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Environmentalists Push Global Wealth Redistribution

February 8, 2018

By Paul Homewood


The National Review exposes how environmentalists are pushing global wealth redistribution:



The environmental movement wants to make the rich West much poorer so that the destitute can become richer. Rather than improve the plight of the developing world through such crucial projects as constructing an Africa-wide electrical grid, environmentalists say significant progress will have to wait until the improvements can be sustainable–meaning that billions will have to remain mired in poverty to “save the earth.”

Having ruled out substantial growth for our destitute brothers and sisters, we are told that we will have to substantially redistribute the wealth of the West to the poor, so that the entire globe can live in a substantially lower (for us) but relatively equal standard of living.

In other words, forget creating a world with freedom of opportunity, but tilt at Utopian windmills to force equal outcomes: To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability. That’s certainly the message of a new paper published in Nature.

After identifying the criteria for a “good life,” the authors push redistributionism on a global scale. From, “A Good Life for All Within Planetary Boundaries:” (my emphasis):

We apply a top-down approach that distributes shares of each planetary boundary among nations based on current population (a per capita biophysical boundary approach). While the environmental justice literature emphasizes the need for differentiated responsibilities in practice, a per capita approach allows us to explore what quality of life could be universally achieved if resources were distributed equally. It is an important question to address given that it is often claimed that all people could live well if only the rich consumed less, so that the poor could consume more.

This means limits, limits, limits!

Read the full story here.


This is the Nature paper’s Abstract:

Humanity faces the challenge of how to achieve a high quality of life for over 7 billion people without destabilizing critical planetary processes. Using indicators designed to measure a ‘safe and just’ development space, we quantify the resource use associated with meeting basic human needs, and compare this to downscaled planetary boundaries for over 150 nations. We find that no country meets basic needs for its citizens at a globally sustainable level of resource use. Physical needs such as nutrition, sanitation, access to electricity and the elimination of extreme poverty could likely be met for all people without transgressing planetary boundaries. However, the universal achievement of more qualitative goals (for example, high life satisfaction) would require a level of resource use that is 2–6 times the sustainable level, based on current relationships. Strategies to improve physical and social provisioning systems, with a focus on sufficiency and equity, have the potential to move nations towards sustainability, but the challenge remains substantial. 

Forget about “high life satisfaction” then!


There are four authors. Three work at the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.

The fourth, William Lamb is at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Berlin.

I wonder how much money UK taxpayers are forking out to the University of Leeds, to fund this marxist research?

  1. Hivemind permalink
    February 8, 2018 11:32 am

    “… how much money UK taxpayers are forking out to the University of Leeds, to fund this marxist research…”

    Even if it was only a pound, it’s too much.

    • February 8, 2018 1:28 pm

      From the Economic and Social Research Council

      “ESRC are committed to funding social science research relating to climate and environmental change, and have invested over £50 million in recent years. We are now investing £23 million in a series of strategic investments over five years that will build on this research-base.

      The first two investments under the climate change priority will be announced in March 2018.”

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 8, 2018 1:38 pm

        Did they fund this report and who funds them?

  2. John Hak permalink
    February 8, 2018 11:35 am

    These so called protectors and defenders of the poor are becoming more and more Marxist in the philosophies that they are now copying the same dictators who brought most of Africa and the other Third World countries to their present situation. Such lunacy of thought only makes them even more stupid in the eyes of those who really need help.

    • February 9, 2018 1:00 pm

      And the much lauded Paris Climate Accord won’t allow African countries such as Kenya to mine coal and use it for power plants. So the people starve. And the elites cluck about wealth redistribution.

  3. February 8, 2018 11:37 am

    This is just more “sustainability” crap.

    But isn’t incitement to theft a criminal offense? If not, it ought to be.

  4. February 8, 2018 11:38 am

    Political rubbish!

  5. February 8, 2018 11:40 am

    Yes, this is the 21st century Marxist Movement hidden behind platitudes, deception, and falsehoods.

