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Klein writes: "It is our great collective misfortune that the scientific community made its decisive diagnosis of the climate threat at the precise moment when an elite minority was enjoying more unfettered political, cultural, and intellectual power than at any point since the 1920s."

Best selling author/activist Naomi Klein. (photo: Anya Chibis/Guardian UK)
Best selling author/activist Naomi Klein. (photo: Anya Chibis/Guardian UK)


Oligarchy and Climate Change: A Catastrophic Coincidence

By Naomi Klein, The Guardian UK

09 March 15

 

The second in a major series of articles on the climate crisis and how humanity can solve it. In this extract taken from the Introduction to This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, the author calls the climate crisis a civilisational wake-up call to alter our economy, our lifestyles, now – before they get changed for us.

You can read the first extract here.

he alarm bells of the climate crisis have been ringing in our ears for years and are getting louder all the time - yet humanity has failed to change course. What is wrong with us?

Many answers to that question have been offered, ranging from the extreme difficulty of getting all the governments in the world to agree on anything, to an absence of real technological solutions, to something deep in our human nature that keeps us from acting in the face of seemingly remote threats, to – more recently – the claim that we have blown it anyway and there is no point in even trying to do much more than enjoy the scenery on the way down.

Some of these explanations are valid, but all are ultimately inadequate. Take the claim that it’s just too hard for so many countries to agree on a course of action. It is hard. But many times in the past, the United Nations has helped governments to come together to tackle tough cross-border challenges, from ozone depletion to nuclear proliferation. The deals produced weren’t perfect, but they represented real progress. Moreover, during the same years that our governments failed to enact a tough and binding legal architecture requiring emission reductions, supposedly because cooperation was too complex, they managed to create the World Trade Organisation – an intricate global system that regulates the flow of goods and services around the planet, under which the rules are clear and violations are harshly penalised.

The assertion that we have been held back by a lack of technological solutions is no more compelling. Power from renewable sources like wind and water predates the use of fossil fuels and is becoming cheaper, more efficient, and easier to store every year. The past two decades have seen an explosion of ingenious zero-waste design, as well as green urban planning. Not only do we have the technical tools to get off fossil fuels, we also have no end of small pockets where these low carbon lifestyles have been tested with tremendous success. And yet the kind of large-scale transition that would give us a collective chance of averting catastrophe eludes us.

Is it just human nature that holds us back then? In fact we humans have shown ourselves willing to collectively sacrifice in the face of threats many times, most famously in the embrace of rationing, victory gardens, and victory bonds during world wars one and two. Indeed to support fuel conservation during world war two, pleasure driving was virtually eliminated in the UK, and between 1938 and 1944, use of public transit went up by 87% in the US and by 95% in Canada. Twenty million US households – representing three fifths of the population – were growing victory gardens in 1943, and their yields accounted for 42% of the fresh vegetables consumed that year. Interestingly, all of these activities together dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

Yes, the threat of war seemed immediate and concrete but so too is the threat posed by the climate crisis that has already likely been a substantial contributor to massive disasters in some of the world’s major cities. Still, we’ve gone soft since those days of wartime sacrifice, haven’t we? Contemporary humans are too self-centered, too addicted to gratification to live without the full freedom to satisfy our every whim – or so our culture tells us every day. And yet the truth is that we continue to make collective sacrifices in the name of an abstract greater good all the time. We sacrifice our pensions, our hard-won labour rights, our arts and after-school programmes. We accept that we have to pay dramatically more for the destructive energy sources that power our transportation and our lives. We accept that bus and subway fares go up and up while service fails to improve or degenerates. We accept that a public university education should result in a debt that will take half a lifetime to pay off when such a thing was unheard of a generation ago.

The past 30 years have been a steady process of getting less and less in the public sphere. This is all defended in the name of austerity, the current justification for these never-ending demands for collective sacrifice. In the past, calls for balanced budgets, greater efficiency, and faster economic growth have served the same role.

It seems to me that if humans are capable of sacrificing this much collective benefit in the name of stabilising an economic system that makes daily life so much more expensive and precarious, then surely humans should be capable of making some important lifestyle changes in the interest of stabilising the physical systems upon which all of life depends. Especially because many of the changes that need to be made to dramatically cut emissions would also materially improve the quality of life for the majority of people on the planet – from allowing kids in Beijing to play outside without wearing pollution masks to creating good jobs in clean energy sectors for millions.

Time is tight, to be sure. But we could commit ourselves, tomorrow, to radically cutting our fossil fuel emissions and beginning the shift to zero-carbon sources of energy based on renewable technology, with a full-blown transition underway within the decade. We have the tools to do that. And if we did, the seas would still rise and the storms would still come, but we would stand a much greater chance of preventing truly catastrophic warming. Indeed, entire nations could be saved from the waves.

