The Heartland Institute: Fighting Socialism and its Green New Deal Battle Cry!
Climate Change Weekly #315
Many of my friends have long referred to environmentalists as “Watermelons”: green on the outside, red on the inside. The idea is that because communism and socialism (really just the same political/economic system in practice) have visibly failed everywhere they have been tried, doctrinaire socialists zealots, being unable to accept that reality, have embraced the push for ever-greater supposed environmental protection as a backdoor way to get socialism adopted in Western liberal democracies including, primarily, the United States. After all, who doesn’t care about the environment?
To the contrary, I’ve argued this is not fair to Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and their ilk, who would have no truck with radical environmentalism’s goal of nature untrammeled by the works of man. Anyone who knows much about Marx knows that for him there were basically only two kinds of things: people and materials or resources for human use. For all of Marx’s gross misunderstanding of human motivations and the way incentives work in human society, and his mystical view of historical progress and development, he would not embrace the idea the environment had value independent of its use for human development.
For environmental extremists, by contrast, humans are just a part (and for many, a negative part, a cancer even) of a greater whole, the environment, which has value apart from and higher than human flourishing or even continued human survival. For far too many environmentalists, freedom and the pursuit of economic and material progress by individuals and society at large must be suppressed to protect the ecosystems and species not already, in their view, irretrievably harmed by human development and, if possible, take the world back to some idealized state of the environment not dominated by humankind. Ultimately, human populations and economic pursuits must be limited.
Fortunately, there aren’t that many radical environmentalists who put the needs of Gaia or Mother Earth (whatever they presume, from their God’s-eye vantage point, those “needs” to be) above human life and progress. There are, however, many socialists who cloak their authoritarian desires and goals in the mantle of environmentalism.
The so-called Green New Deal (GND) is the latest and most visible attempt to smuggle deadly socialism under a green cloak. According to the creators of GND, their sweeping agenda wil prevent dangerous climate change. It will require us to remake society, primarily but not solely by ending the use of fossil fuels and the technologies that run on them.
Proof the GND is about instituting a socialist takeover of the economy and not really about fighting climate change is readily apparent. The GND calls for public ownership of companies benefitting from the GND; universal health care; making it easier to organize unions; guaranteed jobs which pay a living wage and provide paid vacations, family leave, and retirement (an early version would have even paid people who chose not to work); free public college education for all; and “providing all people of the United States with—(i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.” None of these provisions has anything to do with preventing climate change. They are about inserting government into every aspect of peoples’ lives. The GND is socialism on steroids!
As it has done with the scientific and political conflict over anthropogenic global warming, The Heartland Institute is also taking the lead in the battle against green socialism in general and the GND in particular. Part of that effort comes in the form of a new project titled Stopping Socialism, which is being led by my colleague Justin Haskins, executive editor with The Heartland Institute.
The Stopping Socialism project examines the dangerous, exorbitantly expensive, and ultimately impossible-to-accomplish GND in detail, but the primary purpose of the project isn’t simply to fight against radical environmentalism, which is just a symptom of a much larger, more pervasive problem: the rise of collectivist thinking in America, especially among younger people.
For decades, young Americans have been indoctrinated by their left-wing K–12 teachers and in college classrooms across the country. They’ve been told a false version of American and world history, one where Karl Marx is a hero and George Washington is a villain. They’ve become convinced capitalism is synonymous with greed, and, by contrast, socialism is a form of charity. Young people have been lied to on so many occasions and by so many influential institutions they have a completely warped view of the world and the importance of individual freedom.
Stopping Socialism aims to reverse this trend by creating and distributing videos, articles, and educational materials to the public, with a strong emphasis on younger Americans. Stopping Socialism’s writers don’t complain about the collapse of free markets and the destruction of individual liberties; they provide solutions and focus on the immorality of the entire socialist scheme, an essential part of winning the long-term fight against collectivist thinking.
Socialism is on the rise in America, but there’s still time to turn things around. The Heartland Institute is working hard to make that happen. We hope you’ll join us.
- H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
After a couple of consecutive years during which sea ice in Antarctica reached record-high levels, including record extent during the summer, sea ice levels retreated rapidly and dramatically, falling to record lows in 2016 and have remained at below-average levels since then. Two studies published in the January 2 edition of Nature Communications find anthropogenic climate change is not the driving force behind the decline in Antarctic sea ice. Instead, low sea ice levels are a result of natural variability, in particular a shift in two particular wind patterns that affect sea ice accumulation in Antarctica.
