Winnipeg: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released Opportunity and Exploitation: Climate change Activism and Hostility to Liberal Civilization. This policy study provides an analysis of the writings and speeches of prominent environmentalist activists including Al Gore, George Monbiot, Rajendra Pachuri, Tim Flannery and Bill McKibben in an effort to trace the intellectual roots of the modern environmentalist movement.
In this study, Ben Eisen argues that cost-benefit analysis must be used to shape climate-change strategy, but warns that there are serious obstacles that interfere with the development of this sort of disinterested approach. Linking their arguments to the most important philosophical critics of liberal civilization—Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich Nietzsche— Eisen shows the radical strains of modern environmentalism should be viewed as part of a broader critique of liberal civilization itself.
Eisen identifies several instances in which prominent “green” activists explicitly state their desire to use public concern over environmentalism to fundamentally restructure liberal society. Thus, Eisen provides strong evidence that the objectives of some of these environmentalists goes beyond controlling growth of global temperatures and includes uprooting the socio-economic “system” upon which our society is built. For example:
- Van Jones (Former advisor to Barack Obama): “This movement is deeper than a solar panel. Don’t stop there. No, we’re going to change the whole system. We’re going to change the whole thing. We’re not going to put a new battery in a broken system. We want a new system.”
- Timmons Roberts and Bradley Parks state that aggressive carbon reduction strategies in rich countries should be used to: “signal a desire to reverse long-standing patterns of global inequality.”
- Bill McKibben: “We know that those reductions will play out close to home, changing the shape of everyday life. Changing it for the better, as we learn once more to rely on those around us.”
- Doyle Canning: “Building an ecology movement is embedding the necessity of a systemic response to the systemic breakdown of the planet, in the necessity of synergizing the global movements for peace, global justice, freedom, and direct democracy.”
- Al Gore: “It [global warming] is the most dangerous challenge we've ever faced, but it is also the greatest opportunity we have had to make changes."
“For many environmentalists, concern over global warming represents an opportunity to reform our civilization in ways of which they would approve even if global warming did not exist at all,” says report author Ben Eisen.
“The objectives of some prominent environmentalists are incredibly far-reaching. They hope to uproot an unjust ‘system’ that they think is responsible for most of the world’s ills, to reduce global wealth inequality and even to restore purpose to modern life. They believe we have much to gain spiritually by taking drastic measures to fight climate change. So, it is not surprising they are resistant to the suggestion that easier, cheaper policies may be more prudent.”
Download a copy of the Opportunism and Exploitation here.
For more information and to arrange an interview with the study's author, media (only) should contact:
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