So my mind keeps coming back to the question: what is wrong with us? I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe – and would benefit the vast majority – are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets. That problem might not have been insurmountable had it presented itself at another point in our history. But it is our great collective misfortune that the scientific community made its decisive diagnosis of the climate threat at the precise moment when those elites were enjoying more unfettered political, cultural, and intellectual power than at any point since the 1920s. Indeed, governments and scientists began talking seriously about radical cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in 1988 – the exact year that marked the dawning of what came to be called “globalisation,” with the signing of the agreement representing the world’s largest bilateral trade relationship between Canada and the US, later to be expanded into the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the inclusion of Mexico.

The three policy pillars of this new era are familiar to us all: privatisation of the public sphere, deregulation of the corporate sector, and lower corporate taxation, paid for with cuts to public spending. Much has been written about the real-world costs of these policies – the instability of financial markets, the excesses of the super-rich, and the desperation of the increasingly disposable poor, as well as the failing state of public infrastructure and services. Very little, however, has been written about how market fundamentalism has, from the very first moments, systematically sabotaged our collective response to climate change.

The core problem was that the stranglehold that market logic secured over public life in this period made the most direct and obvious climate responses seem politically heretical. How, for instance, could societies invest massively in zero-carbon public services and infrastructure at a time when the public sphere was being systematically dismantled and auctioned off? How could governments heavily regulate, tax, and penalise fossil fuel companies when all such measures were being dismissed as relics of “command and control” communism? And how could the renewable energy sector receive the supports and protections it needed to replace fossil fuels when “protectionism” had been made a dirty word?

Even more directly, the policies that so successfully freed multinational corporations from virtually all constraints also contributed significantly to the underlying cause of global warming – rising greenhouse gas emissions. The numbers are striking: In the 1990s, as the market integration project ramped up, global emissions were going up an average of one percent a year; by the 2000s, with “emerging markets” like China now fully integrated into the world economy, emissions growth had sped up disastrously, with the annual rate of increase reaching 3.4% a year for much of the decade. That rapid growth rate continues to this day, interrupted only briefly in 2009 by the world financial crisis. Emissions rebounded with a vengeance in 2010, which saw the largest absolute increase since the Industrial Revolution.

With hindsight, it’s hard to see how it could have turned out otherwise. The twin signatures of this era have been the mass export of products across vast distances (relentlessly burning carbon all the way), and the import of a uniquely wasteful model of production, consumption, and agriculture to every corner of the world (also based on the profligate burning of fossil fuels). Put differently, the liberation of world markets, a process powered by the liberation of unprecedented amounts of fossil fuels from the earth, has dramatically sped up the same process that is liberating Arctic ice from existence.

As a result, we now find ourselves in a very difficult and slightly ironic position. Because of those decades of hardcore emitting, exactly when we were supposed to be cutting back, the things we must do to avoid catastrophic warming are no longer just in conflict with the particular strain of deregulated capitalism that triumphed in the 1980s. They are now in conflict with the fundamental imperative at the heart of our economic model: grow or die.

Once carbon has been emitted into the atmosphere, it sticks around for hundreds of years, some of it even longer, trapping heat. The effects are cumulative, growing more severe with time. And according to emissions specialists like the Tyndall Centre’s Kevin Anderson (as well as others), so much carbon has been allowed to accumulate in the atmosphere over the past two decades that now our only hope of keeping warming below the internationally agreed-upon target of 2C is for wealthy countries to cut their emissions by somewhere in the neighbourhood of eight to 10% a year. The “free” market simply cannot accomplish this task. Indeed, this level of emission reduction has happened only in the context of economic collapse or deep depressions.

What those numbers mean is that our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.

Fortunately, it is eminently possible to transform our economy so that it is less resource-intensive, and to do it in ways that are equitable, with the most vulnerable protected and the most responsible bearing the bulk of the burden. Low-carbon sectors of our economies can be encouraged to expand and create jobs, while high-carbon sectors are encouraged to contract. The problem, however, is that this scale of economic planning and management is entirely outside the boundaries of our reigning ideology. The only kind of contraction our current system can manage is a brutal crash, in which the most vulnerable will suffer most of all.

So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global. And it’s no longer just radicals who see the need for radical change. In 2012, 21 past winners of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize – a group that includes James Hansen, former director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway – authored a landmark report. It stated that, “in the face of an absolutely unprecedented emergency, society has no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us.”

That’s tough for a lot of people in important positions to accept, since it challenges something that might be even more powerful than capitalism, and that is the fetish of centrism – of reasonableness, seriousness, splitting the difference, and generally not getting overly excited about anything. This is the habit of thought that truly rules our era, far more among the liberals who concern themselves with matters of climate policy than among conservatives, many of whom simply deny the existence of the crisis. Climate change presents a profound challenge to this cautious centrism because half measures won’t cut it: “all of the above energy” program, as US president Barack Obama describes his approach, has about as much chance of success as an all-of-the-above diet, and the firm deadlines imposed by science require that we get very worked up indeed.

The challenge, then, is not simply that we need to spend a lot of money and change a lot of policies; it’s that we need to think differently, radically differently, for those changes to be remotely possible. A worldview will need to rise to the fore that sees nature, other nations, and our own neighbours not as adversaries, but rather as partners in a grand project of mutual reinvention.

