Churchill defined a fanatic as someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject, and when it comes to climate change, the competition for chief climate fanatic (and hence a Green Weenie Award) is fierce. NASA’s egregious James Hansen would have to be a favorite for a perpetual, Lifetime Achievement Green Weenie, but the PLGWA Committee has decided that Bill McKibben outdoes even Hansen.
McKibben is billed as “scholar in residence at Middlebury College,” which description I presume means he doesn’t actually teach many courses at the tony private college that is known for being the most expensive in the nation (current tuition and room & board: $55,570. Textbooks another $1,000). His bio lists lots of honorary degrees from honorable places, but makes no mention of any advanced degree in any field that would qualify him to teach regularly in the classroom. From the online catalogue, it appears that he occasionally teaches a seminar, but most of the Middlebury environmental studies curriculum appears to be activist propaganda rather than a serious course of study. Course titles include “Environmental Justice,” “Corporate Social Responsibility,” “Sustainable Television,” “Class and the Environment” (which seems to be merely “Environmental Justice” by a different title—why not just title it in French?), and “Youth Climate Movement.” The only course it appears McKibben has taught recently is ENVS0340, “Social Movements,” which isn’t about the environment at all, but appears to be just community organizing by a different name. In other words, McKibben has a nice cozy sinecure, from which he gets to pontificate and organize green activism, such as leading the White House protests last fall to block the Keystone XL pipeline temporarily.
His latest lament appears in that pre-eminent peer reviewed science journal Rolling Stone: “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Is invoking “the new math” really a good idea to persuade people? Never mind. Among the many things that jump out from this piece is a revealing passage that shows just how much the Left depends on hatred for its motivation:
So: the paths we have tried to tackle global warming have so far produced only gradual, halting shifts. A rapid, transformative change would require building a movement, and movements require enemies. As John F. Kennedy put it, “The civil rights movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He’s helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln.”* And enemies are what climate change has lacked. (Emphasis added.)
But what all these climate numbers make painfully, usefully clear is that the planet does indeed have an enemy – one far more committed to action than governments or individuals. Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.
I used to think Joe Romm of the Center for American Progress deserved the title of being the “Joe McCarthy of climate change,” but McKibben is clearly game to challenge Romm for the honor. And for that, he gets this week’s coveted Power Line Green Weenie Award.
(*I wonder if McKibben gets the irony of citing John F. Kennedy on civil rights, since Kennedy and his little brother were less than lukewarm about advancing the civil rights agenda, just as the Obama Administration is less than lukewarm about advancing the agenda of the climateers. Losers.)