GRETA Thunberg is surprisingly good at a trick many of us strive to perfect. She has an effortless ability to wind up right-wing men, especially those who hide behind the false flag of libertarianism when, in fact, their values are entirely in line with bitter and opinionated conservatives.

I like Greta and there are hundreds of reasons why.

As a young teenager, I was always on the lookout for ways to skive off school, so I have jealous interest in her skolstrejk for klimatet. She has given purpose and moral authority to dodgers everywhere.

What a week it’s been for Greta – her appearance at the UN Climate Action Summit, a brief scowl at Donald Trump and a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize has sent the gammonista into a frenzy of loathing.

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You just have to launch the hashtag “#Greta” and the haters come fulminating to the surface like splenetic cocks.

David Icke – God’s gift to irrationality – has described Greta as an “elite pawn in a game she doesn’t understand”, fuelling a now-familiar put-down that she is in some way an empty vessel parroting the views of her parents, or worse, a sinister cabal of left-wingers and climate change zealots.

A Fox News commentator responding to her UN speech called Thunberg “a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left”.

Aaron Banks, the one-time Ukip funder and more recently financial stoker of Leave.EU, recently wrote that “freak yachting accidents do happen”, a crass comment that wished tragedy on Thunberg as she sailed to New York in what everyone except her detractors knew was a publicity stunt.

In case there was any doubt, to confirm that she makes the wealthy seethe, French billionaire Bernard Arnault, the owner of luxury brands Moet-Chandon and Louis Vuitton, and the second-richest man in the world, told his investors: “She’s a dynamic young girl, but she’s surrendering completely to catastrophism ... I find that her views are demoralising for young people.” One of the saddening things about the attacks on Greta is that they mainly come from older men, mostly baby-boomers who came to their own teenage years in the 1960s, a time supposedly marked by youthful idealism.

Are they angry at themselves for failing idealism? Have they surrendered their own generational mission to change the world to ageing conformity and smug complacency? Or have they always been self-centred dyspeptics?

I readily confess I have a dog in this fight. My son Jack is autistic and high functioning. Although they no longer use the classification in Scotland, he has Asperger syndrome, the autism spectrum disorder that Greta has also been diagnosed with.

I suppose the similarities have made me super-sensitive and angry to the point of parental defensiveness. I despise the way this young woman is being demeaned, bullied and humiliated by older men whose cynicism and tired opinions are a substantial part of the problems we face today.

READ MORE: Greta Thunberg: Saving the planet is only thing that matters

I cannot watch Greta without thinking what kind of life the wee man will have – will he reach up to her intellect, will he travel to New York as a teenager, will he give a speech in public, will he have an independent life and will he have to suffer the same brutal bullying?

I hope this is not too sentimental, but I want him to have a planet to grow up in, I want him to be able to chase butterflies, run away from wasps and pretend to eat worms if only to infuriate his mother. I want him to grow up surrounded by the ecosystems that Greta Thunberg reminds us are being wrecked.

In a brilliant article in the New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells dubbed Greta the ‘‘Joan of Arc of climate change’’ – a young woman who is “waging a rhetorical war against her elders through the unapologetic use of generational shame”.

HE goes on to explain why her autism is not simply a factor in her rise to prominence but a driving dynamic. “She has called her atypicality a ‘superpower’ and has been quite open and unguarded about the details,” Wallace-Wells reports. “As a young child, she says, she was diagnosed not only with Asperger’s but obsessive-compulsive disorder and what’s called ‘selective mutism’.

“Beginning at age 11, seized by a deep depression about the fate of the world, she stopped talking and eating. That has led, she says, to the stunted growth that today gives her the appearance of a preteen, a wise-beyond-her-years golden child.

“Greta’s short address to the Climate Change Summit was strangely compelling: as if social communication was still an impairment to be overcome. It peaked with the warning: ‘People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.’”

This last phrase should resonate powerfully at home here in Scotland. The First Minister has been trying to nudge our national conscience in this direction too, along with leading politicians around the world Nicola Sturgeon argues that perpetual economic growth cannot be sustained and that future societies will be judged on a “wellbeing” index – how the economy provides health, happiness and prosperity – not “the fairytales of growth”.

A recent report in the Lancet, Humanising Health And Climate Change, has published a warning that should concern all new parents: “Today’s babies, by adulthood, will live on a planet without an Arctic. Prevalence of heatstroke and extreme weather will have redefined global labour and production beyond recognition... and multiple cities will be uninhabitable.”

Or as the hip American magazine Wired infamously put it: “Your planet’s on fire, kids.”

One of the most curious angles of attack on Greta Thunberg has been an upsurge of articles implying that her fame is unfairly attracting attention away from other climate-savvy teenagers. It’s an argument that eats itself. The world is bulging with young people determined to change public attitudes to the climate crisis and each new school strike underlines how big and wide-ranging this movement has become.

Greta Thunberg is not claiming the movement for herself. On the contrary, she shows many signs of wanting others to take up the burden of leadership. The many thousands of young activists that have blocked the streets of our global cities use the slogan “Greta has a Posse”, a smart tribal retort to the idea that she stands alone.

Her powerful message to the United Nations has been cut and pasted, shared and shown in probably every school in Scotland. “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words...”

2019 has been a tragic year for climate change and its impacts. For all the crowded protests and the governmental frameworks, and for all the advances in wind and wave power, here in Scotland most informed commentators tell us that our actions are not enough, not nearly enough.

The bleak reality is that we haven’t dented the age-old decades of carbon emissions and that the perilous future for low-lying countryside and over-heated countries is already overwhelming us.