  6. Joe Public permalink
    February 8, 2018 11:49 am

    As confirmed by Ottmar Edenhofer in 2010:

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 8, 2018 11:59 am

    The whole point of economic progress is to do more with less, whether labour or other inputs. That’s how we got richer than dirt-poor, and that’s how the poor today will get rich.

    This paper simply ignores the fundamental reason the “inequality” they bemoan exists, which seems utterly stupid.

    But then the Left pretty much always ignores that.

  8. Jack Broughton permalink
    February 8, 2018 12:09 pm

    I appear to be one of the few contributors to this site whose politics are to the left of Genghis, so I hope my views will not cause too much upset. The redistribution of wealth has been subject to much debate and the progress has generally been slow. However, investment programmes in the developing world, from slavery onwards, have made the rich on both sides very rich, while doing little for the poor: trickle-down is a right wing myth.

    The idealistic belief that wealth should be given to the poor is more one of religion than politics, (e.g. only the poor will go to heaven, giving alms to placate Allah, selling indulgences etc). The countries nearest to practising Marxism (USSR / China) gave little money away: the collapse of the USSR was mainly due to the high cost of subsidising satellite states.

    “Environmentalism” is a form of religion and feel-good philosophy among the well-off middle-classes, with little to do with the environment: the poor are not in the slightest interested in the debate, they want improved living conditions.

    Linking environmentalism to socialism / Marxism is totally fallacious: the environmental movement is totally funded by the richest countries in the world, few of which could be described as even modern-socialist states. It is the ultra-wealthy financiers of “environmentalism” who need to be attacked.

    • Nigel S permalink
      February 8, 2018 2:00 pm

      This from Feb 3rd post is against you.

      China’s climb out of poverty and 60million+ deaths is the result of embracing capitalism albeit with a corrupt party in charge, akin to National Socialism perhaps.

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      February 8, 2018 2:01 pm

      Environmentalism, socialism and religions are almost universal in their idea that to get a better society the ‘rich’ have to have a lot less. But somehow it always involves the poor having very little at all. Capitalism doesn’t try to remove inequality but it has allowed the poor to have much more.

      By any measure you can think of, almost all the people in this country (and many more) are rich by historical standards. It might not feel that way because socialism is the mantra of jealousy. Warmists refuse to say how much CO2 each person is entitled to because they know that they already exceed the maximum. Similarly, socialists refuse to say what wealth would be fair, because the loudest voices are already too rich for their world view.

      • dave permalink
        February 8, 2018 3:54 pm


        The politics of the Environmentalists is the same as that of Genghis:

        “The conquered were heavily taxed, and the proceeds distributed to everyone in the clan”

        And of Yogi Bear:

        “I rob from the rich and I give to the poor – with something on the side for expenses!”

    • February 8, 2018 4:27 pm

      “Linking environmentalism to socialism / Marxism is totally fallacious …”

      A major common thread there is the supremacy of emotion over reason in the “Left”, the other way round in the “Right”.

    • Terbrugghen permalink
      February 8, 2018 5:53 pm

      There is an even more basic problem with the idea of redistribution of wealth. The idea is founded on a radical decoupling of wealth, property, or benefit from individual action or choice. Redistribution of wealth just rains proceeds onto people without regard to proportion, fairness, or condition. And if history serves any purpose at all, it demonstrates that wealth redistribution schemes always involve a healthy, significant, and always growing “cut” for those in charge of enforcing the latest version of “fairness.” It is a constant source of amazement to me that otherwise thoughtful folks always seem to “miss” (or intentionally disregard?) this unavoidable fact of human nature.

    • February 8, 2018 6:11 pm

      +Jack being twenty-three times lefter than you, my ambition is to make the poor richer. Your ambition is to make the rich poorer. If you understood economics you would know that these are incompatible and contradictory aims. Your assertion that the poor have gained nothing from the massive spread of free markets over the last fifty years is counter-factual. For the first time in human history, less than ten per cent of the global population live in absolute poverty.

      Stop reading ISR. As a non-statist socialist I would advise you that it’s the worst place on the internet to look for the truth.

