The One Percent Embraces Global Warming, Ditches Capitalism

What exactly is the one per cent's problem with cheap energy, scientific evidence and free market capitalism?

The question is raised yet again with news that hedge fund billionaire turned environmental activist Tom Steyer wants to make "climate change" a key issue in the 2014 midterm elections by funding a $100 million ad push.

Half the money will come from his own pocket, funneled through his San-Francisco-based NextGen Climate Action group; half from fellow liberal billionaires.

As the HuffPo salivatingly reports, this is part of Steyer's ongoing masterplan to turn the US greener than a green-themed St Patrick's Day party thrown by Shrek, Kermit the Frog, and the Jolly Green Giant.

Steyer emerged on the national scene last year when he spent close to $8 million backing Democrat Terry McAuliffe's campaign for Virginia governor. He funded ads going after Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli's environmental record, painting the then-Virginia Attorney General as an extremist.

He's also been a major advocate against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. During President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last month, Steyer's group aired an ad describing the controversial pipeline as a "sucker punch to America's heartland." And earlier this month, he penned a letter to John Kerry urging the secretary of state to review the environmental impact statement released by the State Department last month that found the project would not impact greenhouse gas emissions.

Steyer has already eyed one potential 2014 target -- Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-La.) reelection campaign. Last month, his group included Landrieu on a list of potential targets for his next anti-Keystone ad, calling on supporters to vote on who should be the subject of the attack. Landrieu, a supporter of the pipeline, was the only Democrat on the list.

In the comments below, a HuffPo reader named Gudele Martens enthuses: "Refreshing to see a 1%-er caring about the future."

Actually no it's not, Gudele, it is achingly, drearily, predictably, un-refreshing. With the possible exceptions of the UN, the European Union, and the US government, no one in the world gives quite so extravagantly to lunatic environmental causes as the membership of the one per cent.

Who, for example, was behind the Obama administration's master-plan to revive the US economy through the creation of "green jobs"?

Why it was none other than billionaire George Soros, via his Center For American Progress, which he funds to the tune of $27 million a year. (Along with numerous other environmentalist causes ranging from funding the hard-left Tides Foundation to his $14 billion green private equity firm Silver Lake, which he set up with Obama's former Energy Czar Cathy Zoi).

And who pays for Britain's most influential environmental propaganda outlets, the Grantham Research Institute and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change?

Why, none other than Jeremy Grantham, billionaire co-founder of Boston-based asset management firm Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO).

Let us not forget, either, all the rich celebrities who fund environmental causes: Ted Turner; Robert Redford; Yoko Ono; Leo DiCaprio; Cate Blanchett; Edward Norton; Brad Pitt; Pierce Brosnan (named "Best-Dressed Environmentalist" by the Sustainable Style Foundation); Adrian Grenier from Entourage; Ed Begley Jr...

Nor yet, all those wealthy charitable foundations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Esme Fairbairn Foundation,  and the Pew Foundation, which may have been created by the money of arch-capitalists but which now have political affiliations in the green movement and elsewhere. They owe rather more to Occupy than to Wall Street.

I deal with this in more detail in my new book The Little Green Book Of Eco Fascism (Regnery)  which I wrote partly to expose one of the green movement's most outrageous lies: that all the money is on the capitalist side of the argument and that green campaign groups are just cute little mom and pop operations living from hand to mouth.

Yeah, right. As Australian blogger Jo Nova has demonstrated when it comes to funding climate change alarmism, spending on Warmist causes outweighs that of spending on Skeptical causes by a factor of around 3,500 to 1.

What applies to "climate change" will certainly apply at least as strongly to all those other green causes so beloved by philanthrophic rich people with nothing more sensible to do with their money, such as "biodiversity,” "sustainability,” and the rest.

Why, though, would so many Hollywood stars, hedge funders and industrialists who have gotten rich thanks to the capitalist system now rush so eagerly support the kind of people who want to regulate markets, drive up the price of energy, and deliberately limit economic growth (in order to preserve "scarce resources" for "future generations")?

 Here are my theories on this.

1. Misdirected guilt. Making big money often involves questionable behaviour. Donating all their ill-gotten gain to the cuddly polar bears and the Truffula trees is the perfect way for evil capitalists to feel all warm and gooey about themselves. Hey, what could be nobler than actually saving the whole PLANET?

 2. Pure ignorance. Being good at pretending to be someone else on a film set or shorting pork belly futures does not necessarily mean you think deeply or read widely. Shallow people are drawn to superficial belief systems, such as environmental theory which owes much more to feelings than it does to real world evidence.

 3. The Dumb Useless Heir Effect. This applies mainly to charitable foundations. Dad makes the money through raw capitalism; his sons and daughters, not needing to work for a living instead spend their time swanning around college, imbibing the very worst of liberal thinking on every pointless left-wing cause going. So Dad's money ends up being spent trying to destroy the very capitalist system from which his wealth derived.

 4. How else do you get George Clooney to come to your parties? This, so it is rumored, is what inspired Arianna Huffington's famous conversion from Conservatism to Liberalism. The same applies, no doubt, to hedge funders like our friend Tom Steyer. Donating to green causes makes you feel good about yourself AND get the approval of Hollywood A-listers.

 5. Peer group pressure. Apart, possibly from the Koch brothers, who can you name who openly donates to institutions which defend free market capitalism against environmental activism? You can't because there's no one. Environmentalism is so fashionable that no one wants to be seen publicly to be against it. (Not even those people informed enough to know that when you scratch below the surface environmentalism has less to do with saving the planet than it does with socialistic wealth redistribution, junk science, Solyndra-style corporatist cronyism)

 6. The drawbridge effect. You've made your money. Now the very last thing you want is for all those trashy middle class people below you to have a fair shot at getting as rich as you are. That's why you want to make energy more expensive by opposing Keystone XL; why you're all for environmental land sequestration (because you already own your exclusive country property); and Agenda 21 - which will make all Americans poorer, but you not so much, because you've enough cash to cushion you from the higher taxes and regulation with which the greenies want to hamstring the economy.

 


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