Kids in the city will be missing school today for the nationwide “Climate Strike.” They might see it as a small sacrifice: Who needs an education to prepare for tomorrow when tomorrow is a dubious proposition? Truth is, they probably have no idea just how silly are the things they’re promoting.
“We, the youth of America, are striking because the science says we have just a few years to transform our energy system, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the worst effects of climate change,” the manifesto of the Youth Climate Strike (one of the event’s sponsors) begins. That sobering sentence is followed by a set of profoundly unserious demands, beginning with 400 words on why this all-consuming threat to the very habitability of the planet is most pronounced for women and minorities.
Strikers assert that “marginalized communities,” including the impoverished, disabled, LGBT and minorities, and the economically displaced should be foremost on the minds of policymakers.
The game is further given up when the strikers endorse progressive reforms that relate to climate change only as a result of a stretch of the imagination. Among them, the creation of state-owned banks, affordable housing, “local living-wage jobs” and “fully paid quality health care” for affected populations.
All this fits with the organizer’s prime directive: the “implementation of a Green New Deal,” the bulk of which is only tangentially related to environmentalism.
It calls for the shuttering of all fossil-fuel-generating power plants, replacing the country’s energy grid, upgrading and renovating “every residential and industrial building” in America, reducing US productive agricultural capacity, retiring the combustion engine and phasing out fossil fuels entirely by 2030.
“The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” confesses Saikat Chakrabarti, former chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” He wasn’t kidding.
As for the strikers, clearly they seem to want it every which way. Take their insistence on halting the “creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure.” Though the proposal says we should “respect the contributions of fossil fuel workers” (if only to “reskill” them so they can be productive members of the new utopia), it also insists the country “hold polluters accountable.”
Fossil fuel “executives” will be compelled to “make reparations,” pay for “climate damages” and fund the wholesale transition to technology that doesn’t yet exist.
“All decisions made by the government,” the YCS manifesto adds, should “be tied in scientific research, including the 2018 IPCC report.” It’s fortunate that the strikers didn’t base their worldview on the IPCC’s 2001 assessment report, which predicted that milder winter temperatures would decrease the severity and frequency of snowstorms (it has not).
Nor did the organizers unwisely embrace the 2007 IPCC assessment report, which warned that by 2020 hundreds of millions of people would be affected by “increased water stress,” reducing the yield from food crops. Today, rain-fed yields from agriculture in developed and developing countries are projected to increase dramatically.
The strikers further warn that the world is on the verge of a new “mass species extinction,” also based on UN-sponsored “science.” They’d be heartened to learn how a similar 2007 projection by the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity failed to materialize. Or, at least, they would if they hadn’t suspended critical thought.
Unfortunately for students, the movement is not about education but indoctrination. One of the final demands, “comprehensive climate change education,” is to be aimed at children ages 5 through 14 because “impressionability is high during that developmental stage.”
If the climate threat eventually leads to radical national action, it will only be because the concept is drilled into youngsters “from the beginning.” Of course, it’s unclear why such a long-term strategy is necessary, given that we have only “11 years” left to avert disaster.
Judging from the bizarre, extremist, sloppily composed manifesto, the students who have the city Education Department’s blessing to attend this event clearly won’t be learning much of anything truly “science-based.” The rest of us, however, are learning quite a lot about the climate change movement, and it’s not pretty.
Noah Rothman is the associate editor of Commentary.
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