are you judge and jury of what other people understand?

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others

    If I read that letter to the average six year old eyes would get big at the first sentence about adults scaring him/her then those eyes would glaze over under the sheer volume of words.

    If I gave that letter to an average eight year old to read, the reaction would be “huh?”

    The average twelve year old would have lots of good questions. Some of which would have to do with climate change. The rest would probably revolve around “why isn’t the government doing these things? Why should I care where rich people build their houses?” Etc.

    A 14-16 year old is going to be infuriated that he is patronizing them.

    I get it. I get who his audience is, I get what his point is. I even agree with some of his thoughts.

    I just refuse to pretend that he’s doing it “for the children.”

    Do you think he is, catkin?

  • catkinZ8a

    Of course not, Urbo.

    It's my opinion.

  • ubro

    What was that about there's never been any problems with storing nuclear waste?

    As I said upthread, I live in a province that has Uranium mining, although it has declined in the last years. We have yellow cake being trucked down our main highways, over our one bridge into the city, and right thru the middle of town and further south to be shipped out by rail.

    Scientists say it doesn't pose a high risk to human and animal health if stored and handled properly. However, it is a radioactive substance, which means merely standing close to yellowcake without protective clothing can cause organ damage. The level of damage, which includes cancer, depends on how much pure uranium there is in the yellowcake and how long you've been exposed to it. Ingesting or inhaling the dust of yellowcake is the most serious form of exposure.

    The dangers of nuclear power is not only about the final destination, but about all aspects of the mining process itself.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va

    sad, just sad

  • vgkg Z-7 Va

    Yes, a child who is more articulate than trump could ever be.

  • miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,maifleur,others

    If the MAGA hat Covington kids can know and speak their minds at 15/16/17, why can’t Greta?

    Are they marionettes? Brainwashed by their parents?


    They are all passionate young adults. They all deserve a voice and to be shown respect (eta yes, even those who are disrespectful should be shown respect with a clear admonition that “in the adult world we behave with courtesy,” along with a modelling of that courtesy.)

    I don’t happen to believe that people this age should be speaking to world leaders on the world stage no matter their political position.

    But to say or imply that a teen who does so is brainwashed, or exploited, or a puppet shows a remarkable misunderstanding of the minds of teens.

  • margaritadina



    energy is the worst. Remember, it isn't about the climate and a puny 1
    degree change in the meaningless average...It's all about the
    redistribution of any and all wealth, and taking over the energy
    industry. Money for the wealthy from taxing the poor.


    Exactly. And mentally ill child will lead us.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va

    Too late, you already voted him into office.

  • heri _ cles

    Nuclear energy used to be dangerous, back in the olden days.

    More people have died installing solar panels and
    falling off roofs than have died from nuclear power problems anywhere in
    the world for the past few decades.


    The "olden days" what does that mean to kids?

    Chernobyl in 1986

    Fukushima in 2011.

    This is an article filled with half-truths..a dastardly way to try to indoctrinate children,,,kind of like how religion is taught to children.

    And someone was ranting about liberal indoctrination of children around here recently.

  • Ziemia

    3 Mile Island was a big deal until we saw how bad it could be.

  • Kathy

    Calling Greta mentally ill shows fear of the truth she speaks. Attacking the messenger instead of the message.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    What bad thing happened at Three Mile Island? Please explain. No one died, and the sum total for radiation emitted was less than a banana's worth.

    As for Chernobyl and Fukushima, how many deaths? Those power plants were not up to US standards and if climate scientists and epidemiologists are to be believed, far more people have died of pollution related deaths than nuclear ones.

    I understand how we see a catastrophic possibility and blow it out of proportion in our imagination. And yet we ignore the things we do every day that have catastrophic consequences. But bandying about nonsense about nuclear dangers in the face of what burning fossil fuels has done to the planet and human health is not helpful.

    People left of center blocked nuclear at every turn insisting their fears were more valid than the science that showed how safe the technology was. As a society we decided to trust our imagination and maintain the status quo. Now the left of center say pollution from fossil fuels threatens life on earth. I agree. But doubling down on anti science, and anti evidence is irresponsible. Nuclear is safe. Those who can't understand that simple fact, based on decades of evidence are no better than anti vaxxers.

  • Ziemia

    Yes, coal burning has killed many.

  • socks

    zalco, I didn't read all the other replies, but the Hanford site has had a collapsed tunnel and leaking canisters.

    Ask Japan how they are doing with Fukushima. Not all nuclear plants would be at risk of an earthquake/tsunami, but Diablo Canyon in California would be at risk in my opinion.