That’s a big ask. But it gets bigger. Because of our endless procrastination, we also have to pull off this massive transformation without delay. The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that if we do not get our emissions under control by a rather terrifying 2017, our fossil fuel economy will “lock-in” extremely dangerous warming. “The energy-related infrastructure then in place will generate all the CO2 emissions allowed” in our carbon budget for limiting warming to 2C – “leaving no room for additional power plants, factories and other infrastructure unless they are zero-carbon, which would be extremely costly”. This assumes, probably accurately, that governments would be unwilling to force the closure of still profitable power plants and factories. As Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, bluntly put it: “The door to reach two degrees is about to close. In 2017 it will be closed forever.” In short, we have reached what some activists have started calling “Decade Zero” of the climate crisis: we either change now or we lose our chance. All this means that the usual free market assurances – A techno-fix is around the corner! Dirty development is just a phase on the way to a clean environment, look at 19th-century London! – simply don’t add up. We don’t have a century to spare for China and India to move past their Dickensian phases. Because of our lost decades, it is time to turn this around now. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it possible without challenging the fundamental logic of deregulated capitalism? Not a chance.

I was struck recently by a mea culpa of sorts, written by Gary Stix, a senior editor of Scientific American. Back in 2006, he edited a special issue on responses to climate change and, like most such efforts, the articles were narrowly focused on showcasing exciting low-carbon technologies.

But in 2012 Stix wrote that he had overlooked a much larger and more important part of the story – the need to create the social and political context in which these technological shifts stand a chance of displacing the all too profitable status quo. “If we are ever to cope with climate change in any fundamental way, radical solutions on the social side are where we must focus, though. The relative efficiency of the next generation of solar cells is trivial by comparison.”

In other words, our problem has a lot less to do with the mechanics of solar power than the politics of human power – specifically whether there can be a shift in who wields it, a shift away from corporations and toward communities, which in turn depends on whether or not the great many people who are getting a rotten deal under our current system can build a determined and diverse enough social force to change the balance of power. Such a shift would require rethinking the very nature of humanity’s power – our right to extract ever more without facing consequences, our capacity to bend complex natural systems to our will. This is a shift that challenges not only capitalism, but also the building blocks of materialism that preceded modern capitalism, a mentality some call “extractivism”.

Because, underneath all of this is the real truth we have been avoiding: climate change isn’t an “issue” to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes. It is a civilisational wake-up call. A powerful message – spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions – telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet. Telling us that we need to evolve.

Some say there is no time for this transformation; the crisis is too pressing and the clock is ticking. I agree that it would be reckless to claim that the only solution to this crisis is to revolutionise our economy and revamp our worldview from the bottom up – and anything short of that is not worth doing. There are all kinds of measures that would lower emissions substantively that could and should be done right now. But we aren’t taking those measures, are we? The reason is that by failing to fight these big battles that stand to shift our ideological direction and change the balance of who holds power in our societies, a context has been slowly created in which any muscular response to climate change seems politically impossible, especially during times of economic crisis.

On the other hand,if we can shift the cultural context even a little, then there will be some breathing room for those sensible reformist policies that will at least get the atmospheric carbon numbers moving in the right direction. And winning is contagious so, who knows?

For a quarter of a century, we have tried the approach of polite incremental change, attempting to bend the physical needs of the planet to our economic model’s need for constant growth and new profit-making opportunities. The results have been disastrous, leaving us all in a great deal more danger than when the experiment began.

Looking for a Moose is one of my two-year-old son’s favourite books. It’s about a bunch of kids that really, really, really want to see a moose. They search high and low – through a forest, a swamp, in brambly bushes and up a mountain, for “a long legged, bulgy nosed, branchy antlered moose”.

The joke is that there are moose hiding on each page. In the end, the animals all come out of hiding and the ecstatic kids proclaim: “We’ve never ever seen so many moose!”

On about the 75th reading, it suddenly hit me: he might never see a moose. I tried to hold it together. I went back to my computer and began to write about my time in northern Alberta, tar sands country, where members of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation told me about how the moose had changed – one woman described killing a moose on a hunting trip only to find that the flesh had already turned green. I heard a lot about strange tumors too, which locals assumed had to do with the animals drinking water contaminated by tar sands toxins. But mostly I heard about how the moose were simply gone.

And not just in Alberta. “Rapid Climate Changes Turn North Woods into Moose Graveyard,” reads a May 2012 headline in Scientific American. A year and a half later, The New York Times was reporting that one of Minnesota’s two moose populations had declined from four thousand in the 1990s to just one hundred today. Will he ever see a moose?

Then, the other day, I was slain by a miniature board book called Snuggle Wuggle. It involves different animals cuddling, with each posture given a ridiculously silly name: “How does a bat hug?” it asks. “Topsy turvy, topsy turvy.” For some reason my son reliably cracks up at this page. I explain that it means upside down, because that’s the way bats sleep.

But all I could think about was the report of some 100,000 dead and dying bats raining down from the sky in the midst of record-breaking heat across part of Queensland, Australia. Whole colonies devastated. Will he ever see a bat?

