[Make sure to read Joseph Klein’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has made many fear-mongering declarations about climate change over the last several years. This past July, he raised his decibel level of hysteria by claiming that the “era of global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived.” To underscore his clarion call to action by world leaders gathering in New York City for the UN’s annual General Assembly High-Level Week, the Secretary General decided to convene a Climate Ambition Summit on September 20th. Never mind the huge carbon footprints created by all the foreign dignitaries flying into New York to blow hot air as usual.
The objective of the UN Climate Ambition Summit is to go beyond the commitments that countries made in 2015 as part of the Paris agreement on climate change. UN member state governments and private sector stakeholders are expected to step forward with detailed plans of action to combat climate change with mitigation and adaptation measures, and to deliver commitments for funding the achievement of “climate justice.”
Discussing his climate summit, Secretary General Guterres declared that “the planet can’t wait.” He wants rich countries to take “a quantum leap in their efforts to reduce emissions,” in order to prevent average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels. China, however, gets a free pass, despite the fact that it remains the world’s number one emitter of greenhouse gasses and continues to build an abundance of coal-fired plants. The UN and other multilateral organizations still treat China as a “developing” country, even though its economy ranks globally as the second largest.
In the lead-up to the climate summit, climate justice warriors are taking to the streets, conducting disruptive protests to demand an end to fossil fuels now. This follows a years-long pattern of actions that have included defacement of works of art at museums, occupation of buildings, deflating tires of SUVs, and blocking traffic for extended periods of time – in capitalist countries, of course. Not in Communist China.
Although these militant tactics have often backfired by antagonizing many people whose lives have been significantly disrupted as a result of the militants’ actions, the climate justice warriors are doubling down.
On September 7th, climate militants from a far-Left group called Extinction Rebellion disrupted the U.S. Open tennis event, claiming that it was necessary, in its words, “to bring mass attention to the greatest emergency of our time.” One of the protesters glued his feet to the floor. An amateur tennis player, who is an Extinction Rebellion activist, stated, “The disruption generated is pale in comparison to the climate crisis, which has already surpassed its equivalent of a ‘Pearl Harbor’ moment.”
On September 14th, climate militants from Extinction Rebellion, along with New York Communities for Change and Stop the Money Pipeline, blocked entrances to a Manhattan Citigroup headquarters facility for two hours, preventing employees from entering the building. Twenty-four of the militants were arrested. Citibank is “torching the planet,” said one of the protesters, “so the least we can do is disrupt business as usual.” He warned, “Citi must change their ways, or we’ll be back.”
Agitators have periodically targeted Citigroup and other financial institutions such as BlackRock for financing fossil fuel projects. They won’t stop, and will probably escalate their disruptive actions, so long as their antics get attention from sympathetic media outlets.
On September 17th, the March to End Fossil Fuels took place in New York City, aimed at pressuring President Joe Biden to declare a national climate emergency and “take bolder action to stop fossil fuels.” Tens of thousands of protesters took part in the march. “Fossil fuels are killing us,” one sign read.
Democratic-Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whipped up the crowd. “This issue is the issue, one of the most important issues of our time,” she said. “We must be too big and too radical to ignore.” Echoing the theme of the march, she added, “We are all here for one reason: to end fossil fuels around the planet.”
The organizers of the March to End Fossil Fuels espouse an anti-capitalist ideology that harkens back to the days of Occupy Wall Street more than a decade ago. Its website states that “Justice must ground the transition off fossil fuels to redress the climate, colonialist, racist, socioeconomic, and ecological injustices of the fossil fuel era.”
It is only fitting that the day after this march climate militants went back to the site where Occupy Wall Street was centered, Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. There they kicked off what its organizers described as mass civil disobedience to demand an end to the fossil fuel industry.
Members of local and national militant climate groups proceeded to blockade financial institutions, including the Federal Reserve building’s bronze doors, to show how serious they were in demanding an end to fossil fuel investments. Arrests followed but the demonstrators were unfazed. “If you arrest one of us, 100 more will come,” they chanted.
“I hope that the fossil fuel financiers understand this is an escalation and as long as they continue to invest in fossil fuels we will continue to escalate,” said Alicé Nascimento, one of the event organizers and the campaigns director for climate advocacy group New York.
Whether human-caused climate change is blamed for “boiling” the planet, “torching” the planet, or posing the “existential” threat of our time to the planet and humankind, such inflammatory rhetoric is fearmongering at its worst. It is counterproductive and utterly out of touch with reality.
People who are concerned about the climate but have good heads on their shoulders should tune out the alarmists’ heated rhetoric altogether. Instead, they should listen to Dr. Jim Skea, a renowned climate scientist who was recently appointed to head the UN’s flagship body offering scientific advice related to climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). A professor of sustainable energy at London’s Imperial College, Dr. Skea was a significant contributor to the work of the IPCC for years before becoming its chair. He takes a measured and nuanced approach to addressing the challenges presented by climate change.
Dr. Skea has warned against apocryphal warnings of doom if the 1.5 degrees Celsius benchmark is breached.
“The world won’t end if it warms by more than 1.5 degrees,” Dr. Skea said in an interview with Der Spiegel. While acknowledging the dangers if that benchmark is exceeded, Dr. Skea debunked the idea that this would pose an existential threat to humanity.
“If you constantly communicate the message that we are all doomed to extinction, then that paralyzes people and prevents them from taking the necessary steps to get a grip on climate change,” Dr. Skea said in another interview. He pointed to the vital role that innovative technology “like the underground capture of CO2” can play in providing real solutions to the climate change problem.
Dr. Skea warned against efforts to tell people how to live or what to eat as the way to address climate change. “With all these things it’s about real people and their real lives, not scientific abstractions,” he said. “We need to come down a level.”
However, globalists and climate activists are so invested in supporting the climate-industrial complex with their doomsday prophesies that they are doing precisely the opposite of what Dr. Skea has advised. These ideologues are ramping up hysteria to pressure government and business leaders into doing their bidding, willfully dismissing the reasonable counsel from a well-respected climate science expert, IPCC’s current leader, who knows whereof he speaks.