Conspiracy theorists have recently latched on to the concept of 15-minute cities, directing anger and death threats to the the professor behind the idea, Carlos Moreno, for creating an alleged ‘precursor’ to so-called ‘climate lockdowns‘. ISD’s Explainer on the narratives fuelling the feared climate lockdowns is featured in the New York Times, along with commentary by our Head of Climate Research & Policy, Jennie King. Jennie explains how 15-minute cities– an urban planning concept where everything anyone can need, like schools or pharmacies, would be available at walking distance– “turbocharged” discussion among climate sceptics and climate deniers.
“You have this snowball effect of a policy, which in principle was only going to affect a small urban population, getting extrapolated and becoming this crucible where far-right groups, industry-sponsored lobbying groups, conspiracist movements, anti-lockdown groups and more saw an opportunity to insert their worldview into the mainstream and to piggyback on the news cycle,” she said.
The hate directed at Moreno, a scientist who’s been working in different research fields since the 80s, and other researchers in the field reflects “the broader erosion of trust in experts and institutions,” Jennie said. She further explained how modern conspiracy theorists and extremists are using individuals they disagree with as “scapegoats” for real-world concerns, creating an “us-versus-them” environment.
The full article is available on the NYT.