Pretend for a moment that you are one of the meritocrats. You rose through education by reducing what you studied to what was going to be on the test, anticipating what your teachers wanted. Then you showed endurance and acumen by manipulating a political system and its voters, so now you are at the top.
For this reason, you know how to succeed. You tap in to current trends, or notions supported by public interest, and treat them as if they were absolutely and universally true. This is how you become popular and gain money, wealth, and power, and you know that in a dying civilization only these matter.
Like most people in the power structure, you operate by precedential deductive logic, or rationalization; this is the basis of the Age of Reason™ kicked off by The Enlightenment&trade through reducing social and nature order so that the individual became sovereign over society and even reality itself.
If the precedent in this case is that climate change is taken seriously, and government is our only solution, you deduce from that to see the next step as reducing what each citizen has in order to cram in more citizens. This is pure egalitarianism: take from the strong to give to the weak.
For that reason, you disregard the fact that the far more numerous third world will not follow your policies and instead focus on reducing the resource load consumed by the West. In your mind, logically, it will be better if everyone lives in cinder block condos, eats bugs, and drives golf carts.
Following that line of thought, you wish to destroy the free markets and culture that sustain people so that they must obey the commands of you and your fellow meritocrats, since that way you can reduce our carbon load and save the world, or at least seem to be doing so.
Given a blank cheque like COVID-19 or other mass panic, you then decide to use the power of government to smash small business. Now people will all work for corporations and be subject to control there through ESG and SJW guidelines. They will not dare object to your new regime because then they will lose their jobs.
Using panic as a cover, you shut down businesses, landlords, public interaction, and private contracting. This forces people to obey. Now that they are obeying, you can force them into the lifestyle that you believe will gain you public acumen for having dealt with the latest panic, climate change.
Should they resist, you simply print more money, devaluing their salaries and wrecking private home ownership, since now the property taxes will impoverish them. You desire a society of permanent renters who depend on their jobs because this way, you control them and can force them to do what is “right.”
In the end, you desire permanent impoverishment of the West, much as things were under the Soviet Union. Poor people cling to what they have and oppose any change to the momentum of society no matter how insane it gets. As you look out over the scrum of starving proles, you realize that you finally have absolute control.