Across the world, green-backed policies have hurt the working class far more than the affluent rich who most enthusiastically embrace them. The militant Extinction Rebellion—which the online magazine Spiked has described as “an upper-middle-class death cult”—has tried to disrupt commuters in Britain in their drive to “save the planet” but has earned more angry contempt than support from harried workers. Though cast by the media as heroic outsiders, greens have historically clustered in elite academic, nonprofit, media, and corporate sectors. The influential Limits to Growth, published in 1972 by the Club of Rome, was backed by major corporate interests, led by Fiat’s Aurelio Peccei. The authors’ long-term vision, based on the notion that the planet was running out of resources at a rapid rate, was to create “a carefully controlled balance” that would restrict growth, particularly in advanced countries.
Whatever its failings, twentieth-century socialism was growth-oriented and in principle devoted to expanding working-class wealth. In contrast, the green version of socialism consciously seeks to depress the average family’s prospects, since prosperity will generate more greenhouse gases. Some zealots, such as the Guardian’s George Monbiot, argue in favor of economic recession as a way to reduce carbon emissions, even if it causes people to lose their jobs and homes.
Draconian climate austerity does not threaten the jobs of the so-called “clean rich,” who may benefit as investors in solar and wind energy, the trading of carbon offsets, and other activities of the “climate industrial complex.” Some old-style leftists, like British Marxist historian James Heartfield, see the emergence of “green capitalism” as a new ruse for the upper classes to suppress the lower by creating artificial scarcity in everything from energy to housing and food. Greens seek to restrict air travel for the masses, but climate activists like Prince Charles, Richard Branson, Leonardo di Caprio, the rapper Drake, and Al Gore continue to fly in private jets, even to climate-crisis summits. They enjoy, and develop, luxury resorts far from population centers, and consume prodigiously while imploring the rest of us to curb our more modest habits.
Article URL : https://www.city-journal.org/radical-green-movement