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The ‘Eco-Right’ — Global Warming Fanaticism In A Conservative Wrapper

The ‘Eco-Right’ — Global Warming Fanaticism In A Conservative Wrapper

These groups may call themselves “free market” environmentalists, but they preach the religion of manmade global warming with the same fervor as the left-wing faithful.

used with permission

Few have heard of the “eco-Right” — so-called conservatives who support the Left’s global warming policie — but it’s arguably the biggest threat to the future of the conservative movement. These groups may call themselves “free market” environmentalists, but they preach the religion of manmade global warming with the same fervor as the left-wing faithful.

The eco-Right has met with serious skepticism from conservatives, many of whom (myself included) argue that they’re dupes for inviting the Left’s cronyism and devastating environmental policies into the conservative movement.

They aren’t the Left, but as Daily Signal reporter Kevin Mooney points out the eco-Right’s calls for big government “solutions” to climate change—including an onerous tax on carbon dioxide emissions—have little in common with genuine conservative principles of limited government, individual liberty, and constitutionalism. Worse, they join the Left in pushing bad science by demonizing carbon dioxide—a natural gas essential to life on Earth—as a “pollutant.”

Disturbingly, many of these groups are heavily funded by liberal foundations—raking in millions of dollars from mega-donors like the Hewlett Foundation and billionaire George Soros—to push destructive policies.

I’ve written at the Capital Research Center about the eco-Right groups that infiltrated CPAC in February, the largest gathering of conservatives in the country, to advocate for un-conservative carbon taxes.

A carbon tax would massively raise household energy prices by taxing emissions from oil, coal, and natural gas, commodities which power the U.S. economy. It would artificially hike gas prices at a time when America has become the largest oil producer in the world is poised to become its biggest oil exporter—possibly costing the U.S. upwards of $1 trillion in GDP losses by 2030, according to the Heritage Foundation.

These groups—RepublicEn and Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends—promise to pay the extra costs back to taxpayers, a scheme they call “carbon dividends.” Call it what you like, but taxing Americans in order to pay them off is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

If such a policy were presented by liberals, conservatives would denounce it as wealth redistribution—so why should the eco-Right get a pass?

Similarly, I’ve documented the Niskanen Center’s descent from libertarianism to leftism after the Cato Institute breakaway began receiving huge donations from liberal groups. A list of Niskanen’s major donors in 2019 (archived here) reveals 6-figure grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Pritzker Innovation Fund (associated with the family of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker), among others.

Most disturbing is a $500,000 grant from Soros’ Open Society Foundations in 2017; one wonders if it’s a coincidence that Niskanen now shares Soros’ borderless “open society” ideology.

The Niskanen Center has used that funding to lobby for carbon taxes and even provide pro bono legal aid to lawsuits against Exxon and Suncor, oil companies sued by two Colorado jurisdictions in 2018 for supposedly damaging the climate. In the wake of the lawsuit, Niskanen founder Jerry Taylor authored a piece entitled “Oil Companies Should be Held Accountable for Climate Change”—accusing the companies of “contribut[ing] to global warming” and “increas[ing] the number and severity of wildfires, droughts, and flash flooding.”

(It’s worth adding that David Bookbinder, Niskanen’s chief counsel on the case, is as liberal as they come. He was previously chief counsel to the Sierra Club, where he managed its involvement in the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court case EPA v. Massachusetts—a landmark case much-beloved of liberals since it established the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.)

Ironically, the eco-Right hasn’t found much support among die-hard environmentalists, who refuse to compromise on anything short of their radical Green New Deal, which would force the U.S. transition to 100 percent renewable energy production in the next decade. Environmental activists have one overriding goal: the complete transformation of America to a “green” socialist state. Nothing less will do.

Yet these “climate change conservatives” offer the Left a backdoor for the kind of big government, statist policies that true conservatives would never support if they weren’t falsely labeled. It’s a siren’s song that promises “free market” global warming policies but will only result in green tyranny. Why else seek out leftist funding?

Genuine conservatives have nothing to gain and everything to lose by listening to the eco-Right—don’t give up the ship.

[Featured Image: Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends at CPAC 2020. Image credit: Hayden Ludwig, Capital Research Center]


Hayden Ludwig is an investigative researcher for the Capital Research Center in D.C.


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Why are we calling these people ‘eco-right’ again? Is that a misnomer? What do they believe that would be considered ‘right-wing’? We don’t even use the term ‘right’, we use ‘conservative’ or maybe ‘libertarian’.

    paracelsus in reply to rdmdawg. | April 14, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Who’s this “we”?

    dunce1239 in reply to rdmdawg. | April 15, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    It is a bunch of leftists trying to steal respectability by corrupting our language again. No doubt it is some scheme dreamed up by college professors in the social sciences.

