Forget the propaganda from leftist apologists blaming the Chile riots on “unequal wealth,” the catalyst for the riots was a rise in Santiago Metro prices made necessary by carbon dioxide taxes and a conversion of the Metro from conventional power to renewable energy. Worse, those programs have no measurable impact on global temperatures. The programs amounted to nothing more than high-cost climate change virtue signaling at the expense of the Chilean people. And now Chileans are letting their displeasure be known.

As I documented in a column in the Epoch Times last week, the Chilean government switched the Santiago Metro to primarily renewable power last year. That followed the recent imposition of a nationwide carbon dioxide tax that raised energy prices throughout the country, including that portion of the Metro power mix that still utilizes conventional power. Forcing the Metro to utilize more expensive energy sources made it necessary to raise Metro prices.

What did the Chilean government hope to accomplish by such a scheme? As documented in July by Chilean scientist Douglas Pollock at the Heartland Institute’s 13th International Conference on Climate Change, Chile accounts for less than 1 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Pollock noted that Chile’s recent carbon dioxide taxes and renewable power expansion have mitigated just 0.00001 degree Celsius of global temperature. That is an amount that is too small to be measured and too small to be noticed. Yet the costs of doing so have been profound. Chilean electricity prices rose 18 percent in the past year, and the Chilean government had planned another 9 percent increase for later this year. Not to mention the hike in Metro fares that sparked the riots.

The Chilean government should have learned a lesson from the Yellow Vest protests in France that began last year and the riots in Ecuador this past month that forced the Ecuadorian government to flee the capital. Each of those events was sparked by rises in energy prices fueled by alarmist government climate policies.

Widespread riots are the repeated price paid for climate change virtue signaling. It is the price climate alarmists would like all of us to pay for battling a fictitious climate crisis at the heart of the environmental left’s Climate Delusion.

Author

  • James M. Taylor is an American lawyer, senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute and a CFACT contributor. James Taylor is a keen analyst of science and public policy and a competition level poker player.