Antarctica’s sea ice formation is strongly affected by ocean currents and winds originating in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean Dipole is an irregular oscillation of sea surface temperatures and rainfall patterns in the Indian Ocean, and its currents affect sea ice formation in the Southern Ocean. In 2016, the Indian Ocean Dipole formed, creating what is referred to as the Indian Niño, which drove sea surface temperatures and rainfall amounts to record highs. Simultaneously, the typical westerly winds that surround Antarctica weakened to record lows in 2016.
Combined, these two events caused the ocean surface around Antarctica to warm, which melted sea ice and prevented the formation of new ice.
These papers indicate neither the record-setting sea ice formation in Antarctica before 2016 nor the lower than average levels since then are isolated events but instead are the result of entirely natural, periodic, irregular shifts in wind patterns and sea surface temperatures affecting the continent.
In an article published in Real Clear Politics, Charles N. Steele, the Herman A. and Suzanne S. Dettwiler Chair in Economics at Hillsdale College and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, explains why he refused a request he sign the “Economists’ Statement on Climate Dividends (ESCD),” a letter from the Climate Leadership Council (CLC).
Stating “Global climate change is a serious problem calling for immediate national action,” ESCD calls for the federal government to enact a ‘revenue neutral’ tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
Steele cited several reasons for refusing to sign ESCD, such as that a unilateral carbon dioxide tax imposed in the United States on its energy use will not prevent climate change. Steele writes, “… since the lion’s share of new emissions will come from the developing world. Even if U.S. greenhouse gas emissions went to zero, something no plan can achieve, climate models suggest this would reduce average global temperature increase by less than 0.5 [degrees Celsuis]. Unilateral U.S. action won’t solve the problem.”
In addition, Steele says ESCD’s “call for international transfer payments from governments in wealthy countries to governments in poorer ones … appears to be a scheme for massive redistribution of political power and wealth, more than a climate proposal.”
Perhaps the most important reason Steele rejects CLC’s call for a carbon dioxide tax is that it is unnecessary to prevent global catastrophe. Steele points out the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report—which CLC cites as showing the urgent need to impose a carbon dioxide tax—“does not show that immediate drastic action is necessary; … [instead] it is really about quickly and incautiously implementing U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, for purposes of so-called ‘social justice.’” Steele sees no pressing disaster justifying a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
The Saltbush Club, an Australian group whose members include scientists, scholars, environmentalists, farmers, and business people, among others from a variety of disciplines and walks of life, was formed out of concern the Australian government’s energy policies and its participation in the Paris climate agreement were harming people and the economy. As their website states,
Despite this diversity in education, occupation, and skills, the Saltbush Club are united in one thing—a deep concern that both sides of politics are supporting climate/energy policies that will provide no benefits for the environment but huge costs to consumers and employment prospects by damaging Australian industry with crippling power costs. NOT ONE of them has seen proof that man’s emissions of carbon dioxide can control global climate or will cause dangerous global warming.
Among its efforts, the Saltbush Club has published a list of 10 reasons why Australia should withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Among those reasons are the following:
- The science is NOT settled—hundreds of scientists in Australia and thousands more throughout the world reject the theory that human production of carbon dioxide is driving dangerous global warming. And the 102 computerized climate models have always predicted more warming than has occurred.
- There is no unusual global warming. Since the last ice age ended there have been warm eras hotter than today’s modern warming—the warm peaks are getting lower, not higher. Climate has always changed in response to forces far greater than human activities.
- Carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant—it is an invisible natural gas that supplies the whole food chain. More carbon dioxide is beneficial to the biosphere—forests, grasses, and crops grow better thus benefitting all animal life that relies on plants.
(BTW: The Heartland Institute, among other groups, has hammered these three points home repeatedly over the past decade.)
- Australian energy policies, taxes, and targets are making electricity more costly and less reliable, hurting consumers, and driving industry off-shore.
- Compliance with the Paris Agreement will destroy industries and jobs, encourage bureaucracy, and transfer controls and money to affiliates of the United Nations.
In the light of this evidence, the Saltbush Club encourages Australia’s Prime Minister to follow President Donald Trump’s example and lead Australia out of the Paris climate agreement.