Indoctrinating Judges on 'Climate Change'

Lisa Schiffren20 Jan, 2024 4 Min Read
With a little help from their friends...

An obscure judicial advocacy organization called the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), which is funded by left-wing non-profit organizations, is training judges across the country to prepare them for "climate change"-related cases. Since no one on the right is doing anything similar, the prospects for huge scale institutional capture are enormous. According to a Fox News report, the Washington D.C. based ELI created the Climate Judiciary Project (CJP) in 2018. Since it began six years ago, more than 1,700 judges have participated in various classes. They have hosted 42 events and created 13 curriculum modules, called Climate Science and Law for Judges. Says Fox, “The project’s reach has extended to various state and federal courts, including powerful appellate courts, and comes as various cities and states pursue high profile litigation against the oil industry.”

So far, they've have taught judges from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th federal circuits. One session they hosted recently took place at the annual winter meeting of the Ninth Federal Circuit. So they’re definitely getting around. “In 2022, the Environmental Law Institute said it led 80 events, ranging from conferences, policy forums and boot camps on topics that included climate change, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, decarbonization, the Endangered Species Act, energy law, environmental criminal enforcement, environmental justice and ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance),” according to Fox Digital.

Puppeteers everywhere.

On its website, ELI emphasizes that its content is non-partisan, indeed not political in any way:

This program holds true to ELI’s course of nonpartisanship and nonadvocacy, drawing deeply on ELI’s commitment to high quality, bias-free content. Our collaborators — among them faculty of leading universities, government and private research institutions, and members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine — are likewise known for their impartiality and are at the top of their fields in science and judicial education.

These claims are not particularly meaningful in a field – climate science – which is today almost totally politicized. As readers of The Pipeline well know, the number of authorities on "climate change" at major universities or within the government’s extensive bureaucracy, who are not adherents of the bogus anti-human, anti-civilization narrative, can be counted on, maybe, both hands and feet. The very concept of "climate change" itself – formerly called "global warming," among other things — is ideological. So what, exactly, are American judges being taught, to render them putatively scientifically literate enough to adjudicate environmental/climate cases?

Like the ELI's site, the CLP's website, also strives to used measured language and present a non-ideological face. But, at the end of the day, the curriculum takes the traditional position of blaming the production and use of fossil fuels for changes in the weather. The CLP posits that if carbon emissions continue at their present rate, average global temperatures will rise as much as 4.8 degrees Celsius by 2100. The current U.N. target is 1.5 degrees Celsius, a number that is at once conjectural and ideological. "The only factor that can clearly explain the rising temperatures of the two centuries is the increasing level of atmospheric greenhouse gases, modulated by land cover change and increases in atmospheric aerosols (pollutants) from human activities," one of the modules states.

A different module concerns the social-justice driven concept of “climate justice.” That is the idea that the poor and "people of color" deal with worse “climate” because their lives are not as well insulated as the middle classes. For instance, poor neighborhoods tend to have fewer trees creating shade, fewer green parks, and often are adjacent to abandoned factories or polluted waterways. So they have “elevated exposure to heat, vehicular traffic, hazardous materials and pollutants, decaying civic infrastructure, poverty, and crime.” Since poverty is the cause of these suboptimal circumstances, it is odd to cite it as an artifact. And crime, which has a relationship to poverty, has no relationship to greenhouse gases or fossil fuels, which makes it an odd factor to note as well. So we know that this is entirely political. 

Wonder which way they vote.

A module called “Solving the Climate Change Problem” starts by calling for “massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid major disruptions to human life.” It embraces the "net-zero by 2050" goal, as well as the rest of the Paris Agreement goals. It also borrows from a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, that, for some reason, seems to think that the precepts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are part of net-zero emissions.

The NAS report similarly describes socioeconomic goals of a strengthened U.S. economy that cost-effectively supports communities, businesses, and workers, while promoting equity and inclusion. All are large and complex, but doable, according to the NAS.

So, again, the judges are being fed ideology before everything in their "education." As for who funds this lefty legal project, the Environmental Law Institute reported $8.6 million in revenue last year, mostly from "progressive" non-profits, like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Alfred Sloan Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation gave ELI $500,000 in 2020, expressly for the Climate Judiciary Project. The foundation stated, clearly, in its bequest that, “This will lead to better informed decisions and ultimately build a body of law supporting climate action.”

Of that we have no doubt. But the favored “climate action” is not always preferable to judicious inaction.

Lisa Schiffren has been an editorial writer, political reporter, war correspondent, (Afghanistan during the Soviet war, before there were roads), and GOP speechwriter. She wrote speeches for Vice President Dan Quayle, and worked in Counterterrorism/Special Operations policy at the Department of Defense. She writes these days from her native New York City.


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One comment on “Indoctrinating Judges on 'Climate Change'”

  1. One thing the Left has been particularly successful at is identifying choke points by which to bulldoze their agenda through. For example, assaults on gun ownership through sharing of credit card purchase data of ammunition, etc. and corresponding requirements for background checks. Coming up next, stringent liability insurance requirements for gun owners (they can trace you better that way).

    This is of the same nature, and quite economically efficient, although I think most of the attendees at these things are in the climate Mafia's hip pocket anyway. What is more disturbing, however, is the public being totally on board with all of this. NewYork voters, for example (who else?) passed an amendment to the state constitution establishing a "right" to a "clean environment". I understand this is on the books in other states as well. Can anyone think of a better way to line the pockets of bottom-fishing lawyers?

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