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Naomi Klein on Capitalism vs. the Climate

November 23, 2011

1-minute read

With all the hoopla about climate change and global warming, it’s hard to be a capitalist these days.

At least, that was the theme of the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (and judging from some of the opinions voiced at this event, I can only imagine the “fair and balanced” approach conferences one through five took).

In Capitalism vs. the Climate, a piece published in The Nation, Naomi Klein, a long-time CCPA supporter, takes on the “Deniers,” but also explains that the right’s terror is driven by the fact that “real climate solutions are ones that steer these interventions to systematically disperse and devolve power and control to the community level, whether through community-controlled renewable energy, local organic agriculture or transit systems genuinely accountable to their users.”

How Naomi managed to keep a straight face while listening to panelist after panelist refer to the climate change movement as “a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine” or “a Trojan horse designed to abolish capitalism and replace it with some kind of eco-socialism” I’ll never know.

When she described one participant's suggestion that environmentalists were like “Aztec priests, sacrificing countless people to appease the gods and change the weather” I immediately pictured hordes of those diabolical Raging Grannies plotting the downfall of civilization while building some sort of fiendishly brilliant weather-changing machine in between sessions of knit-one-purl-two.

The fear in the room must have been palpable. As Naomi explains: “if you ask the Heartlanders, climate change makes some kind of left-wing revolution virtually inevitable, which is precisely why they are so determined to deny its reality.” After all, according to British blogger and Heartland regular James Delingpole, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.” Heartland’s Bast puts it even more bluntly: For the left, “Climate change is the perfect thing…. It’s the reason why we should do everything [the left] wanted to do anyway.”

Capitalism vs. the Climate is a valuable overview of what a serious climate agenda would mean in six key areas: public infrastructure, economic planning, corporate regulation, international trade, consumption and taxation. And when those in attendance at the Heartland Conference “react to evidence of human-induced climate change as if capitalism itself were coming under threat, it’s not because they are paranoid. It’s because they are paying attention.”

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