Conspiracy theorists weaponised against climate action

If only proponents of the 15-minute city conspiracy theory realised how much they were arguing against their own interests.

An heir to the 5G and vaccine microchip conspiracy theories, the 15-minute theory again promotes the idea that a faceless global elite is trying to control the masses.

The term 15-minute city was first used by French planner Carlos Moreno in 2015 at COP21, suggesting that greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if people lived within a 15-minute walk of their day-to-day activities.

Conspiracy theorists now hold that this will lead to climate lockdowns, with people unable to leave their suburbs.

When I was running political campaigns, voters wanted quality jobs and services close to home, to give them more time for friends and family and a better quality of life.

Conspiracy theories of this type typically take hold because people feel the system is not delivering for them economically or their way of life is being eroded and they lack control over these outcomes.

But conspiracy theories often come from somewhere. The 15-minute city theory has been linked to well-known climate change deniers, with their strategy being to undermine public support for climate action by depicting it as costing us our freedoms.

Not unlike when Scott Morrison told us electric vehicles would cost us our weekends.

The sad irony is, if we don’t get climate change under control, the issue for conspiracy theorists and their kids may be finding new places to live altogether, as rising oceans and changing weather patterns make some places uninhabitable.

This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.


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