Once upon a time, the language of climate science – emissions, greenhouse gasses, melting ice caps, carbon taxes, cap and trade, and more – was all politically neutral, if occasionally sensational, but suddenly it’s downright socialist, dominated by the progressive cliches of the day from climate equity to climate justice.
I’ll admit it up front: I’ve been skeptical of “climate science” since it was branded global warming in the 1990’s. I’d already lived through the acid rain and ozone scares, and was familiar enough with the overpopulation craze of the 1960’s and 1970’s to doubt that this one was the real deal. Of course, it didn’t help matters that the promised Armageddon never came when New York City remained above water and so-called solutions to the crisis were inevitably what progressives have wanted to implement for over a hundred years. One would think a new crisis, one never before seen in the history of the world, would require innovative new strategies, but instead it was the same old watered down combination of increased government control over private enterprise and increased government spending to transform the economy. The future, apparently, could only be secure if we handed over control of the entire energy industry to the experts in government, who would tell us where to live, what and how much to drive, how and how much to heat our home, and even what to eat. Essentially, the vaunted public option and Medicare for all pipedreams that needed to be applied to healthcare, would have to be applied to energy as well, or the future of the entire human race would be at risk. At the same time, this was cloaked initially as a scientific agenda and a necessary plan for all of the planet. The language used – emissions, greenhouse gasses, melting ice caps, carbon taxes, cap and trade, and more – was all politically neutral, if occasionally sensational. One needed to look beneath the surface to understand that the policy prescriptions would grow the government in size and power, which many skeptics like myself and even some who believe in the overall theory concluded, quickly. In other words, the progressive nature of the agenda was hidden in plain sight, but over the course of the past decade something has radically changed and climate science now wears its socialist bonafides openly on the sleeve as it were.
Today, climate equity and climate justice dominate the debate, culling from both the equity instead of equality craze and the social justice instead of equal justice trend. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a technical definition of climate equity for those inclined to fully understand the impact. “Climate change does not affect all people equally. Some communities experience disproportionate impacts because of existing vulnerabilities, historical patterns of inequity, socioeconomic disparities, and systemic environmental injustices (e.g., redlining). People who already face the greatest burdens are often the ones affected most by climate change.” This is the language of Critical Race Theory transposed directly to climate, and the result should not be surprising. The white man is responsible, whatever the issue at hand, and he must fork over the money and freedom to fix it. As such, The Los Angeles Times recently opined that “white and affluent drivers are polluting the air breathed by L.A.’s people of color.” Apparently, a new “study” from University of Southern California researchers “found” that people who drive more “tend to be exposed to less air pollution” and those “who drive less tend to be exposed to more.” “It may sound like a paradox, but it’s not. It’s a function of the racism that shaped this city and its suburbs, and continues to influence our daily lives — and a stark reminder of the need for climate solutions that benefit everyone,” claimed the Times. The study itself declared that “Vehicular air pollution has created an ongoing air quality and public health crisis. Despite growing knowledge of racial injustice in exposure levels, less is known about the relationship between the production of and exposure to such pollution.” The problem, in their mind, is that the roads are racist too, as we have heard from President Joe Biden’s Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg. “Decades of racially motivated freeway infrastructure planning and residential segregation shape today’s disparities in who produces vehicular air pollution and who is exposed to it, but opportunities exist for urban planning and transport policy to mitigate this injustice.” Perhaps needless to say, the solution, or at least a key part of it, is higher taxes and less driving. In their view “policymakers could enact tolls or other forms of congestion taxes to reduce total driving.” This is social justice in action: The solution is always to reduce the one to supposedly help the other, never to actually fix the problem, only to take and redistribute.
The definition of “climate justice” makes this goal explicit. The United Nations quoted the former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, on the topic in a 2019 blog post. They set the stage by noting, “The impacts of climate change will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations. Consequently, there has been a growing focus on climate justice, which looks at the climate crisis through a human rights lens and on the belief that by working together we can create a better future for present and future generations.” President Robinson herself claimed that climate justice “insists on a shift from a discourse on greenhouse gasses and melting ice caps into a civil rights movement with the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts at its heart” almost exactly as I suggested earlier, politically neutral must become politically charged. “Now, thanks to the recent marches, strikes and protests by hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren, we have begun to understand the intergenerational injustice of climate change,” she continued, identifying young people as the stormtroopers in this socialist revolution as many have done before her. They are the “means of implementation” and “creators of opportunities” for what can only be described as progressive change. Rather than simply saving the world as they have claimed for decades, they have moved on to remaking it in their image, taking from one and giving to the other, those they consider more deserving for whatever reason. Lest you doubt that, consider what possible differential impact there could be on a married man and woman that live in the same house. One might argue that where a person lives is a factor in determining any supposed impact of climate change, but two people that occupy the same house or block would feel the same effects irrespective of gender, race, creed, or color, and yet they put it right there in print, pitting women against men and everything else.
