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Greta Thunberg and John Kerry will love this

Climate alarmists love to refer to the ‘existential threat’ of climate change, including our new president. And their fear typically comes with a verbal wagging finger pointed at anyone who dares to ask questions or point out hypocrisy. Here’s how the Biden administration’s climate envoy,  John Kerry, reacted when a reporter asked why he used a private jet to accept an award for, well, for telling the rest of us to change our lives and stop killing the planet with our carbon footprint.

“I believe the time it takes me to get somewhere, I can’t sail across the ocean, I have to fly to meet with people and get things done,” he continued. “But what I’m doing almost full-time is working to win the battle of climate change. And in the end, if I offset and contribute my life to do this, I’m not going to be put on the defensive.”

Last week, Kerry recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies.

So much for humility. Today, it’s perfectly fine to carve out an exception for yourself, but then advocate that government prohibit other people from living their lives and earning a living in ways you don’t like.

Now that many Americans have grown accustomed to government lockdowns and shutdowns during a public health crisis — a very real pandemic — one has to wonder what’s next. How long it will take big-government advocates to apply the shutdown/lockdown precedent to their pet issues — like climate change. Stephen L. Miller writes:

The possibility of climate lockdowns is already being floated by some of our greatest thinkers. They see a confluence of global crises as an opportunity. The perfect storm caused by COVID-19 and the resulting global economic meltdown offers a chance to take what they see as bold and dramatic action to save the planet. The Biden administration will certainly use the consequences of COVID to push through some green legislation, but just as before, it will not be enough in the eyes of progressives. There must always be more.

Mariana Mazzucato, an author and a professor in innovative economics at the University of London, raised the prospect of climate lockdowns in MarketWatch last September:

‘Under a “climate lockdown”, governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat, and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling. To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures and do capitalism differently.’

Miller brilliantly characterizes what could be brewing among the climate alarmists:

Fifteen Days to Slow the Sun!

Here in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper is all in on climate alarmism. His roadmap is the “Clean Energy Plan.” Locke’s Dr. Don van der Vaart analyzed the Cooper plan back in September. Notice the reference to the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Biden is rejoining after President Trump withdrew.

In the fall of 2017, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper joined 24 other governors in the US Climate Alliance. The Alliance has the goal of implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change after President Trump withdrew the US from it earlier that year. In joining each governor commits to “implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

According to the leader of the United Nations group that negotiated it, essentially the Paris Agreement was designed to destroy capitalism. And Cooper is committed to implementing the Paris Agreement here, via his “Clean Energy Plan” (CEP).

Cooper’s CEP is not a serious plan to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs). It is, however, a serious attempt to increase the price of energy and force a redistribution of wealth.

Here’s the worry: We now have precedent for imposing large-scale, long-term government control of the economy. Once we’re past the COVID-19 pandemic, how long do you think it will take elected officials to see the opportunity for government to claim an ’emergency’ and step in? Let’s hope neither President Biden nor Gov. Cooper will take that step. So far, they haven’t.

What we have seen is precedent set in North Carolina for the long-term use of powers in the Emergency Management Act — unilaterally and without the consent of the other statewide elected officials. That’s one reason the Locke Foundation is urging state lawmakers to reform the Emergency Management Act and rein in the power of the executive, no matter who sits in the governor’s mansion.

Donna Martinez / Senior Writer and Editor

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...