    Milhouse in reply to rdmdawg. | April 17, 2020 at 3:01 am

    William Niskanen was definitely on the right wing. Unfortunately the Center named for him has deviated on these issues.

Global Warmenists = Communists

No matter what name they give themselves, no matter what they call their religion, they are communists.

Watermelons, all. Green on the outside, red on the inside.

I suspect these are a bunch of progressive Wall Street twats just looking to suck the carbon offset market teat all the way to The Hamptons.

Hey if Algore could scam the rubes out of bizillions whit his carbon tax stick, any scam is possible.

They aren’t the Left

In what sense? They sound pretty much Left to me.

Conservation, not environmentalism. Not American conservative.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | April 15, 2020 at 12:57 am

Turn them up on their end and you can read made in China on their bottom.

This shows why the concept of left and right is so flawed. It doesn’t really exist, as it is circular at best, and far too many are labeled as “right” such as the Fascists which hold too many characteristics that our “left” hold near and dear.

They aren’t conservatives, other than some quazi hold on their brand of conservation of nature.

As PT Barnum would say with respect to the Green Grift, “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

I am not completely convinced that global warming is due to human-kind and carbon emissions . . . but,

If I see a pretty field (privately or publicly owned) and throw a piece of trash in it . . .the field is still quite usable and attractive. If I and others “occupy” it or camp there and leave hundreds of items and dozens of pounds of trash and gallons of liquid waste there . . . we have messed it up for future users.

Carbon emission (like breathing or driving or whatever) is inevitable. Heck, our furry friends do it all the time. But trying to reduce it through market incentives and reward those who pollute less, is a much better non-coercive solution than:

1. Ridiculous subsidies to solar/wind energy
2. Edicts and laws against polluting automobiles

    Barry in reply to Yuckster. | April 15, 2020 at 9:27 am

    “I am not…”

    Yes you are – “…and reward those who pollute less…”

    CO2 is not a pollutant. It’s plant food, a necessity of life. If you don’t like it please stop exhaling.

    You commies are all alike.

      GWB in reply to Barry. | April 15, 2020 at 10:07 am

      CO2 is not a pollutant.
      Not entirely true. As with almost anything, the poison is in the dosage. Get enough CO2 in the air and it’s no longer a good thing.

      Of course, saying that is not in any way an endorsement of the stupidity of “CO2 causes Global Warming Cooling Climate Change!” To reach the level of actually destroying the earth or our habitation of it would require CO2 levels that would have us walking around wearing oxygen tanks. AND involve chopping down ALL the trees while doing so.

        txvet2 in reply to GWB. | April 15, 2020 at 12:04 pm

        Yeah, if you inhale a 100% concentration, you probably won’t survive it – but in fact it’s a trace gas (about .04% of the atmosphere), and at current levels, at least some studies indicate that the planet is CO2 POOR by as much as 75%.

        Barry in reply to GWB. | April 15, 2020 at 1:28 pm

        Yes, it’s entirely true. We will never reach an atmospheric level of CO2 that would be even remotely a danger.

        Saying CO2 is a pollutant is like saying H2O is a pollutant because if I hold your head under the H2O it will kill you in about 3 minutes.

    Are you advocating moving to nuclear power? If not, you’re not concerned with CO2, Leftist.

    Milhouse in reply to Yuckster. | April 17, 2020 at 3:06 am

    You are correct that if we had to reduce CO2 emissions, these methods would be the correct conservative ones for doing it. But we don’t have to do that.

Why do the environmental nutjobs plans always involve money changing hands?

    GWB in reply to Pete. | April 15, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Ummmm, free market solutions involve “money changing hands”, too. By definition.

    I think your complaint is where/how the money changes hands – through some gov’t crony in the case of Leftist solutions.

      Barry in reply to GWB. | April 15, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      “money changing hands” as used by Pete means the government taking your money at the point of a gun, In other words, theft.

      Toad-O in reply to GWB. | April 16, 2020 at 11:07 am

      No, it’s that government-imposed “free-market solutions” for a “problem” that does not exist are harmful and stupid.

They aren’t the Left
the eco-Right’s calls for big government “solutions”
Yeah, pretty much they ARE the Left.

The Republican party has been partly Left for decades now. They have mostly allowed for national government* solutions to everything, just advocating we should spend less money to accomplish it. They’ve argued for precedent over constitutionalism. They’ve nominated judges who go squishy**. They’ve advocated for globalism instead of Americanism.

None of that is rightly conservative.

(* Not nearly enough federalists in the Republican party.)
(** Too early to know whether we’ll ever see one of those horribly un-Constitutional decisions with “(appointed by Trump)” next to the judge’s name.)

As Hayden Ludwig wrote, the Niskanen Center cannot be called the Left, or Democrats. They are definitely still Republicans and conservatives and on our side. And yet this deviation of theirs is a major concern.