- - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Most leftists operate in a haze of hypocrisy, blinded by a total lack of self-awareness. They preach sanctimoniously to the rest of us about how we should lead our lives, usually without a compulsion to lead their lives in similar fashion. The “rules” they generate and enforce through intimidation, fear and often the force of government, are for the rest of us suckers. Case in point: Democrats trying to stick us with the horrors of Obamacare while demanding exemptions for their political cronies — and for themselves.

But the leftist hypocrisy on climate change deserves special mention. After haranguing us for years about the need to abandon fossil fuels, to adopt renewable “clean energy” and to conserve whenever possible, environmental spokesmodels Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio fly on private jets to “climate conferences” and President Obama hikes the White House thermostat to nearly 80 degrees in the winter because he’s “from Hawaii.”

One of the worst offenders of climate hypocrisy is billionaire leftist and climate “activist” Tom Steyer. Mr. Steyer feels so passionately about the subject that he essentially bought the Senate floor in 2014 for an all-night climate talk-fest. That same year, he pledged to spend more than $100 million to defeat those he denounces as climate change “deniers” in the midterm elections. The Republicans enjoyed a nationwide landslide, so great return on investment, Tom. One wonders how he made his billions.

A few weeks ago, Pope Francis issued a call to action regarding climate change. Mr. Steyer then wrote a column in The Huffington Post praising His Holiness for his “moral” leadership and then attempted to link his own mission to the pope. Given Mr. Steyer’s outspokenness, it’s only fair that we examine his real agenda.

Pope Francis said that God will judge those who fail to take care of the Earth. I wonder what he would say about Mr. Steyer’s history of investing in dirty energy, and the continued investments by his hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, in dirty energy?

As The New York Times put it, “an examination of those investments shows that even after his highly public divestment, the coal-related projects his firm bankrolled will generate tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution for years, if not decades, to come.

“Over the past 15 years, Mr. Steyer’s fund has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that operate coal mines and coal-fired power plants from Indonesia to China . The expected life span of those facilities may run through 2030.”

Yet Mr.”Clean Energy” calls for new carbon and drilling taxes that will raise energy prices and hurt poor and middle-class families.

Pope Francis also said that in an age of unbridled capitalism, charitable giving is the way to spread the “love of God.” But what would he say about a hedge fund billionaire who thinks giving nearly $70 million to his own superPACs counts as charity?

The pope has also condemned income inequality and called for widespread wealth redistribution. What, then, would he say about a man who owns two mansions (collectively valued at about $15 million) in San Francisco, a city long plagued by chronic homelessness?

His Holiness also regularly criticizes ruthless capitalism. I wonder what he would say about Mr. Steyer’s history as a “vulture” investor and his investments in economic trainwrecks, resulting in very real pain for very real people (as when Mr. Steyer poured $200 million in financing into a major subprime lender, Accredited Home Lenders Holding?)

The pope issued a call to ” strongly denounce corruption” and condemn actions that “impoverish families, honest workers and retirees, while marginalizing the neediest and depriving young people of hope.”

So one wonders what he might say about Mr. Steyer’s efforts to squirrel away vast sums of his personal fortune in offshore bank accounts to avoid paying his “fair share” of taxes. Would the pope consider Mr. Steyer’s lifestyle sufficiently sacrificial if he knew of Mr. Steyer’s six luxury homes — all but one without solar panels and all of which generate massive carbon footprints?

If we agree that we have a moral responsibility to try to lift billions of people out of poverty and improve the quality of their lives, then at least one of the answers is clear. Oil and natural gas are affordable, dependable energy resources that will potentially help tens of millions of people in developing nations. But if Mr. Steyer has his way, we will all just have to pay more for the fuels we do have and for untested, unreliable ones that won’t make one ounce of measurable change to the global climate.

I don’t begrudge anyone wealth and prosperity, particularly when they’ve worked hard to achieve it. But I do have a problem with the hypocrisy of those who live by their own rules while insisting that the rest of us must live by a different, more draconian and suffocating set of them.

Perhaps a papal prayer is in order — for Mr. Steyer.

Monica Crowley is online opinion editor at The Washington Times.

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