When fear like that used to creep through my armour of climate change denial, I would do my utmost to stuff it away, change the channel, click past it. Now I try to feel it. It seems to me that I owe it to my son, just as we all owe it to ourselves and one another.

But what should we do with this fear that comes from living on a planet that is dying, made less alive every day? First, accept that it won’t go away. That it is a fully rational response to the unbearable reality that we are living in a dying world, a world that a great many of us are helping to kill, by doing things like making tea and driving to the grocery store and yes, okay, having kids.

Next, use it. Fear is a survival response. Fear makes us run, it makes us leap, it can make us act superhuman. But we need somewhere to run to. Without that, the fear is only paralysing. So the real trick, the only hope, really, is to allow the terror of an unlivable future to be balanced and soothed by the prospect of building something much better than many of us have previously dared hope.

Yes, there will be things we will lose, luxuries some of us will have to give up, whole industries that will disappear. Climate change is already here, and increasingly brutal disasters are headed our way no matter what we do. But it’s not too late to avert the worst, and there is still time to change ourselves so that we are far less brutal to one another when those disasters strike. And that, it seems to me, is worth a great deal.

Because the thing about a crisis this big, this all-encompassing, is that it changes everything. It changes what we can do, what we can hope for, what we can demand from ourselves and our leaders. It means there is a whole lot of stuff that we have been told is inevitable that simply cannot stand. And it means that a whole lot of stuff we have been told is impossible has to start happening right away.

Can we pull it off? All I know is that nothing is inevitable. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.


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-62 # Dumbledorf 2015-03-09 10:14
It is incredible that such a well-educated person, as Naiomi Klein purports to be, could fall for lies and wores, promulgate the fake science behind the "climate change" false agenda. Who is really behind this? How about the globalist/banke rs for starters --the same people who were bailed out to the tune of 16 TRILLION $$ and who are illegally foreclosing on 11 million of America's homes through deliberate, calculated mortgage fraud. see... http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/22240-profiteers-are-lining-up-to-make-money-off-global-warming# http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/profit-from-climate-change/ It is unfortunate that Ms Klein refuses to debate the issues she raises in a public forum. It's all about the money!
 
 
-49 # lnason@umassd.edu 2015-03-09 11:02
It is true that billionaires such as Tom Steyer and George Soros fund an enormous amount of the most exaggerated propaganda on climate change. And politicians (who presumably just want more power) fund most of the rest, there are a few truly nasty problems associated with the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Sensible people should not be alarmed by rising sea levels (something that has been happening since the last ice age), or mass extinctions (which are mostly due to disease but are always happening also), or contagious disease (which is not harmful in developed countries with good public health policies in place) or extreme weather events (which simply are not happening). But, for instance, ocean acidification is happening and that problem, caused by greenhouse gasses, does threaten the entire food chain.

Sensible people need to look carefully at the claims and counterclaims of both sides of this debate and address the real problems instead of simply writing the opposition off as wackos or venal researchers.

I believe Naomi Klein is technologically ignorant and ideologically biased but not all "warmists" fall into that category. Let's pay respectful attention to the knowledgeable ones.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+19 # reiverpacific 2015-03-09 12:15
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
It is true that billionaires such as Tom Steyer and George Soros fund an enormous amount of the most exaggerated propaganda on climate change. And politicians (who presumably just want more power) fund most of the rest, there are a few truly nasty problems associated with the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Sensible people should not be alarmed by rising sea levels (something that has been happening since the last ice age), or mass extinctions (which are mostly due to disease but are always happening also), or contagious disease (which is not harmful in developed countries with good public health policies in place) or extreme weather events (which simply are not happening). But, for instance, ocean acidification is happening and that problem, caused by greenhouse gasses, does threaten the entire food chain.

Sensible people need to look carefully at the claims and counterclaims of both sides of this debate and address the real problems instead of simply writing the opposition off as wackos or venal researchers.

I believe Naomi Klein is technologically ignorant and ideologically biased but not all "warmists" fall into that category. Let's pay respectful attention to the knowledgeable ones.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts

For a purely speculative with never any backup shmo like y'rself, I'd find it hilarious -if it weren't so pathetic- that you'd call Ms Klein what you do in yet another baseless post!
 
 
+7 # Dust 2015-03-09 13:11
Well, I have PhD in the statistical modeling of natural systems. Please tell me what actual science you have reviewed and assessed based on its merits/faults.
 
 
+6 # reiverpacific 2015-03-09 17:55
Quoting Dust:
Well, I have PhD in the statistical modeling of natural systems. Please tell me what actual science you have reviewed and assessed based on its merits/faults.


Forget it! You'll get NO backup, scientific references or anything but speculative inference from this critter: believe me, I've been trying for ages with nary a response.
Maybe it has a one-way computer!
 
 
+3 # Dust 2015-03-09 18:27
I know, but it's fascinating nonetheless.

Distressing, but fascinating. :-p
 
 
+18 # dandevries 2015-03-09 14:55
Wow! Unbelievable that stalkers like the two above choose this forum to spread the denial gospel. Reminds me of the tobacco company advertising campaign satirized in Mad Magazine: Lung Cancer is good for you!
 
