There’s an old African proverb, “When elephants fight, it is only the grass that suffers.” Its meaning is readily evident and its implications are terrifying. Especially now that there are no more liberty elephants on the world stage.
When progressive causes come into conflict with one another it should be a thing of a thing of beauty. A glorious train wreck of poorly thought out ideas, slogans, and buzzwords colliding with the unforgiving stone wall of reality. Unfortunately, they’ve spent a century now tying everything together. By design, when a progressive goes down they take as many with them as possible. The train wreck is a lot less amusing when you’re on the train, against your will or not.
As reported by The Week, the reading of which should generally be strongly discouraged, one such epic matchup occurred at the Paris Climate Conference… negotiations which are actually taking place in Bonn, Germany before the actual signing of the agreement at the conference in December. Because even if you’re trying to save the world from evil carbon, it doesn’t mean you can’t rack up your frequent flier miles (the nerve of these people). This time it was the Climate Change Crusaders vs. the Social Justice Warriors.
The negotiations, which are already disturbing because the agreement, “[…] will take the form of a protocol, another legal instrument or ‘an agreed outcome with legal force’, and will be applicable to all Parties.”, were not without a snag or two. In fact, they invented a new cause to be outraged over just for the occasion. Ladies and gentlemen and… everyone else, we now have to be concerned about (dramatic pause) “Climate Justice”.
It’s a sort of hybrid of two leftwing causes, think wealth redistribution under the looming threat of one day having palm trees on Cape Cod (it’ll happen, based on computer models or something and one should always look on the bright side). You see, the developed western nations were doing all the dictating of the terms until eventually the poorer, inner city nations started complaining about income inequality. Their neighborhoods aren’t as nice and white as the west side of Earth, apparently, and they didn’t have the same opportunities as the wealthier nations.
South Africa threw the Apartheid flag, because of course they did. China pretended to be all offended simply because they have no genuine intention of parting with any of their own money. India was especially vocal, indeed their Prime Minister is who we have to thank for labeling our newest international injustice. A few choice highlights:
When we speak only of climate change, there is a perception of our desire to secure the comforts of our lifestyle. […] When we speak of climate justice, we demonstrate our sensitivity and resolve to secure the future of the poor from the perils of natural disasters.
I hope that the Developed World will fulfil its financing commitments for development and climate change, without in any way putting both under the same head, […] International partnership must be at the centre of our efforts… and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the bedrock of our collective enterprise.”
The article spells it out even more.
India has always maintained that the responsibility of containing climate change – the fallout of a medley of causes including carbon-dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases – is of the developed world and not of the developing countries.
Indicating that developed countries need to change, PM Modi said to address climate change, people not only need to generate clean energy, but also effect a change in lifestyle that makes people “less dependent on energy”.
So it’s all unfair, the problem is you wealthier nations, and you need to shoulder the burden to fix it. Also, if your citizens were as poor as ours none of this would have ever happened.
It actually kind of makes sense in a twisted sort of way. Battling climate change the progressive way would permanently lock third world nations into third world status, because advancement isn’t carbon neutral. As leftists they’re already committed to equality by bringing the higher people down rather than lifting the lower people up. Your carbon footprint is just one more excuse. They’re fully committed to victimhood, so the fact that their countries suck to live in makes them understandably resentful of nations where it doesn’t. After all, that’s easier than relinquishing power to your citizens so that their vision, power, and creativity can be unleashed.
And for what? Dig deep enough and you’ll find the reluctant admission that none of these people actually know anything, yet their exerting effort to expand state powers anyway.
All issues that require collective action, especially on a global scale, are difficult to resolve because they suffer from the free-rider problem, i.e. some parties seek to benefit from the “common good” without springing for it. But as Oren Cass, a Manhattan Institute analyst, notes, fighting climate change is a particularly vexing problem because the individual cost to each country, especially Third World ones, will be immediate and huge — and the benefits distant and uncertain. The notion that emission cuts can pay for themselves through increased energy efficiency is at best fanciful and, at worst, a lie.
These are the people that have lied, cheated, and manipulated their way into having control over our lives.