The UN, in general, is all in on this change of mission. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was once considered the gold standard in distilling climate science into policy action despite a dreadful track record of actually using science that predicts future reality, released its latest report earlier this week. Equity is now at the forefront of their thinking and policy prescriptions along with the usual fear that we are all doomed if we don’t do what they say immediately, or preferably yesterday. “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,” the report’s authors wrote, combining language they have used many times before with the new socialist inspired terms of the day. This they promptly position as the ultimate win-win because, of course, it is given there is never any downside to growth in government. Nothing bad could possibly happen if the same people in charge of the pandemic were in charge of every aspect of your life that requires energy, which is pretty much all of it. “Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits,” IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee wrote in an accompanying statement. The report, in his view, “shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a liveable sustainable future for all.” Of course, none of this is accidental either. NBC News reported that “Climate justice concerns and culpability for the crisis were in the spotlight as scientists and government officials sought agreement on the report’s findings over the weekend,” suggesting that the report itself and these recommendations are being intentionally politicized for progressive ends because that is the way the world works today.
Thus, it is no surprise to see the Observed Changes and Impacts section note, “Vulnerable communities who have historically contributed the least to current climate change are disproportionately affected (high confidence).” Nor is it any surprise to see these claims based on specious logic. “Between 2010 and 2020, human mortality from floods, droughts and storms was 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions, compared to regions with very low vulnerability.” This metric is probably true on the surface, but the mortality rate itself has nothing to do with climate change unless we are to assume floods, droughts, and storms didn’t occur at all before global warming. The truth is that the decline in deaths from natural disasters is a function of improvements in infrastructure in developed countries. Consider, the United States once had a much higher death rate, exceeding even the 15 times factor referenced by the IPCC. In 1900, storms alone killed 6,000 people, but by 2021, they killed less than 300 amid a total of 770 for all natural disasters in the entire year. That this declined occurred during the very same period climate change activists claim these natural disasters increased in intensity, reveals the underlying falsehood of their statement and the essential socialism of their plan: All inequities are now climate inequities, and any inequity requires government control and wealth transfers whatever the root cause. As they conclude, in a section helpfully titled “Equity and Inclusion” to ensure one cannot mistake their meaning, “Prioritising equity, climate justice, social justice, inclusion and just transition processes can enable adaptation and ambitious mitigation actions and climate resilient development. Adaptation outcomes are enhanced by increased support to regions and people with the highest vulnerability to climatic hazards. Integrating climate adaptation into social protection programs improves resilience. Many options are available for reducing emission-intensive consumption, including through behavioural and lifestyle changes, with co-benefits for societal well-being.” One can imagine what these changes will be based on past suggestions that the lockdowns instituted for the pandemic were a good start to combating global warming.
Ultimately, this is all a concerted push to hop on the progressive bandwagon and ride it to a future utopia, and yet the sudden change in strategy from politically neutral to intentionally charged is equal parts explicable and inexplicable in my opinion. Inexplicable because proponents of global warming insist it is an existential threat to the planet that requires unprecedented action by the entire population to mitigate. Using language that is controversial and divisive to conservatives and some moderates certainly isn’t going to help build the consensus they themselves say is required to address the threat. Right, wrong, or indifferent, a significant percentage of the population hears words like “equity,” “diversity,” and “inclusion” and will never support anything that follows under any circumstances. Explicable because the progressive left – of which the global warming movement has always been a part – believes their ideology is ascendent and is no longer interested in convincing anyone of anything. In this view, every topic from what your children learn in school, to the car you drive, to the utility that provides water to your home, is part of the progressive experiment and any disagreement is inherently racist. The prioritization of this experiment over all things couldn’t be more apparent than in this sudden global warming shift: The planet is on fire they tell us, and yet they still manage to find the time to go woke.