 
+10 # Small Family Farmer 2015-03-09 19:50
Wow, to paraphrase the lyrics to a song in "Jewel of the Nile":

"The trolls come out at night, the trolls come out at night."

Industry must be getting desperate to be sending the likes of the two of you to a place like this.
 
 
+12 # ericlipps 2015-03-09 20:41
Quoting lnason@umassd.edu:
Sensible people should not be alarmed by rising sea levels (something that has been happening since the last ice age), or mass extinctions (which are mostly due to disease but are always happening also), or contagious disease (which is not harmful in developed countries with good public health policies in place) . . .
Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts


"Sensible people" should be alarmed that the pace of extinctions has picked up dramatically, and that sea level rise is also happening faster at a time when there are far more human beings living in low-lying areas likely to be inundated.

And are we to take it that a rise in contagious diseases is no big deal if it only kills millions of black, brown and yellow people in poor countries with poor health care systems? Good riddance to bad rubbish, is it?
 
 
+3 # chapdrum 2015-03-12 20:42
Won't someone please think of the "exaggeration?"
Record-breaking droughts across the planet (and e.g., Sao Paulo has a 60-day supply of water for 12 million people). Your
concern for "respectful attention" is a smokescreen for your ignorance, and preference to place blame on evil liberals.
What's in it for Soros and Steyer, et al. to point out the obvious? What do they have to gain? Look to your likely heroes in the Bush Cabal for the progenitors of willful ignorance.
 
 
+7 # Judy Cross 2015-03-09 12:01
Quoting Dumbledorf:
It is incredible that such a well-educated person, as Naiomi Klein purports to be, could fall for lies and wores, promulgate the fake science behind the "climate change" false agenda. Who is really behind this? How about the globalist/bankers for starters --the same people who were bailed out to the tune of 16 TRILLION $$ and who are illegally foreclosing on 11 million of America's homes through deliberate, calculated mortgage fraud. see... http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/22240-profiteers-are-lining-up-to-make-money-off-global-warming# http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/profit-from-climate-change/ It is unfortunate that Ms Klein refuses to debate the issues she raises in a public forum. It's all about the money!
U.N. Climate Chief: We're 'Intentionally' Transforming The World Economy
"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years..."
Now tell me it's not about the money!
 
 
+16 # Dust 2015-03-09 13:10
Can you make a distinction between science on the one hand, and politics/busine ss on the other? It's unbridled capitalism that's gotten us into this mess, and I'd expect the same attitude to line up if there's money to be made anywhere.

But that only comes after the science. Have you ever read a peer-reviewed scientific paper on climate??
 
 
+16 # Eliza D 2015-03-09 13:55
Many scientists and journalists have documented the effects of climate change,includin g the brilliant Elizabeth Kolbert, who, in The Sixth Extinction, documents the movement of warmer weather trees up the mountains in Central and South America. (it sounds impossible;read the book for a full explanation). Ms. Klein could not be more right on- our economy is at war with the earth and I so fear the effects on our children and grandchildren. All the more reason to get off our fannies and walk as far as we must to get a POTUS such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren elected in 2016. If we get another bought-and-paid for hack like Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton, we are done for.
 
 
-41 # Judy Cross 2015-03-09 10:35
Back when I was very little, I remember my folks complaining that some day the government would find a way to tax our breathing. What do you know! They d it. They have demonized a beneficial trace gas that makes life possible on Earth and pretend the Sun has no effect on climate. AGW is another fraud the oligarchy planned and executed, and Ms Klein supports the fraud by her elegant writing. For shame!
 
 
+13 # Dust 2015-03-09 13:13
Who is "pretending that the sun has no effect on climate"?? From where did you pull that gem? Solar input into climate variability is a fundamental and has been taken into account since Day One.

Rind, D.H., Lean, J.L., and J. Jeffrey. 2014. The Impact of Different Absolute Solar Irradiance Values on Current Climate Model Simulations. Journal of Climate, Vol. 27, Issue 3

Frehlich, Klaus. 2008. Recent oppositely directed trends in solar climate forcings and the global mean surface air temperature.Pro ceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences. Vol. 464, Issue 2094

Solani, S.K., Krivova, N.A., and J.D. Haigh. 2013. Solar Irradiance Variability and Climate. Annual Review of Astronomy & Astrophysics. Vol. 51, Issue 1

The first person to develop research into the effects of CO2 on temperature was Svante Arrhenius in 1896. The oligarchy to whom you refer was operating back then??
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2015-03-09 11:02
@"Dumb-dork"
Bullshit and head-in-the-san d nonsense.
"Ms Klein refuses to debate the issues she raises in a public forum." .
More likely that those who deny the proven and inevitable won't debate Ms. Klein!
She's been jailed for her beliefs (as have I). What have you done to stand up to the reactionary status-quo? Are you just another one of these armchair pundits.
BTW, I followed your threads and saw nothing specifically mentioned in the excellent "Truth Out" article about mortgage fraud (And I'm sure as Hell NOT siding with the Wall Street Mafia) and the second -from 2009-, was mostly about how the big investors are seeing the writing on the wall for the extractive, polluting industries and are beginning to invest in the wide range of clean, sustainable energy, a fact I for one, have known for a long time.
We can argue about who makes what from this but if the governments of the world -with a few notable exceptions like Germany, Denmark, Scotland and one or two others- won't subsidize the rush to cleaning up the global energy generation, then I'm all for the private sector leading the way and even profiting from it for the sake of the planet and all my relations' well-being; and I'm a Socialist! Even the corporate tendency to try and monopolize whatever they go after, competition between them will surely by default, bring prices of sustainable technology down for consumers.
So putting the Earth first is the "mot juste", whoever and however it's accomplished.
 
