Green radicalism: the Great Reset in the style of Warsaw
The program pursued by the C40 Cities group is, in fact, a big business strategy to ensure that major metropolises will make enormous profit in the coming period of rapid depopulation
We owe it solely to the fast-approaching election campaign that the radical demands of the C40 group have caused such a huge media stir. Although the pretext for triggering a lively public debate was provided by a recent publication in the daily newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, information about the plans of the capital’s City Hall had been coming in for at least several years.
Warsaw joined the C40 Cities group in 2020, and by then the most controversial ideas involving membership were already well known. And yet they did not attract the attention of the mainstream media. Only election fever and the associated desire to polarize voters meant that almost everyone without exception could hear about the radical program of the world’s largest metropolises.
10 YEARS AHEAD OF OTHERS
The origins of the group to which Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski has signed up go back to 2005. When sustainable development in Poland was still a song of the distant future, the mayors of 18 major cities from around the world met in London to form a cooperation for climate protection. Just a year later, the group, named C20 in agreement with the Clinton Climate Initiative, decided to increase the number of members to 40. And although more cities kept joining the group in the following years, the official name still remained C40, because, in accordance with the intentions of its leaders, the largest cities set themselves the goal of achieving a zero-carbon paradise on earth a full decade earlier than the rest of the world.
Currently, 96 agglomerations already belong to the network of cities, some of which have even managed to declare that they will achieve climate neutrality in 2040 (including Stockholm). Since the Copenhagen summit held in 2019, member cities have been implementing the so-called Global Green New Deal adopted at the summit. This is a program that largely overlaps with similar initiatives undertaken by the United Nations or the European Union, but has some distinguishing features. This is because, unlike the classic set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals officially implemented by the United Right government, much more progressive elements can be found in the repertoire of the Global New Green Deal.
Developed four years ago in Copenhagen, the plan has won particular applause from the global left, since, according to its representatives, it is not as businesslike as most other ventures of its kind. Placing a strong emphasis on cooperation with young climate activists, the mayors of major cities want to control the lives of residents to a greater extent than central authorities. To this end, they have already been pushing for several years for solutions aimed at, among other things, forcing citizens to limit buying new clothes, owning private cars or moving mainly within a single neighborhood. Reports being prepared by the C40 Cities group say outright that the means to achieve climate goals should be the introduction of, among other things, meatless Mondays,
“tool libraries,” or the implementation of solutions that will force the full use of existing buildings (to limit new construction).
GREEN CENTRAL PLANNING
Even a cursory perusal of the ideas expressed in the Global Green New Deal leaves no illusions that their implementation will necessarily involve a new kind of communist central planning. Specialists in making humanity happy in a zero-carbon fashion have long ago laid out a meticulous timetable for major cities to gradually part with private property and reduce consumption in particular areas. The buoyant growth of the so-called urban movements in recent years should be interpreted in this light as one of the elements preparing the public for major changes. Urban activists were tasked with creating the impression that their aspirations were grassroots and an expression of the authentic needs of society, but today their program is becoming the official object of pursuit by the authorities of big cities and big business.
The implementation of a radical program that strikes at basic civil liberties in urban areas is likely to meet with considerable public resistance. However, the leaders of the C40 group are prepared for this scenario as well. According to forecasts, as much as 80% of humanity is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. This, of course, will not be the result of spontaneous migration alone, but an offshoot of the conscious policies of the creators of all kinds of green orders. As Joel Kotkin rightly pointed out in his acclaimed book “The Coming of Neo-Feudalism,” the modern financial aristocracy has been restricting middle-class access to single-family suburban development for years through appropriate spatial policies. It’s also no secret that climate policy (of which the EU’s Green Deal for agriculture is a prominent example) is designed to drive as many people as possible out of rural areas by, among other things, entrusting agricultural production to specialized entities using modern technologies. In many Western countries, in the name of climate policy, such stringent environmental standards are also imposed that building a house on one’s own plot of land becomes an expense that exceeds the financial capacity of the average citizen.
Embedded in climate policy is the project of driving as many people as possible into large cities, thus prompting their leftist administrators to radicalize their proclaimed demands. In turn, the more radical the methods of fighting for a zero-carbon future, the greater the chances of attracting big capital and raising public funds. Cities racing ahead in the zero-emission rush can, among other things, go into debt thanks to special GSS (Green Social & Sustainability) bonds backed by international institutions and governments, as well as many other green and sustainable financial instruments. For Warsaw, which lost more than PLN 1.7 billion from its annual budget as a result of the Polish Deal, such mechanisms take on special importance.
The shift to communism promoted by the C40 Group thus has a very businesslike character, which should come as no surprise given who was involved in shaping its program from the very beginning. Suffice it to mention media magnate Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and his Open Society Foundation, or the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, among others. The group’s partners also include many multinational corporations, as well as the governments of Germany, the United Kingdom or Denmark.
For Rafał Trzaskowski and the mayors of other cities, joining the C40 group also brings with it the promise of gaining even more influence on politics than they currently have. According to sustainable development, it is the cities that are supposed to decide on consumption levels, diet, or transportation. After all, the fight to supposedly save the planet will justify taking even the most radical steps.
THE HYPOCRISY OF THE RULING CAMP
In 2020, Warsaw joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Green Cities Program (GCAP), and is being assisted in the project by the British consulting and design firm Arup, boasting that as an organization it will achieve zero-carbon already in 2030. Few people are aware, however, that the money for implementing the principles developed by the C40 group obtained by Warsaw City Hall came, among others, from the Ministry of Finance. The radical demands that tore through the mainstream media in recent days were therefore well known to the government for a very long time, and apparently did not stir up any controversy for months.
The holy indignation of United Right politicians at Rafal Trzaskowski and his announcements should unfortunately be considered an expression of extreme hypocrisy. The government’s policy has long been based on a total capitulation to the sustainable development agenda, which – something that is no secret to anyone – involves reaching for very radical solutions. In a sense, the mayor of Warsaw has even acted honestly, as he has communicated to residents directly what following this particular path will entail.
In contrast, the United Right camp is still trying at all costs to camouflage the most radical consequences of environmentalist policies from voters, presenting them in such slogans as “national goals” or portraying itself as an alleged victim of Brussels’ policies. At the level of legislation, financial, and legal mechanisms, however, the government comprehensively supports all aspirations from under the sign of sustainable business. The local governments of Poland’s largest cities, most notably Warsaw, are trying to be the pioneers of sustainable development, but their efforts would never have been as successful if it were not for the support of the central government.
This article was published in February 2023 in Do Rzeczy magazine.