Naomi Klein and Youth Environmental Leaders to Join Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez in Iowa for Climate Crisis Summit

“We’ve never seen something like this in U.S. history. In 2020, Green New Deal voters could determine who wins the Iowa caucuses, and from there the presidency.”


“The climate crisis is an international challenge and we are ready to take it on with a Green New Deal,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted Monday. (Photo: Bernie Sanders/Twitter)

Author and environmentalist Naomi Klein, U.S. Youth Climate Strike co-founder Isra Hirsi, and Sunrise Movement leader Zina Precht-Rodriguez are among those slated to join Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Iowa on Saturday for a “Climate Crisis Summit” focused on the urgent need for a Green New Deal.

“The climate crisis is an international challenge and we are ready to take it on with a Green New Deal,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said Monday in a tweet promoting the summit, which is set to take place at Drake University in Des Moines
.

The event, as Vox reported Monday, is part of the Sanders campaign’s push to win the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses with an ambitious climate message and policy platform. In August, Sanders unveiled a sweeping Green New Deal proposal calling for a 10-year mobilization to transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy while creating 20 million decent-paying union jobs in the process.

“Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to be the new climate candidate of the 2020 presidential race—and his campaign is betting it can win them Iowa,” Vox reported Monday.

The youth-led Sunrise Movement tweeted in response to Vox‘s story that the country has “never seen something like this.”

“In 2020, Green New Deal voters could determine who wins the Iowa caucuses, and from there the presidency,” the group said.

The Sanders campaign said in a statement that the summit on Saturday “is set to be one of the largest gatherings in Iowa to confront climate change.” The event will feature national climate leaders like Hirsi and Precht-Rodriguez as well as local Iowa activists.

“Sen. Sanders probably has the most intensive climate plan on the circuit right now,” Hirsi told Vox. “I think a lot of young people are hearing Sanders’ message and waking up.”

“The climate crisis is everything,” Hirsi added. “It’s healthcare, it’s racial justice, it’s criminal justice—everything. It’s our lives on the line; lives are already being lost because of it.”

The day after the Climate Crisis Summit, Sanders plans to go on a “Green Jobs Tour” across Iowa’s conservative fourth congressional district.

Bill Neidhardt, the Sanders campaign’s deputy state director in Iowa, predicted the Vermont senator’s bold climate message will have broad appeal among Iowa voters.

“Climate is typically seen as an issue for young voters but we reject the notion that climate only engages young voters,” Neidhardt told Vox. “We think a strong focus on climate, especially on the economic issues, can really turn the tide.” SOURCE

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Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez at ‘Climate Crisis’ summit

“It feels like everything could tip very quickly”: Naomi Klein takes on the climate crisis

Klein, who has done more to popularise the inseparability of capitalism and climate change than perhaps any other author, talks Extinction Rebellion and mainstream environmentalism.


KALPESH LATHIGRA FOR NEW STATESMAN

Twenty years ago, Naomi Klein’s No Logo was published on the crest of swelling unease about economic globalisation. Her analysis raged against corporate greed, sweat-shop labour and an increasingly voracious marketing culture that seemed to absorb all forms of critique.

In November 1999, while the book was still at the printers, thousands of activists shut down a meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle in protest at a financial system of deregulated capitalism that was taking the world by storm. No Logo became a manifesto for the anti-globalisation zeitgeist that would define grassroots politics for the next decade.

The book foreshadowed crazy ideas: corporations were becoming more powerful than governments, and one day you could become your own global brand. Yet the world that Klein foretold has now come into being.

“What’s more powerful now… is the idea that every single person has to be their own brand, and the application of the logic of corporate branding to our very selves. It’s an insidious change that has everything to do with social media,” Klein tells me when we meet in London. The superbrands of the late Nineties were easy to identify; now, digital technology has made it less possible than ever to live a life unmediated by corporate power.

Klein is in London promoting her new book, On Fire, a crescendo of essays from the past ten years that concludes with an argument for the Green New Deal. The proposal, which encompasses dramatic increases in green energy investment and green jobs creation, is gaining political sway on both sides of the Atlantic.

We meet for coffee in the bar of an expensive hotel that smells like pot-pourri; outside, Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters are defying a ban initiated by the Metropolitan Police. The fortnight preceding our meeting, XR activists seized central London in a string of colourful uprisings. “It feels like one of those moments where everything could tip very quickly,” she tells me. “This is not tapping into people who saw themselves as climate activists – it’s tapping into something much broader.”

