On Saturday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) claimed that fighting “white supremacy” is a fundamental part of combatting climate change. She also attacked “consultants” who would encourage climate activists to focus on solar panels more than social justice.
“The way we inoculate ourselves from continuing to burn up our planet at unsustainable level, triggering feedback loops that we have not even begun to comprehend, is by honoring indigenous wisdom and allowing it to guide our climate policy. The way that we preserve our systems is by transitioning to principles of universality. That means I want you clothed, I want you educated, I want you paid a living wage, no ifs ands or buts. And what that also means — and what Naomi talked about as well — is directly, consciously, combatting white supremacy in the United States of America,” AOC declared.
She was referring to Naomi Klein, a Canadian activist who had spoken just before her. Klein had been more explicit. She spoke about “two fires”: climate change and the divisive conservative politicians like President Donald Trump who champion an “in-group” over an “out-group.” She accused Trump of dividing America with “white supremacy.”
“At this moment when the climate crisis becomes impossible to deny … at this very moment these figures who are so expert at the art of spreading division” are rising, she said. “I believe that we all know on the cellular level that there’s something deeply wrong with our common home,” and she accused the right of exploiting that fear with the message, “We will protect you against the other.”
“Do we think it is a coincidence that these two fires are raging at the exact same time? And as these strongmen turn their populations against each other, that frees them up for the real business at hand which is pillaging the” earth. “We cannot win this fight without battling white supremacy.”
Speaking at a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate AOC had endorsed, the congresswoman recalled strategizing about her central policy proposal, the Green New Deal. She said her team planned to launch it not just to fight the alleged catastrophe of climate change but also to help “communities that were left behind.”
AOC went on to chide consultants who encouraged her to focus on the technological solutions to the alleged climate crisis, rather than tying climate into her identity politics message.
“Just worry about solar panels, leave the social justice stuff behind,” the congresswoman summarized. “Race makes everything complicated.” She dismissed this advice as wrong-headed.
As a practical matter, Ocasio-Cortez is entirely wrong. Even if climate change were a catastrophic threat, fighting “white supremacy” would have a negligible impact on the environment. AOC has the uncanny ability to see “white supremacy” behind everything from the tea party movement to The New York Times. In this case, she seems to interpret “white supremacy” as anti-immigrant terrorists like the El Paso shooter.
Terrorism in all its forms should be condemned, and true white supremacy — the doctrine that white people are inherently superior to other racial groups and should rule over them — should also be unequivocally condemned. However, AOC uses “white supremacy” as a catch-all term to describe her political opponents and to connect them with racism and terrorism. This disgusting tactic has everything to do with taking power and nothing to do with saving the environment.
As for the environment, predictions of climate catastrophe — extreme cold, extreme heat, glaciers melting, cities underwater — have failed to come to pass. In one of the most embarrassing examples, alarmists predicted that The Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean would sink beneath the waves in 2018 — and the islands are still there. In fact, they have actually grown in recent years!
AOC’s Green New Deal is a fantasy. Taxing the rich at 100 percent would not even come close to footing the bill for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, according to a Heritage Foundation study. The $48 trillion or $93 trillion price tags aside, AOC’s attempt to remake the American economy in her social justice and climate alarmist image is not possible. If Ocasio-Cortez were serious about fighting climate change, she would talk more about nuclear energy and less about restricting the entire economy, let alone “white supremacy.”
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.