  • catkinZ8a

    Where's the letter to the children from liberals?

    We'd love to read it.

  • Ziemia

    Though sticking a nuclear plant in Wyoming might be worth exploring.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Hanford has leaks (there are always leaks) and those leaks are contained so no one can get hurt. BTW, Hanford's waste is from bomb making, not power plants. Power plants require less enriched uranium, thus they have less waste.

    Fukushima has many ongoing problems so bad that I don't think it can ever be contained. As i mentioned above, Fukushima was never to US standards.

    Sure Diablo Canyon is at risk of earthquakes, but so is everything along the coast of California. This risk has updated over the life of the plant, and efforts have been made to update the plant structurally to protect the plant.

    The bottom line is no catastrophes have befallen commercial or military nuclear power plants in the US. Not only has nothing terrible happened, nothing mildly bad has happened. Burning fossil fuels has caused a catastrophe.

  • cait1

    @ Miss Linsey

    Kids need to be educated... Have you ever talked to a child? Two minutes. That’s your window of attention.

    I could educate them on CC/AGW in less than that...

    'Children, everything they taught you in school about global warming is wrong. Now go look up the Minoan Warming Period, Roman Warming Period, Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age (Maunder Minimum)."

    Homeschooling at its best.

  • batyabeth

    "plus lots of green power from solar, wind, and more."

    So how exactly is this going to happen if climate change really isn't that scary? No one will invest in these technologies until change becomes inevitable, and the article is saying it's not at all, nothing to see here, no worries. So who is going to invest, develop, install and support all these new - and apparently unnecessary - innovations?

  • nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

    Rather than limit consideration to the number of immediate deaths due to nuclear power, we should look at the cancer (and other illnesses) caused by long-term exposure to radiation leaks. And not just for humans, given the contamination of the ocean by the disaster at Fukushima.

    Re nuclear power plants in California and earthquakes -- please remember that the 1994 Northridge earthquake was caused by a previously unknown fault. Just recently, a fault was discovered running through Hollywood (which has caused problems for a nearby proposed housing development). What else is out there?

    My understanding is that a major deterrent to development of new nuclear power plants in the US is that underwriters will not insure the plants.

  • margaritadina



    Calling Greta mentally ill shows fear of the truth she speaks. Attacking the messenger instead of the message.


    Greta IS mentally ill. And acts accordingly to Aspenger's - talks obsessively about one specific topic.

    I am not attacking her, I am recognizing the truth. I am not afraid of her either...why would I be? She is a tool, nothing more.

  • margaritadina


    Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    waste, specifically the spent fuel rods, are stored in the bottom of
    indoor pools located at the nuclear plants. They really aren't big and
    can hold all of the spent fuel rods that the plant will ever make. You
    can safely enter the pool room and observe the rods deep underwater. As
    for the low level wastes, such as the used white suits you wear, are
    stuffed into barrels that are put in the room. Low level wastes present
    little if no radiation threat.


    In the meantime in Japan:

    Fukushima: Japan will have to dump radioactive water into Pacific, minister says

    More than a million tonnes of contaminated water lies in storage but power company says it will run out of space by 2022

  • margaritadina


    Zalco/bring back Sophie! As for Chernobyl and Fukushima, how many deaths?


    Chernobyl survivors kids were blasted with thyroid cancer. There is no real statistics, though. Who will keep it, a totalitarian regime? There are also people that never left the area, even the worst part of it, and they are still alive and non cancerous.

    Wild life in Chernobyl is thriving. Nature is doing so well dealing even with radiation that it brings up pretty unpleasant thought - if all humans disappeared, Earth will be a lovely place. Humans don't belong.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!


    Yes, the destruction and nuclear release caused by Fukushima is horrific and is having world-wide consequences. I have already explained several times that the Fukushima plant was built to poor standards and really very little has been done to contain the mess. The world will suffer for a very long time. But, the US plants are built and operated to much higher standards so that such a disaster could never happen. Maybe, I covered this in the other tgread on the same topic occuring in parallel to this one.

    The same is the case with Chernobyl.

  • margaritadina

    Zalco, but poorly built nuclear plants somewhere other than the US are still a threat. The cloud from Chernobyl headed straight to Western Europe, Fukushima contaminated the ocean waters and people of Kamchatka and the rest of Russian ocean line still don't consume ocean fish....Traces of F radiation were found even in Ca wine

    How many oceans creatures were affected no one will ever know.

    My point is - even of we build super safe NPPs, there always be a neighbor to screw it up for us...

    Fukushima NPP was engineered and run in conjunction with General Electric by the way

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