This is from the same MLK-day event that Ed wrote about earlier. In this clip she’s using hyperbole to make a point about the “the fierce urgency of now” with regard to climate change, but she’s also making a backhand plea for the rest of her socialist agenda. We’ll get to her dystopia comment in a moment but let’s start at the beginning.
“Millenials and Gen Z and all these folks that came after us are looking up and we’re like ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we going to pay for it?'” Ocasio Cortez said. She added, “And, like, this is the war, this is our World War II.”
The remark about having 12 years left didn’t come out of thin air. That’s the timeframe the United Nations recently placed on the time we have to limit the impact of rising temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. From a Guardian story published last October:
The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
So is the world going to end if we don’t fix this? No, it’s not. That’s hyperbole. The argument is that if the temperature does rise 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 that could have a far more serious impact on sea levels and available drinking water, etc. The world wouldn’t end but it could become more of a challenge to sustain a population of many billions.
But even if you accept the UN climate change predictions about the year 2100 as gospel, it still matters how we address it and more specifically how we pay to address it. AOC desperately wants to sidestep that question, not because it’s not important, but because she has shown over and over and over that she can’t answer it. The only way to avoid talking about the cost of her green agenda is to frame it as a catastrophe of such magnitude that the cost is irrelevant. You don’t ask how much it costs to defeat the Nazis, you just go all in. Of course, the Nazis were a bit more proximate in their threat to human life and civilization than climate change 81 years from now.
There’s another glaring problem with AOC’s call for dramatic action. You can’t really know for certain whether her interest is in limiting climate change per se or in remaking America from the ground up with climate change as a lever. After calling this her generation’s World War II, she said, “How are we saying let’s take it easy when the nth person has just died from our cruel and unjust criminal justice system?” She continued, “How are we saying take it easy when the America that we’re living in today is so dystopian, with people sleeping in their cars so they can work a second job without health care—and we’re told to settle down.”
dystopia: an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives
Do Americans feel they’re living in a dystopia? There are literally caravans of people willing to walk more than a thousand miles to get here because they know being poor in America is better than where they’re from. If America is a dystopia, what is socialist Venezuela right now? And how come AOC never talks about that?
In any case, if all of that sounds like a complete non sequitur from her talk about climate change, you haven’t been paying attention. For AOC, addressing climate change isn’t an end in itself, it’s a means to an end. Back in December at a climate change panel, she said, “It’s inevitable that we can use the transition to 100% renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America. That is our proposal and that is what we are here to do.”
AOC’s agenda is a lot broader than preventing climate change. In her mind, there’s a socialist utopia just around the corner and climate change is the “vehicle” to get us there. Put another way, she wants this to be a crisis because that gives people like her latitude to make dramatic changes to everything, not just how we produce electricity. So it’s fair to ask how much she really believes (or understands) the science she’s referencing. How much of her enthusiasm is just the run-of-the-mill desire for more state control every socialist has embraced since long before anyone was talking about climate change goals. There’s a fine line between love for the planet and naked desire for power. Her fans don’t seem to see the latter in AOC’s grand pronouncements but it’s there.