Issues & Insights

Putin’s Invasion Shows Green Activists Still Red On The Inside

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

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.


I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Property rights? We’ve had no problem since the Ukraine-Russia situation to seize the assets of Russians around the world. It’s okay when we do it!

  • “Despite the common ground, few environmentalists in the West would side with Russia. ”

    Sure they do. They simply don’t understand HOW they are doing so.

  • Most all hardline Eco-Freaks beleive that the Earth Owns Us not the other way around many are into this Gaia hyoothasisof James Lovelock some Hollywood Wackos like John Ritter(Threes Company)was into this whole thing and the late Peter Berlie who tried t o change the Audubon Society then w as in the Sierra Club said WE REJCT THE IDEA OF PRIVATE PROPERTY which showed his leftists leanings

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!
%d bloggers like this: