Australian news, and some related international items

Naomi Klein’s new book : This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate

global capitalism has “from its very first moments, systematically sabotaged our collective response to climate change”.


More than Dangerous: Naomi Klein takes on climate deniers  September 20, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The disturbing implications of climate change are rarely taken to their logical conclusions in public discussion.

Scientists who spend their careers researching the climate system and publishing findings in professional journals are typically far more candid in private than in their scholarly publications.

The human-generated surge in greenhouse gas emissions is accelerating, they note, altering the chemistry of the biosphere and, ultimately, the conditions for life.

“People are not being told the truth,” one scientist told Fairfax Media this week. “It’s an event to which species will struggle to adapt. This is more than dangerous.”

It’s not that the data is secret.

The World Meteorological Organisation said in its annual report that radiative forcing – the difference between how much of the sun’s energy is absorbed by the Earth versus what is radiated back to space – leapt 34 per cent between 1990 and 2013 because of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases.

That extra heat is a key reason why the 10 warmest years on record have all come since 1998, with 2005 and 2010 equal titleholders. This year will likely enter the top of the list, the US space agency NASA reported this week.

Little debate, though, has focused on how we got on to this arc of destruction and how we bend it towards less disruptive outcomes.

Enter Canadian iconoclast Naomi Klein with her latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate, in which she argues that unfettered international capitalism is the main culprit and calls for people everywhere to take responsibility for the “existential crisis for the human species”.

Klein links the acceleration in carbon emissions to the rise of globalisation, tracing both back to about 1990. That’s around the time of the demise of the Soviet Union and, coincidentally, the commencement of the first international conferences identifying the threat of climate change.

China’s integration into the capitalist world has turbo-charged the collapse of trade barriers and soaring greenhouse gas emissions. The erstwhile communist state overtook the US in emissions in 2006 and is now twice as large a polluter, alone accounting for 70 per cent of the global increase in 2012, according to some estimates……….

she extends the critique of “market fundamentalism” to argue that global capitalism has “from its very first moments, systematically sabotaged our collective response to climate change”.

“Fossil fuels lend themselves to the concentration of power and money,” giving the specific locations of deposits and the cost and complexity of extracting, refining and transporting them, Klein says. “This is the most profitable industry on earth and they have successfully used those resources to block progress.”…….

She argues that the climate shift under way already means there will be more heatwaves, super storms, acidifying oceans, rising sea levels and other disruptions.

The decades of dithering by governments, though, mean that it is becoming too late for incremental action, such as setting a price on carbon – the “tax and relax” approach. “We really can’t leave this to the market and hope for the best,” Klein says.

“Because of the success of the obfuscation campaign by the climate change deniers, we now ironically find ourselves in the position that the reformist ways of responding to this crisis that would have been much more palatable for them are no longer an option,” she said.

There are climate marches being held around the world this Sunday to focus public attention on the issue.

Klein says she is “holding out” for a “movement of movements” to emerge as groups fighting on disparate fronts such as health care, jobs, housing and immigration, make common cause.

“Understanding the fact that this economic model that we have is destabilising life on earth is the best argument we’ve had for changing that economic model and fighting for a better one,” Klein says.


September 20, 2014 - Posted by | Resources

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