 
+13 # fredboy 2015-03-09 11:30
Nature bats last.
 
 
-38 # brycenuc 2015-03-09 11:43
A common lament of the climate alarmists such as Ms. Klein is the large resistance to the alarm. The reason for the resistance is that so many people can see through the basic fraud that the alarm is based on. The effect on climate produced by carbon dioxide is truly trivial.
 
 
+14 # Dust 2015-03-09 13:22
Really?? Given that the US ranks so very low on the international scale for education in math and science, how is it that so many of the Common Clay of the New West are able to intellectually process and understand something that takes some pretty advanced education?

After all - you were a nuclear engineer and the math in your ModTrans analysis of CO2 was wrong.
 
 
-4 # brycenuc 2015-03-09 20:54
Though I totally disagree with you on the topic, I am totally impressed with your knowledge of me. Do you have that much data on all the respondents?
 
 
+4 # Dust 2015-03-09 21:26
No - only those who are intelligent enough to know better. You have continually posted over and over a complete and utter dismissal of CO2 as having any (re: statistically insignificant) effect on atmospheric temperature. No worries there - maybe you've discovered something nobody else.

But if you are convinced of your own science and analyses, I find it perplexing and indicative of lack of assurance on your part that you simply post a dismissal and disappear, and not once have you ever provided any reasoning for your position. Science doesn't work like that, and I expected someone in your position to know better.
 
 
-5 # brycenuc 2015-03-10 12:07
You had to have seen my paper, "Nature Abhors a Positive Feedback" in order to know my background. If you had actually read its content you would have seen 38 pages of reasoning for my position.
 
 
+2 # Dust 2015-03-10 13:13
Actually, I've only see the presentation to the nuclear committee meeting, which I assume is a summary of those results.

Thanks for the reference, and I will find a copy.

Can I ask, though - why did you never publish these results in a peer-reviewed scientific journal??? That's a critical issue, to my mind, especially since '38 pages' is a very miniscule amount relative to the thousands of published pages dealing with CO2 and temperature. That ratio alone doesn't mean you are wrong, of course, but it does rather place the burden of proof in your court.
 
 
0 # brycenuc 2015-03-10 15:40
I would be interested in further discussion of this issue if you are interested. We don't have to to go through RSN or Truthout to do it, you can contact me directly by email at brycenuc@gmail.com. I have considered attempted publication in a peer-reviewed journal but those who agree with my position (those do exist) have warned me of the considerable effort that entails and I have felt that those interested enough to read it could do so on the Internet.
 
 
+1 # Dust 2015-03-10 16:23
Possibly so, but having published and reviewed peer-reviewed manuscripts, there is nothing better than a strongly supported alternative point of view. Editors love it, as it places their journal at the forefront, so to speak. Give me a few and I'll hunt down a copy.
 
 
0 # brycenuc 2015-03-10 18:05
Do you have a suggested publication for a peer-reviewed article? It seems to me that the popular U. S. scientific magazines have built a stone wall against any skeptic opinion.

I have given two presentations to nuclear groups, one was the GE Elfun organization last year and the other was to the Northern California Section of the American Nuclear Society about two years ago. Which one did you see?
 
 
+1 # Dust 2015-03-10 18:40
The one to the Northern CA group.

If I may - it is all in how the data and analyses are presented. You will not have any success submitting a paper with an abstract that says "Climate change science is a hoax and everyone who promotes that view is either ignorant or a fraud or a moron".

As I said, there would be a massive burden of proof on you, but if you have an abstract that says:

1. Human contributions to currently observed climate trends are a critical issue in contemporary research;
2. The amount of research pointing to CO2 and human amplification of CO2 levels as drivers to those trends is significant and well-documented;
3. There is significant resistance to the idea that human beings affect climate from entrenched corporate interests that have nothing to do with science, and these entities have deliberately cast doubt on climate change research from a values perspective because they could not do so from a scientific one;
4. Any misspecificatio ns in climate models or analyses must be clearly addressed as being distinct from these corporate interests with impeccable scientific background and evidence;
5. With that in mind, we question the conclusion that CO2 etc. [research summary]

And then you have to absolutely bust your ASS and make sure you have read every single paper out there on the subject you are challenging, and be sure your refutation addresses EVERY SINGLE ONE without vitriol or hyperbole.
 
