The old yet always relevant joke is that environmentalists are like watermelons, green on the outside but red(s) on the inside. If there have ever been any delusions to the contrary, they should have been erased by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, paid for by energy bought from Russia because eco-radicals have successfully cut fossil fuel production in the West.
Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee held a “hearing to examine the use of energy as a tool and a weapon.” In the hands of Russia, the tool has been sharpened, the weapon made more lethal by advanced nations’ increased reliance on that country’s oil and gas due to policy decisions demanded by green zealots.
Maybe there’s an argument to be made that environmental activists and their allies among elected officials (and unelected United Nations officials who wield great power) are merely useful or accidental idiots, their goals coincidentally empowering regimes that are hardly democratically representative of their populations.
If so, it would be a weak one.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal plan alone refutes the argument. While its supporters claim it’s an effort to tame the climate, it is, as the New York Democrat’s former chief of staff admitted in what he thought was a private conversation, “a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
It’s wasn’t the first time a prominent green zealot has let the truth slip.
In 2015, Christiana Figueres, one-time executive secretary of United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted the objective of climate activism is “to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.” One environmentalist of some apparent renown has even admitted “climate contrarians and the greens actually agree that climate change means we have to dismantle industrial civilization.” The difference is the former doesn’t want to pull down industrialization while the latter does.
More recently, a book has been printed by academic publisher Routledge which blames “our relatively unbounded freedom” on “so much ecological devastation.” Apparently the authors believe “liberty and agency need to be rethought,” and our choices “limited if we hope to survive the climatic transitions set in motion by uncontrolled consumption of resources and energy over the past 150 years.”
Without fail, the solutions to environmental problems offered by the left are socialist in nature, a Democratic Party wish list for bigger and more coercive government.
Truth is, some of the figures in the movement themselves are socialists. Think of Carol Browner, who was called the “climate czar” of the Obama administration. At one time she was affiliated with Socialist International, which calls itself “the worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor parties.” Browner was a member of the organization’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society, drawn up to “articulate from the world of progressive politics a way forward to address global environmental concerns, climate change and the issues of governance required to deal with these common challenges.”
We acknowledge Russia today is not the communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. However, it remains a nasty regime under Putin, and though the red menace no longer exists, Russia retains features of the Soviet system that happen to be of the sort environmental warriors prefer: state ownership or control of industry, weak property rights protections, a government with strong, centralized power, and a general lack of liberty.
Despite the common ground, few environmentalists in the West would side with Russia. Yet they’ve given great aid and comfort to the Putin government by using their political heft to curtail fossil fuel production in the U.S. and other advanced nations. The fact is, they don’t care who their allies are as long as they can continue their war on capitalism, which, through the widespread prosperity it creates, is the only system actually capable of keeping the environment clean.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board