At the Intersection of Art and Climate In California

When the California Air Resources Board opens its new headquarters in two years in Riverside, it will be basking in the radiance of the “world’s largest permanent collection of artworks addressing air quality and the effects of climate change.” The cost: $2.42 million, funded by a public art alliance.

And what is the mission of this unelected board again? Yes, that’s right, it “is charged with protecting the public from the harmful effects of air pollution and developing programs and actions to fight climate change.” How this art project advances CARB’s objective is unclear.

It seems an agency that has dedicated itself to cutting carbon dioxide emissions would not be interested in effete images if it were genuinely serious about its duties. Rather than spend those dollars on art — one can imagine just what this “art” is going to look like — why not divert them toward more tangible projects, such as carbon offsets?

For example, that $2.42 million could be, at 10 cents a tree, used to plant more than 24 million trees, fully one-third more than the number that died out in California last year.

For those who have had more pressing matters to concern themselves with, yes, climate-change art is a “thing.” It is, says Wikipedia, “generally intended to overcome humans’ hardwired tendency to value personal experience over data and to disengage from data-based representations by making the data ‘vivid and accessible.’ The intention is to ‘make an emotional connection … through the power of art.’”

Apparently, CARB is thinking it needs to employ a bit of agitprop to win converts. Just expose the trusting public to sculptures, paintings, and whatever else passes as art, and a few will surely become true believers in the man-made global warming narrative.

Apparently, a few researchers have concluded it can happen exactly that way.  They and CARB think that someone’s worldview can be influenced by “warming stripes,” a crocheted scarf allegedly showing the global temperature record, glacial dance, or a six-story mural of the climate alarmists’ teen oracle.

But then CARB’s climate art could just as easily convince undecideds they should be skeptical of the warming claims. Watching a government agency spend millions on such a futile gesture is a sign that even it might not believe its own climate hype.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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