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Thousands March in New York to End Industrialized Civilization

Well, maybe they're not really marching to end industrialized civilization. But given all the monumental exaggeration and hyperbole of which they are guilty, perhaps I can be excused a few small liberties while describing their goals.

Tens of thousands of marchers from all over the world came to New York City to protest inaction on climate change. A "wake up call" they are calling it. In fact, at 12:58 Eastern time, there was to be a moment of silence followed by "a blare of noise — a symbolic sounding of the alarm on climate change — from horns, whistles and cellphone alarms. More than 20 marching bands and tolling church bells were expected contribute to the cacophony."

A perfect way to sum up the march: a lot of noise signifying nothing.

As might be expected, the New York Times is all over the story:

With drums and tubas, banners and floats, the People's Climate March turned Columbus Circle, where the march began just before 11:30 a.m., into a colorful tableau. The demonstrators represented a broad coalition of ages, races, geographic locales and interests, with union members, religious leaders, scientists, politicians and students joining the procession.

“I’m here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together,” said Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Conn., the president of a teachers' union. “It begins in the streets.”

With world leaders gathering at the United Nations on Tuesday for a climate summit, marchers said the timing was right for the populist message in support of limits on carbon emissions. The signs marchers held were as varied as the movement: “There is No PlanetB,” “Forests Not for Sale” and “Jobs, Justice, Clean Energy.”

The description of the tableau was accurate. The colors reminded me of a tie my little niece bought me a few years ago.

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Truth be told, if things are as dire as the marchers believe, it's already too late. That's the problem with the hysterical wing of climate change advocacy. Cutting emissions of greenhouse gases won't do the trick if we are on the edge of the climate precipice. We would have to halt all human activity that contributes to global warming and then hope nature can reverse the process.

And if this movement was really about "climate change," they might be forgiven their hysteria. But as world leaders gather at the UN beginning Tuesday, it will become clear that, at least for the politicians of the world, it's not about climate change at all. It's about power, control, and money.

If history is any guide, the rich countries of the world will say how concerned they are about the damage their emissions of heat-trapping gases are causing. The poor countries — whose people have done little to contribute to global warming but stand to suffer the most from it because of their vulnerability to rising seas and weather extremes — will point out that this professed concern never seems to translate into sufficient action.

“We’re saying to the U.S. and the developed world, ‘You’re responsible for this,’ ” said Ronald Jean Jumeau — the ambassador to the United Nations for the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles, off the coast of Africa — in a preview of his country’s remarks. “Don’t tell us you can’t cut emissions, you can’t give money, while you bask in the rich way of life you enjoy now. You know your emissions are damaging us. Help us out here.”

People like Mr. Jumeau have been pleading for help for years, and they have heard many promises that help will come. The latest attempt to make good on those pledges is the Green Climate Fund, a financing vehicle that is eventually supposed to funnel as much as $100 billion a year to poor countries.

The fund, which struggled for four years to get off the ground and opened its doors only recently, has received just one large donation to date: $1 billion from Germany. More are expected this week.

Notably absent from the summit will be the leaders of China and India -- the two nations that make any effort to cut CO2 emissions a waste of time.

China is building three coal-fired power plants a month. India isn't far behind. And neither country seems interested in anything the rest of the world wants to do about global warming. The fact is, any schemes the nations come up with to reduce their emissions won't matter a fig if China and India refuses to cooperate.