Like Occupy, climate change a lost cause
- 23 Sep 2014
- National Post – (Latest Edition)
- Financial Post
Like Occupy, climate change a lost cause
Keep the shares, daughter, he might say, and use the income to invest in renewables if you want and they are profitable.
Come to think of it, if oil money is so bad, why don’t today’s Rockefellers walk away from all of their personal wealth. The origins of that wealth, after all, is dirty oil. When does the taint of fabulous wealth from more than a century of carbon emissions cease to be a moral burden?
Welcome to the murky ideological world of climate change activism, a movement that this week appears to have been taken over by politically unemployed Occupy Wall Street activists. Instead of occupying the centre of world capitalism over inequality, a giant fizzle, the same crew of unions, leftists, religious groups and global economic reformers took to the streets of lower Manhattan Monday with the latest hashtag slogan: “#floodwallstreet Stop Capitalism! End the climate crisis!”
The #floodwallstreet march, on the heals of a giant climate rally in New York on Sunday, takes aim at the United Nations’ Climate Summit that opens Tuesday. Convened by UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon, the summit is intended as a warm-up for attempts by the United Nations to secure agreement by 2015 on draconian fossil fuel cuts.
No such targets are likely under current global geo-political conditions, not to mention global economic conditions. National leaders from China, Canada and India are not attending. What the world wants is growth that won’t happen of policy makers adopt economic controls that try to reverse the growth miracle fossil fuels delivered to the world in the 145 years since John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil.
That leaves climate and other activists with few options beyond another attempt to create the appearance of a mass movement out of thin air and wild ideological claims.
One of the warm-up speakers for Monday’s #floodwallstreet rally at New York’s Battery Park was Naomi Klein, apparently using the Climate Summit circus as a promotional vehicle for her latest book, titled This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate.
She told interviewer for Vogue that “New York is going to be on fire when this book comes out.” Well, New York may be snarled in traffic, but not on fire, certainly not the kind of capitalist-destroying fire she wants to see.
Ms. Klein’s calls for radical reform of the world economy, her book filled with extreme positions on fossil fuels. “While not equivalent, the dependency of the U.S. Economy on slave labor … is certainly comparable to the modern global economy’s reliance on fossil fuel.” Such wild analogies may spark revolution for some, but for most citizens of the world they will land as extremist nonsense.
Even the Rockefeller Brothers divestment of fossil fuels investments is more bluster than real action. This particular Rockefeller fund (according to 2012 filings) had investments-assets of about US$750-million. Very little would appear to be in fossil fuel-related companies or funds. Prior to the dot.com crash, the funds had assets of US$950-million. Most of the Rockefeller Brothers’ money is investment funds and other pooled vehicles, making it impossible to determine whether the commitment to divest has any real meaning.
According the Global Divest-Invest’s web site, the fossil fuel divestment philanthropy movement has signed funds worth US$50-billion with intentions to get out of coal, oil and gas stocks. At that level, the divest movement’s share of total investment in the fossil industry would be too small to measure.
Meanwhile, the science of climate change is on shaky ground. Judith Curry, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, writes in FP Comment that the idea that the science is settled is not true, regardless of the claims of Chief Hollywood Climate Scientist Leonardo DiCaprio, who stated “The debate is over. Climate change is happening now.”
Writes Ms. Curry: “Climate science is no more ‘settled’ than anthropogenic global warming is a ‘hoax’… the climate change problem and its solution have been vastly oversimplified.”
Oversimplification has never troubled activists and politicians. At the UN Climate Summit, in the streets around New York and among activists everywhere, the economic and scientific issues will be exaggerated — as they were for the last anticapitalist crusade.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is dead, so the left is pinning its next hope on climate change — another lost cause.