Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said that climate-related issues are being “exploited” by wealthy individuals in a bid to enact “totalitarian controls” over society.
“Climate issues and pollution issues are being exploited by … mega billionaires” like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Kennedy told radio host Kim Iversen over the past weekend. “The same way that COVID was exploited to use it as an excuse to clamp down top-down totalitarian controls on society and then to give us engineering solutions.”
“And if you look closely, as it turns out, the guys who are promoting those engineering solutions are the people who own … the patents for those solutions,” Kennedy said during Iversen’s show. “It’s a way they’ve given climate chaos a bad name because people now see that it’s just another crisis that’s being used to strip mine the wealth of the poor and to enrich billionaires.”
“I, for 40 years, have had the same policy on climate and engineering,” said Kennedy, the scion of former Attorney General and New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. “You can go check my speeches from the 1980s, and I’ve said the most important solution for environmental issues [is] not top-down controls, it’s free market capitalism.”
Kennedy—a longtime environmental activist and lawyer—wrote in a 2014 blog post for corporations and other groups that “sponsor climate lies” should face punishment. But he wrote that he “support[s] the First Amendment which makes room for any citizen to, even knowingly, spew far more vile lies without legal consequence” before adding at the time: “I do, however, believe that corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously, and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty,” Kennedy wrote for EcoWatch.
Kennedy’s comments about climate change years ago were highlighted by Fox News and other right-leaning publications after he declared his candidacy for president last month. Although he’s better known for his comments about childhood vaccines, Kennedy worked as an environmental lawyer for New York City and also for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).