Has Bill Gates decided to wave the white flag on "climate change"? A recent speech by the Microsoft founder, lefty philanthropist, food maven, and mega-billionaire makes it sounds that way. Here's Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds writing at the New York Post with a description of the appearance:
Speaking at a New York Times event, [Gates] observed that heavy-handed policies won’t work: “If you try to do climate brute force, you will get people who say, ‘I like climate but I don’t want to bear that cost and reduce my standard of living.’” As Gates noted, many of these people are in middle-income countries, like China and India, that are the biggest contributors to carbon emissions today and whose emissions (unlike those of the United States) have been growing. He also rained on the greens’ apocalyptic parade, saying “no temperate country is going to become uninhabitable.” And he cautioned against untested approaches like massive tree planting: “Are we the science people or are we the idiots? Which one do we want to be?”
So he's at least tapping the brakes, and -- more interestingly -- pushing back on some of the climate lies of his fellow travelers, with that bit about countries becoming uninhabitable. But why? Reynolds again:
It’s interesting to see Gates softening his tone; it feels as if climate outrage has passed its sell-by date. Oh, sure, there are still kooks in Europe gluing themselves to roadways and the occasional nut throwing oil on famous works of art, but it’s all started to seem rather forced.
When you see a shift in a social trend like this, it’s almost always happening for the same reason: The people behind it have figured out it’s doing the left more harm than good. It’s of a piece with the sudden de-emphasis of ESG (environmental, social, governance) as a tool of corporate management. In both cases, the detached, well-off white people who mostly run the left dreamed up causes and slogans, which their follow-the-herd peers uncritically adopted until they ran into reality and the rest of the world noticed....
The reality, as Gates is reminding us, is there’s not actually a climate “crisis” calling for drastic action tomorrow, and running businesses and institutions as if there is one is counterproductive and even outright destructive. Another reality is the great mass of people around the globe knows this and has lost patience with it.
Not so fast, kids.
So the brains behind the Left are realizing that their overt actions are freaking out normal people, which will make it a lot harder for them to achieve their goals. That includes voting for Republicans who could make it nearly impossible for them to bend the country to their will. Gates's play is to manage his own sides expectations so that they seem a bit less crazy. Will it work? It's an open question. Because a lot of the energy on the environmentalist Left comes from the crazy side. Remember the activists who blocked the roads into Burning Man? Or the Soup Nazi attacks on priceless works of art across Europe? The nuts gluing themselves to roads?
There's a similar dynamic at play here to the confrontation of which we reported on a few weeks ago at a fundraiser for Massachusetts' Democrat governor Maura Healey. On one side was the wealthy Boomer fundraiser attendees. On the other, the youthful climate cultists who interrupted the event, because they felt that Healey and her supporters were sell-outs for accepting even the slightest bit of climate reality.
Irresponsible Boomer propaganda created these eco-anxiety afflicted child-soldiers. And Gates is likely find out that calling back the troops isn't so easy.