 
-1 # brycenuc 2015-03-10 21:58
Recommendation 2 says that that those who disagree with me have done significant and well-documented research. Number 3 says that those who agree with me are non-scientific corporate interests who cast doubt from a values (read selfish) perspective.

I don't believe either of these and I am 85 years old so I won't live long enough to read every single paper out there on the subject.
much less address every single one of them.

I appreciate your advice on how to get publication, but I don't find much encouragement from it.
 
 
+1 # Dust 2015-03-10 22:53
Well, it's definitely a tough row to hoe. There are plenty of papers out there with contradictory research, and both sides them have done significant and well-documented research. They can range from something simple and basic like what statistical distribution best represents the error structure of a given process to whether a system is stochastic or complex. But if you honestly believe that the thousands of papers of published climate research are not significant or well-documented , then there's not much I can say.

By extension, there are some bad papers out there, and I might be willing to advance the idea that you would not agree with some people's reasons for dismissing the idea that human beings affect climate. Some folks (I have no idea how many) reject the idea because they feel the world cannot end by flood, as God promised in Genesis never to destroy the world by water again. That's not a scientific argument, of course. So just as finding research significant and well-documented does not mean you have to agree with it, likewise having someone agree with you that human beings do not affect climate does not mean they have the same reasons as you.

But again, the first research into CO2 and climate began in 1896. If you honestly believe that all the work in the subsequent 100 years is fraudulent or shoddy, I have to say that is tantamount to some degree of schizophrenia.
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2015-03-10 11:33
Quoting Dust:
Really?? Given that the US ranks so very low on the international scale for education in math and science, how is it that so many of the Common Clay of the New West are able to intellectually process and understand something that takes some pretty advanced education?

After all - you were a nuclear engineer and the math in your ModTrans analysis of CO2 was wrong.


The Nuclear Industry is one of the most corrupt, dangerous and polluting that "Advanced" Homo sapiens has ever come up with.
I once worked with an ex-nuclear field engineer who was fired by Westinghouse for pointing out several anomalies, poor coordination and miscalculations on the construction drawings. Contractors routinely take shortcuts as the construction costs are so mind-bogglingly outrageous.
 
 
+2 # ericlipps 2015-03-09 20:53
Quoting brycenuc:
A common lament of the climate alarmists such as Ms. Klein is the large resistance to the alarm. The reason for the resistance is that so many people can see through the basic fraud that the alarm is based on. The effect on climate produced by carbon dioxide is truly trivial.

"Truly trivial"? It has been estimated that if there were no greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the planet Earth would be about -18 degrees Celsius, or about zero Fahrenheit--and CO2 makes a substantial contribution to the greenhouse effect. Adding more therefore seems likely to have more than a "truly trivial" effect.
 
 
-7 # brycenuc 2015-03-09 21:04
I should have said that man's ability to increase the level of CO2 has a trivial effect
 
 
+4 # bingers 2015-03-10 23:35
Quoting brycenuc:
A common lament of the climate alarmists such as Ms. Klein is the large resistance to the alarm. The reason for the resistance is that so many people can see through the basic fraud that the alarm is based on. The effect on climate produced by carbon dioxide is truly trivial.


Quite trivial indeed. Each of the last ten years we have lost 180 billion tons of ice in Antarctica. Pretty soon the continent will be arable land but underwater.
 
 
+15 # Dust 2015-03-09 13:14
Has anyone else noticed the sudden influx of (new) AGW deniers repeating the same sort of nonsense over the last few weeks?
 
 
+7 # lfeuille 2015-03-09 19:06
Quoting Dust:
Has anyone else noticed the sudden influx of (new) AGW deniers repeating the same sort of nonsense over the last few weeks?


Yeah, I hope that means they know they are losing and are getting desperate.
 
 
-6 # brycenuc 2015-03-09 20:58
Does it match all the newly invented phenomena to blame on global warming as well as the increased rationality of the wild claims?
 
 
0 # Ray Kondrasuk 2015-03-12 16:19
bryce, please visit the National Snow and Ice Center's graphic evidence at the interactive chart at

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/
 
 
+11 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-03-09 14:52
It's pretty simple. Control the media so you control the dialogue. Pump up FEAR to justify militarization of the police. Crack down on dissenters. Keep up a steady steam of problems so we don't notice the Corporate Control of government = Corporate Control of resources. WAKE UP AMERICA. The economy goes up and down. Politics goes Right and Left. But, the environment is only going in one direction. Capitalism relies on raping the Earth's resources to make products to sell that we don't need, so throw them away quickly and pollute the environment. How STUPID we are.
 
 
+7 # willsud24 2015-03-09 14:53
I really love Naoimi Klein, but she also really upsets me because her books keep calling for the "reform" of capitalism and finding ways to "restructure capitalism" to fit the climate models and forge a new sustainable economy.

As nice as all that sounds, a competition-bas ed monetary system will always lead to greed and corruption. That's how we got here in the first place. Second, how would capitalism, a system based on infinite growth, infinite possibility and competition, ever be able to be "structured" around sustainability? The winners always get to make the rules, that's why the Koch's write our laws as it is.

