The horrific murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman while his three cowardly colleagues looked on has now sparked many Green groups to rightly condemn racial injustice.

The irony is that the policies these Green groups have long advocated harm the most vulnerable in society, including but not exclusively, blacks and other people of color, in both America and worldwide.

Sierra Club, “350,” the Environmental Defense Fund and others issued statements condemning racial injustice. The League of Conservation Voters and EDF, for example, were measured and appropriate as far as they went. The Sierra Club’s president, Michael Brune, by contrast, included a rant against certain corporations: “[t]he companies that have profited from fossil fuels and accelerated the climate crisis are the same ones who have benefited from environmental injustice, colonialism, and racism.”

Mr. Brune mentioned no companies by name, nor did he elaborate on their historical sins. Could it be that some of those same companies are donors to the Sierra Club and pay his healthy salary? If so, namelessness would make sense from him. I suspect Mr. Brune’s abasement may be an attempt to live down his unflattering exposure in the latest Michael Moore film, Planet of the Humans. This film accuses Brune and the Sierra Club of selling out to profiteering corporations and perpetuating falsehoods that energy from wind, solar and biomass replaces fossil fuels. Rather, the film affirmed that “renewable” energy sources are heavily reliant on them.

Green policies such as the promotion of population control have been harmful to non-white people in less developed nations. “Environmentalists” like Paul Ehrlich advocated sterilization of third world populations, while the late Garret Hardin, professor of “Human Ecology” at UC Santa Barbara, supported starvation on those populations in need.

Population control remains part of the modern Green agenda, but with a good deal more subtlety. Among prominent proponents is British hybrid Prince Harry, who supports limiting his family size to a maximum of two children, and signals everyone else should do the same. (An aside:  is he still a Prince?)

Other Green climate policies are most harmful to Americans from low-income households, which are disproportionately minority, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and to people in developing countries. This starts with the Green New Deal and its planned destruction of plentiful and cheaper fossil fuels. Government-imposed renewable energy mandates that will squeeze out fossil fuels like natural gas and that disallow nuclear energy only serve to increase energy costs.

People with less money mathematically pay much higher percentages of their income on essentials like food, energy and transportation – all of which increase in price as Green policies are implemented. This is not theoretical; it is economics 101, which has played out in America and globally, as CFACT has reported. Riots in Chile, France and other nations over higher energy and transportation costs are the tip of the Green iceberg.

Black Americans and other minority populations benefit in greater proportion from a thriving fossil fuel industry both as consumers and workers. According to U.S. Labor Department data, larger percentages of black and Hispanic Americans work in industries such as mining, extraction, construction and transportation, which are heavily dependent on fossil fuels – the very sectors vulnerable to job losses from Green policies to “fight climate change.”

Many urban high-needs communities that suffer from homelessness, litter, drug addition and other crises have been neglected by many of the same elected officials who demand vacuous climate change policies that will do nothing to fix these immediate, tangible problems.  The victims of this political neglect commonly are black, Hispanic and immigrant families.

More also should be done to empower young people with a quality K-12 education that is the gateway out of such vulnerable neighborhoods to upward mobility and the middle class. Just as police unions are rightly facing scrutiny for some of their members’ mistreatment of blacks, so should teacher unions and others be under a microscope for chronic academic under-performance in so many public schools in high-needs communities.

Educational choice policies, for example, are rabidly and selfishly opposed by teacher unions, yet provide a more equal chance for minority children to obtain K-12 opportunities that benefit children from higher-income households.

It is good to see some Green organizations, at least on the surface, step up and be counted against racial injustice toward black Americans.  All Americans should be unified in that cause.  But preventing further injustice should include a wholesale reordering of destructive climate policies that do harm, particularly to low-income, black and minority populations.

Author

  • Peter Murphy, a CFACT analyst, has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Gov. George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26.