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Klein Launches Climate Call Against Capitalism

Naomi Klein's Latest Tackles Billionaires, Big Oil and Moose

by Geordie Gwalgen Dent

Klein Launches Climate Call Against Capitalism


On September 15th, and in front of a packed library crowd, Naomi Klein, officially launched This Changes Everything, her new book about climate change and capitalism.

Focussing on  the drastic fight against climate change impacts and avoidable coping with out-of-control climate change, the book comes 7 years after her previous best seller The Shock Doctrine.  Public Library.

After a short introduction from Carol Off of CBC’s As It Happens, Klein read sections of the book, which were previously published in the Guardian. 

Going through sections of the book which detail the possible loss of species that her children may not be around to see, Klein was able to touch upon the 'nature' of climate change: Canadian moose, bats in Queensland, Australia, starfish along the pacific coast; all dying of mysterious diseases.

Off then promted discussions related to Klein's awaking to the climate crisis. “We’ll need to build something much better,” said Klein referring to a post-climate-disaster world.  “Whole industries will disappear.  Climate change is coming.  There’s not much we can do.  We need to prepare ourselves for when disasters strike.”

Outlining how she came to grips with the scale and entirety of the climate crisis, Klein said she started to look to dystopian movies like Mad Max, Elysium and the Hunger Games, for ways in which humans respond to crisis.

She spoke about opposition to the Keystone Xl and “outposts of blockadia” and grassroots leadership from North Greece, Montana, and the BC anti-northern gateway pipeline movement.

“Unceded first nations land is the only thing that has stopped the Harper government, and it's progress,” she said arguing that Canadians should be very thankful for first nations land claims which have halted the piplines so far.

One of the key criticisms that Klein stated she has faced was related to the subtitle of the book: “Capitalism Versus the Climate.”

“Recently in Australia, meeting with tony Abbott, Stephen Harper said that he's the only world leaders who admits that they will fight climate change up until it affects the economy or jobs,” she said pointing out how Europe had some of the best climate plans and legislation until the financial crisis put an end to most of the regulations and funding.

“We really do have a tension between these two things.  Capitalism is already at war with the climate and the climate is losing.”

According to Klein, rather than this argument weakening action against climate change, she sees this as the best way to call for regulation and anti-capitalist change. 

“This is the best argument for us to change the economy…to invest massively in public infrastructure, create jobs, and prepare for storms. Half of Canadians do not believe climate change exists.  This is a political problem.  The longer we wait, the more dramatic the resources get.  There's a procrastination penalty.”

Klein then focused on the history of climate science and how it relates to globalization and free trade, along with the evolution of environmental NGO’s in the US before focusing on the folks in power who see climate change as a good thing.

Labeling the argument for longer growing season, the north west passage and train routes as “genocidal logic”, she shared a story of how the agreement reached in the 2009 Copenhagen meeting which would allow for a 2 percent increase in the temperature was a conscious decision “to allow whole nations to disappear”.

“The [agreement] for the 2 percent increase would allow Africa to burn.”

After discussion billionaire climate philanthropy, Klein took questions from the audience talking about a carbon tax system and nationalization of power industry such as those in Germany.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism Versus the Climate by Toronto's Naomi Klein is available now.


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