Radical environmentalists’ giddiness during pandemic exposes their true aims

By Jarrett Stepman | The Daily Signal

As Americans are trapped in their homes, unable to work, and struggling to pay bills due to the threat of a global pandemic, the left has a reminder for us.

The real threat is climate change.

“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.”

That was the message in a March 31 tweet by former President Barack Obama in response to the Trump administration’s rolling back Obama’s fuel economy standards in March.

Wikimedia Commons/Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Americans want to get back to work, and they will. Radical environmentalism provides no path to prosperity, only degrowth and stagnation.

While the country and really the whole world is enmeshed in stopping the COVID-19 pandemic, Obama and many others on the left are desperately trying to get Americans to embrace their agenda.

Incredibly, and certainly revealingly, some on the left even tout our current crisis as some kind of model for how we can address climate change.

Numerous media outlets have published pieces like this touting how the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in carbon emissions.

“The sweeping halt of economic activity around the world has governments scrambling to provide adequate relief for vulnerable industries and people,” a report in The Hill notes. “But one silver lining is emerging from this economic freeze: carbon emissions are down. And scientists estimate that they could fall even farther, specifically to pre-World War II levels.”

Vox writer David Roberts said on Twitter in late March that COVID-19 actually has saved countless lives in China because air pollution wasn’t as bad as it normally would have been.

This is not only a disturbing contention but also underestimates what are almost certainly vastly higher death tolls from COVID-19 than the Chinese communist government admits.

Some environmental activists are clearly excited at the possibilities of “degrowth,” as one environmental economist called the widespread economic contractions that have become possible in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ed Conway, the economics editor of Sky News, had a particularly disturbing take.

“Don’t take this the wrong way but if you were a young, hardline environmentalist looking for the ultimate weapon against climate change, you could hardly design anything better than [the] coronavirus,” Conway wrote. “Unlike most other such diseases, it kills mostly the old who, let’s face it, are more likely to be climate sceptics. It spares the young. Most of all, it stymies the forces that have been generating greenhouse gases for decades.”

Wow. Could this make environmentalists seem any more like comic book villains?

The current economic curtailments are just a taste of what extreme environmentalists actually want for the economy and our way of life. Their goals necessitate these kinds of shutdowns; they want degrowth as our world transitions to its green future.

And some don’t want to let this crisis go to waste, demanding that we pass some variant of the Green New Deal and turn the entire economy over to top-down government planning. If it seems remarkably like socialism, that’s because it is.

But despite the unhealthy excitement among some environmentalists, this moment hardly portends America’s sudden embrace of their radical suggestions.

Just look at how fast the plastic bag bans have been collapsing in the wake of the pandemic.

These bans were already of little utility besides virtue signaling, but when combined with the health hazard of using reusable bags, they have been done away with around the country.

Even progressive San Francisco lifted its plastic bag ban, and in true progressive fashion, made reusable bags illegal.


Whatever isn’t mandatory must be banned, it seems.

But this pandemic likely will have a far greater impact on the minds and actions of Americans than rethinking bag bans.

As Kevin Williamson aptly noted in National Review:

The current crisis in the U.S. economy is, in miniature but concentrated form, precisely what the Left has in mind in response to climate change: shutting down large sectors of the domestic and global economies through official writ, social pressure, and indirect means, in response to a crisis with potentially devastating and wide-ranging consequences for human life and human flourishing.

Spot on.

Our current difficulties only reveal just how much Americans and people across the globe will have to upend their lives to counter climate change the way activists say is necessary to save the planet.

Temporary shutdowns may be necessary to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak, but they are both deeply costly and unsustainable in the long run.

Even with the almost total lockdown of our national and world economy, where millions find themselves unemployed and countless businesses have shut down, it’s still not enough for climate activists who have unreasonable goals and demands.

And as countries emerge from this morass, they are unlikely to eagerly embrace policies that make renewal almost impossible.

The reality is, countries enduring extreme economic hardship are less likely to be mindful of the environment. It’s natural that desperate people who struggle to put food on the table aren’t going to welcome deep economic restrictions that prevent them from improving their own well-being.