The winners in the game of capitalism change the rules as they go. How will we compete when water and clean air become scarce? How will we compete for cool air when the planet gets VERY hot? Warmth when it gets VERY cold? Social Darwinism is always taking place, but it's about to get much worse.
 
 
+1 # Dust 2015-03-09 14:59
Well said.

Unrestrained capitalism is like gravity - eventually, there can be only One.
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2015-03-09 19:08
Quoting Dust:
Well said.

Unrestrained capitalism is like gravity - eventually, there can be only One.


She wants it restrained, not abolished totally.
 
 
-19 # WaaDoo 2015-03-09 16:46
On the contrary, Naomi.

The voters said it would be the "good fortune" of America if they voted balance back into a government that has been hell bent on Communism and Islamic sympathizing for the last 7 years !
 
 
+12 # reiverpacific 2015-03-09 18:03
Quoting WaaDoo:
On the contrary, Naomi.

The voters said it would be the "good fortune" of America if they voted balance back into a government that has been hell bent on Communism and Islamic sympathizing for the last 7 years !


Jeezus McSporran all-amighty, "YaaHoo"; there you go again -back to the McCarthy witch hunt "Red under every bed" era, -'cept now, it's anyone belonging to "The other", including poor whites and the native peoples who were better stewards of the continent and other "savages" of the planet, than the present profit-mad and short sighted "Advanced" blinkered shills of corporate domination -just like you in fact!
 
 
+7 # Dust 2015-03-09 19:05
I'm not sure that he understands the definition of the word "Communism".
 
 
0 # maverita 2015-03-10 07:25
The transition from a heirarchical man vs nature worldview to a more holistic ecologically integrated systems worldview has not been and will not be easy. At the end of the day I find peace with the thought that if humans don't get it together soon, if extinctions and societal collapse ensue, then it is perhaps nature's way to keep us on-planet, unable to infect the universe with our short-sighted avarice.
 
 
+4 # genelutz 2015-03-10 22:36
RECIPE FOR DISASTER continued)
Lobbying
Making it legal to lie on TV
Mass surveillance by the NSA
Mentally ill with guns
Militarization of police forces
Military aid to Israel and Egypt
Military-industrial complex
Misinformation
Murders of civilians by police going unpunished
Naivete
Neoconservatism
Neoliberalism
Not punishing major crimes
Oligarchy
Passing of bad laws
Pepper spray and tear gas
Phony science
Police brutality
Political extremism
Politicians who pretend to share your values
Poverty and desperation
Prejudice and racism
Privatization
Profiling
Pseudo-intellectuals
Religious hatred and racism

Repealing of good laws
Scandals
Secrecy
State-sponsored terrorism
Stop and frisk
Stupid people
Supporting corrupt governments
Television stations mostly owned by large corporations
The death penalty
The Democratic Party
The Patriot Act
The Republican Party
The Tea Party
The War on Drugs
The War on Terror
Unlimited campaign contributions
Use of torture in U.S. prisons (solitary confinement for decades)
Veto power
Wall Street corruption
War profiteers
Wars of attrition
Wars for no reason at all
Wars for oil
Wars for profit
Weapons of mass destruction
Wrongful incarceration
Mix together in a meaningless mess and take cover.
 
 
+3 # genelutz 2015-03-10 22:36
RECIPE FOR DISASTER

Collect the following ingredients (can all be found in the U.S.):
Absurd laws
Absurd wealth
Apathy
Assassinations
Assassinations with drones
Attacking other countries for dubious reasons
Bad guys pretending to be good guys being elected
Bank rate tampering
Bombing other countries
Censoring of important news
Charles and David Koch
Chemical warfare
Citizens United Supreme Court ruling
Clever evil people
Corporations meddling in education
Corporations meddling in government
Corrupt Congress
Corrupt judges
Corrupt judicial system
Corrupt police
Corrupt prison-for-prof it system
Corrupt President
Corrupt Supreme Court
Cruel and unusual punishment for petty crimes
Demonization and stereotyping

Deregulation
Detention without due process of law
Disinformation
Disregard for human rights
Disregard for international law
Environmental destruction
Executive privilege
Extraordinary rendition
Foreign governments and interests meddling in government
Fossil fuel industry lobbyists
Fox News and other corporate-contr olled news networks
George Zimmerman with a gun
Gerrymandering
Global warming
Greedy ruling class
Herd mentality
Idiots with guns
Ignorance
Indefinite detention without trial or charge
Indoctrination
Insider trading
Internet neutrality threatened
Large corporations squeezing out small businesses
Laws that benefit criminal element in government.
Legalized fraud
Legitimization of torture
Liars
 
 
+1 # chapdrum 2015-03-12 20:35
Good question, Ms. Klein: "What is wrong with us?"
I'd submit as an example: Why are we helpless before the power of corporations. If humans created them, why can't humans affect (or dismantle) them?
 
 
0 # FDRva 2015-03-14 01:19
The only problem here is Naomi's side of the issue is owned by some Wall Street/London folks every bit as ugly as the Kochs.

Could we quit pretending that 'green' is anti-Establishm ent?

It is not. Quite the contrary.
 

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