The climate change protesters shutting down DC’s streets want change without substance – Washington Examiner

We’re all criminals, according to the “climate rebels” shutting down D.C.’s streets — er, causing more cars to idle, creating more pollution and greenhouse emissions.

In an attempt to bring “the whole city to a gridlocked standstill,” climate change protesters blocked traffic on several major expressways and downtown intersections over the weekend, and continue to do so today.

At 16th and K Street NW, the protesters carried with them a small yellow and pink boat, plastered with “Rebel for life” in black. Some of the activists had chained their arms in tubes around the boat to prevent law enforcement from forcing them out of the street. When that didn’t work, they set up stepladders in the middle of 18th Street, demanding Republicans and Democrats alike to “tell the truth.”

The protest is as counterproductive as the activists’ antics. Blocking roads and forcing cars to sit in indefinite traffic does more harm to the environment, and to human beings, than the relatively minor environmental issues these activists are fighting against, such as meat consumption and fossil fuel dependence.

Given the existential nature of this crisis, you’d think the climate rebels would be more conscientious about their own environmental footprint. But they don’t care, or if they do, they’ll argue it’s a small sacrifice to pay for change.

What that change is, however, is something even the climate rebels haven’t figured out. They say they want progressive reforms and environmental restrictions that would put Obama-era regulations to shame. And they want higher-stakes consequences for those who refuse to get on board, such as meat taxes for non-vegetarians and non-vegans, and “reparations” for “climate damages” inflicted by fossil fuel executives. Similar to the Green New Deal, the climate rebels make bold, radical recommendations without the substance to see them through.

And can you blame them? Many of these protesters are just kids, put up to this by grown-ups who should know better. Hundreds of students have ditched the classrooms over the past few weeks as part of a coordinated climate change walkout. Of course, their youth shouldn’t discount their efforts. If anything, it makes them stronger. Take, for example, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who has spearheaded the walkout effort. Say what you will, Thunberg’s conviction and passion are remarkable. That she’s attained both at such a young age is perhaps even more remarkable.

But like any 16-year-old, Thunberg has a lot to learn. The proposals she’s signed onto, spelled out in the Youth Climate Strike’s manifesto, have been debunked multiple times by UN-sponsored studies and IPCC assessment reports, as Noah Rothman notes in the New York Post. She likes to fall back on science — Listen to the scientists if you won’t listen to us! — despite the fact that the science seems to disagree with her. And like the other climate “rebels,” Thunberg has yet to offer practical solutions. That’s because Thunberg’s role is similar to the Green New Deal’s and this week’s D.C. protest: to draw attention to a problem in an eye-catching, extreme way and hope that it makes a difference.

But extremism only goes so far, which explains why the climate change movement has little legislative support, even among Democrats. The D.C. protests won’t make a difference. The climate rebels want a societal reawakening and policies to match it, but when this week is over, they’ll have nothing but a yellow and pink boat and a few empty classrooms to show for it.


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