      • February 8, 2018 6:42 pm

        Apologies for my illiteracy, for “less than ten per cent” read “fewer than ten per cent.” (Mine fewer.)

  9. Nordisch-geo-climber permalink
    February 8, 2018 12:12 pm

    Leeds is top dog for NERC funding, see page 21 of their annual report:

  10. jim permalink
    February 8, 2018 12:35 pm

    Since Strong, its clear that the green blob is part of an initially northern european and now world wide socialist movement for redistribution. That is the only rationale for Paris , for instance. which is why Trump pulled out, nothing to do with ‘science’.
    However this socialist movement, linked as JB describes to pseudo religious beliefs replacing the void left by the decline of judeo-christianity in the west, is only part of the story. It represents the ‘foot soldiers’ of the movement.
    Again as JB says, the real power behind this , are the elite, the billionaires, the financiers, their willing political henchmen, who see the opportunity to use the socialism and religiosity of the masses to enrich themselves and reinforce their position of power. They don’t care if green energy is cr*p, they don’t care if electric vehicles are cr*p, they want western society to be weakened and overall standards reduced globally for the billions of ordinary folk. They want a more pliable, fearful population. They want this, because they want power.
    Enlightened scientific, logical thinking by the many is the very last thing these elites want. They want a new feudal, ‘medieval’ age, where the masses can marvel at the technology in the hands of the few, whilst grubbing around spending all their energy on survival.

    • Terbrugghen permalink
      February 8, 2018 5:57 pm

      There’s nothing inherently wrong with religion, organized, secular, green, or otherwise. Religion in that context is merely strongly held belief. One must hold strong beliefs in order to criticize the strong beliefs of others. . you see the catch 22 there, hopefully.

      The problem is not religion per se, but the use of the force against the individual by large groups under the sway of questionable leadership. Let all donate to the green cause as they see fit. But when it becomes the state religion enforced by law and reaching into the pockets of the man on the street, then it becomes illegitimate use of social force. (not to mention the distortion and outright decimation of scientific integrity required to fall for the green myth that we’ve seen lately.)

    • February 8, 2018 6:35 pm

      +jim the first rule of ranting is that you must use ALL CAPS.

      The first rule of ranting about economics is that you should know something about economics. Look at the economic performance of the world’s nations over the last century (when national statistics first started to be kept by the majority of countries) and you will see that great opportunities are only available to the would-be wealthy in countries with a free, independent citizenry. Otherwise, explain to me why dues-paying members of the billionaire cabal so frequently come unstuck when their greedy power-seeking corporations wither away to nothing in the face of new competition from non-members.

  11. Adam_0625 permalink
    February 8, 2018 12:39 pm

    “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

  12. February 8, 2018 1:32 pm

    Climate “science” has always been about impoverishing the West by forcing us to use totally inefficient and archaic methods of energy generation. It is all about UN Agenda 2030. Socialists conveniently forget that as a result of Capitalism this has happened:

    • A C Osborn permalink
      February 8, 2018 5:43 pm

      Spot on!

  13. TinyCO2 permalink
    February 8, 2018 2:42 pm

    I think that some of you are over estimating the intelligence of warmists. While it’s true that they want to redistribute wealth to the poor countries, they don’t do the maths that says someone else has to get poorer. The money comes from the magic tree that is never exhausted and is funded by oil companies. Even if the oil businesses were gone, they’d be somehow be making vast profits that would fund the magic money tree.

    I think it’s the compartmental way warmists think that allows them to trust in renewables. They don’t see all the different effects of having an intermittent supply. It’s enough for them that renewables work cheaply some of the time. Taken in isolation, believing in the science is no problem for them because it’s a black and white question. Whereas for us, trust in something is related to lots of other factors. The more implications of a subject, the greater amount of evidence there needs to be. Counter evidence has to be part of our judgement process.