In fact, freer, more prosperous societies are more likely to willingly make efforts to clean up the environment.

It’s illuminating to see so many on the environmentalist left looking at the results of economic paralysis as a silver lining in this catastrophe.

Americans want to get back to work, and they will. Radical environmentalism provides no path to prosperity, only degrowth and stagnation.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Edward Kimmel and Wikimedia Commons/Pax Ahimsa Gethen

9 thoughts on “Radical environmentalists’ giddiness during pandemic exposes their true aims

  1. There are energy solutions that can power the world cheaper than we currently have, Bill Gates, ironically is working one.

    Why don’t’ we go toward this solution?

    Why would we need a tax when we could produce clean energy? Cheaper than current energy sources? Why aren’t we looking at these solutions?

    Give us all your money and you’ll be pollution free, how does that work? Where’s the science and economics behind that?

  2. Can’t help but wonder how “spontaneous” and grass routes these protests really are. The signs are certainly professionally made and one has to wonder how many of the sign wavers actually live in the areas in which they are screaming and shouting. And how do they act when the cameras are turned off and the press is not present?. I recall years ago when visiting Odesa in Ukrain. Our group came upon a mob of protesters screaming and flag waving. All of the sudden the commotion stopped as if a switch were thron. Couldn’t understand why until I saw the local TV crew packing up their gear getting ready to leave the area. Interesting. Even in far away lands the mobs are pr savvy.

  3. The AGW cabal is a fanatic religion. Remember Joe Biden’s comment, Iowa State Fair speech 13 August 2019: “We choose truth over facts.” Indoctrinated truth. Doctrinal truth that requires no proof, that cannot be questioned. To doubt is to be a heretic, to be demonized. We’ve seen it happen to the AGW apostates when they waken to reality. “Facts,” verifiable truth, is rejected insofar as it contradicts dogma. It’s the Papal geocentric earth of climate. Do the AGW prelates even believe it? Multiple mansions, ship sized yachts, private jets to climate conferences in exotic locations…. And sacrifice for the peasants.

  4. Sometime in the future, I don’t know when….they will be putting the epitaph on Vermont’s grave….and reviews will come of ‘How did this happen”. Vermont’s agenda started to get radicalized 40 years ago and has gathered steam ever since. We, today….are at the apex….the culmination….and a perfect storm… of coronovirus hit. What people will find…if they are honest….the main culprits of “uber extreme enviro activisim”… done so massively…. that the States was negatively affected for it’s health…you will see: “The Conservation Law Foundation” and “The Nature Conservency” as the top culprits. They are the real guilty ones who then spawn off tons of other “Baby Activist” entities…..which occupy many offices in Montpelier. I am still in shock at what the Conservation Law Foundation did to HALT the Essex Circ highway, because they did not want it. It was ALL approved and ALL funded. Until CLF singlehandidly stopped it for decades with speciuos court filings. Everyone wanted it! The CLF is NOT an elected body! Almost all who work there are transplants! Finally VT gave up fighting heh WELL funded CLF.. IBM often stated they needed the Circ Hwy for plant acess. When all this was going on…IBM Essex had about 8,000 employees. Now IBM has about 3,000. It also did not help that Congressman Bernie Sanders walked a PICKET LINE to UNIONIZE all IBM Essex!. I know someone who was with top IBM executives and overheard a converstion (he was an IBM jet mechanic), of what was going on with Bernie and the CLF….the word “vermont” and “F” word were used in tandem..interchangeable!. So…..Kumbaya and gooobye Vermont. It was nice while it lasted.

    • We did not educate our populace. Our populace does not know the foundational documents upon which our country was founded. We get all our “news” from our smart phones. We can not discern truth from lies, we do not know love.

  5. This just goes to show what ” Idiots ” these radical environmentalists really are.

    If they don’t take the Wuhan Virus as serious concern today, well they won’t need
    to worry about there green new deal, polar ice caps or plastic bags & straws !!

    Did I mention Idiots and their bogus agenda globalism at it best, just follow the
    money…………………and who’ll benefit !!

    • With Real Russian collusion… their gas and oil companies would like nothing more
      than for the greentoads to shut down US production…

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