  14. John Scott permalink
    February 8, 2018 3:00 pm

    Over population in the third world, now referred to as Lesser Developed Countries by the UN, is a significant problem regarding sustainability/viability for the future of humanity. Even in the mess of the Middle East children are being born into large young families eight years into a relentless war of attrition.This suggests mindless neglect by the families regardless of what their religious leaders tell them. Some African states are multiplying their populations to a degree that they cannot feed themselves and have to rely on the Charity Industry and the largess of the West whose populations, except for immigration, would be static. The Chinese are the only nation which took positive action on over-population. I recall that an Indian Raj was asked how he could live such a lavish lifestyle when all around him was poverty. He replied that if he gave away all his wealth to the poor they would be poor again in a couple of days. This probably still holds true for global redistribution of wealth

  15. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 8, 2018 3:16 pm

    The use of the word “planetary” is interesting.

    . . . without transgressing planetary boundries.

    . . . without destabilizing critical planetary processes.

    Do they mean Mercury, Venus, & Mars?
    Or are they meaning “national”?

    Their idea is to do away with nations, national boundaries, and to destablize all wealth creating activities.
    Apparently they believe wealth is something that has been tossed around the world in a random fashion, and they know how to fix it.

  16. February 8, 2018 4:27 pm

    The implementation of Ecoloon insanity is immoral as it kills and impoverishes the very people who are supposed to benefit.

    Alex Epstein has explained the immorality of the “Greenies”:

    He has also written a book on the subject:

  17. markl permalink
    February 8, 2018 4:31 pm

    The Socialist/Marxist cabal won’t be happy until they drag everyone in the world down to the lowest common denominator.

    • Broadlands permalink
      February 8, 2018 5:39 pm

      That will be so low that you will have to look under to see anything.

  18. sarastro92 permalink
    February 8, 2018 5:14 pm

    This is just the latest re-cycled propaganda from the Club of Rome/ Limits to Growth crowd… which was a body of capitalist oligarchs not Communists…

    • dave permalink
      February 8, 2018 5:25 pm

      “…current population…”

      There is a movable feast!

      The population of Saudi Arabia* has expanded EIGHT-FOLD since I grew up. Are they now entitled to EIGHT times more from me, than earlier? And, am I morally obliged to let them take it?

      *Just substitute YOUR favourite place of population explosion.

  19. February 8, 2018 6:16 pm

    I totally agree that every household on earth should have the same basic benefits, such as electrical laundry and cooking equipment. So let’s give them to everyone in the undeveloped countries! At the same time give them modern, fossil-fueled or nuclear power plants so that there’s electricity to run the damn things or they’ll just sit there and rust.

  20. Stonyground permalink
    February 8, 2018 6:19 pm

    “trickle-down is a right wing myth.”

    For this to be true no one would have to ever spend any of their money on anything whatsoever. Wealthy people would have to be living in actual poverty because they never buy anything but simply hoard huge amounts of cash. In reality paying for goods and services means that someone has to be employed to provide them. In this way money is redistributed downwards and sideways, it is just the natural consequence of a free market economy. To claim that this simple and obvious reality is a myth is absurd.

    On the other hand Marxist wealth distribution schemes always end in abject poverty for everyone except a tiny privileged elite, always, there are no exceptions. Unbelievably, there are many people who still believe that such schemes are a good idea.

  21. Greg permalink
    February 8, 2018 7:32 pm

    In other words rich white people want to spread just enough of their wealth to the brown people so that they can visit on holiday and enjoy watching the brown people exist in their current ‘natural’ environment. Nothing is more racist than the global warming / environmentalist crowd.

  22. Gamecock permalink
    February 10, 2018 3:54 pm

    ‘Humanity faces the challenge of how to achieve a high quality of life for over 7 billion people without destabilizing critical planetary processes.’

    Who is this Humanity fella and why should I care what he wants to do?

    Humanity is not a single entity, of one mind, and one goal.

    These people are just neocolonialists, offering word salad to justify their intrusions.

  23. catweazle666 permalink
    February 10, 2018 5:45 pm

    Here you go, straight from the horse’s mouth.

    At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.
    Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

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