Klein, 49, has done more to popularise the inseparability of capitalism and climate change than perhaps any other author. In a series of books published over the past decade, she documented the human costs of ecological plunder and argued that environmental breakdown is rooted in capitalism’s quest for perpetual growth. “We have a handful of years to turn this around, and in those handful of years, I’m all in, all the time,’’ she says. Listening to her, it’s possible to feel a sense of calm; where much of the discourse about climate change redounds to the apocalyptic script of a climate-fiction novel, she has a resolute sense not only of what’s at stake, but of how we might fix it.

Klein has long railed against the dangers of “disaster capitalism”. In The Shock Doctrine (2007), she traced how elites exploited national crises and natural disasters to push through free-market policies. Today, she worries that without a concrete plan, climate activists may leave open the door to a similar possibility. “I’m extremely wary of just asking powerful interests to declare [a] climate emergency, and deferring the question of what we mean by climate action,” she says.

Though Klein commends XR, which has forced the UK government to declare a climate emergency and commit to citizens’ assemblies, she worries that “asking those in power to declare an emergency and waiting to articulate what their solutions should be” could open up a “vacuum”. “The time for simply calling for ‘action’, amorphous action, has passed,” she adds.

Mainstream environmentalism has long been criticised for being too elite, too concerned with pristine wilderness and charismatic species, and too apathetic to the reality that environmental harms are distributed along poverty and race lines.

In the US, for example, people of colour live with 66 per cent more air pollution than white citizens. Klein’s contention is that we should be learning from the movements at the front lines of environmental change.

One senses her frustration at big environmental groups that have avoided talking about the economic roots of climate breakdown. “The most well-funded green groups in the world are more focused on wilderness; they’re more focused on animals, on conservation. They take a tonne of money from fossil fuel companies, mining companies, and their whole business model is to shake down the extractive sectors and banks, and to… protect patches of wilderness,” Klein says.

Fixating on “nature” and “wilderness” rather than the ground under our feet can descend into something more troubling: the protection of a nativist social order. In On Fire, Klein argues that we’re already living through the dawn of climate barbarism, with terrorists such as the Christchurch gunman openly identifying as “eco-fascists”. “There’s a strong strain of ‘close it down, protect our own’,’’ she says. “Hypernationalism and native protectionism [are] a very likely outcome in many majority-white countries.”

“People know, whether they link it to climate change or not, that we are in an era of mass migration and that the space in which it is going to be safe for humans to live on this planet is contracting. It will continue to contract,” she says. “This is why it’s important to have a plan.” SOURCE

The Green New Deal and the case for a radical economic reboot

Two new books argue for profound change to break the political logjam on climate change

FILE -- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks alongside Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) at a news conference about the Green New Deal, in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. New York lawmakers have agreed to pass a sweeping climate plan that calls for the state to all but eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Pete Marovich/The New York Times) Credit: New York Times / Redux / eyevine For further information please contact eyevine tel: +44 (0) 20 8709 8709 e-mail: info@eyevine.com www.eyevine.com
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey (right) at a news conference about the Green New Deal in Washington in February © New York Times/Redux/Eyevine

Ever since the renowned Nasa scientist James Hansen started issuing dire public warnings about the risks of man-made climate change in the late 1980s, the same question has haunted environmental campaigners: how to get political momentum behind an “invisible” and global problem whose impacts would not be felt for many years?

Attempts to outsource the answer to some grand international bargain in succeeding decades have done little to abate the volumes of carbon still belching into the atmosphere. Wealthy countries such as the US have bridled at binding global targets, while national regulations have simply shifted emissions from wealthy countries to those with less exacting environmental rules.

Earlier this year, two American progressive politicians, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey, launched the latest attempt to break the political logjam. Granted, their “Green New Deal” is more of a political brand than a practical programme. But it sets out to provide that elusive energising factor by tying climate action to the notion of greater social justice within the US.

The deal offers jobs for millions to restore US infrastructure, extends universal healthcare and proposes switching to local community-led renewable energy systems with the aim of reaching 100 per cent renewable power in the next 10 years.

The goal is to make decarbonisation a defining national mission rather than an internationally mandated chore.

It is not the first time a “Green New Deal” has been touted. But the original, cooked up by the US journalist Thomas Friedman in 2007, gained little traction.

Conceived as a mission that would bolster US energy security as well as (happily) saving the planet, it argued for a technological revolution; one where the government showered fiscal incentives to replace fossil fuels with unlimited green power.

Friedman’s was a consumer-friendly vision; one where western knowhow bailed us out without us actually having to change our lifestyles very much.

A decade on, proponents of the latest Green New Deal, such as the activist Naomi Klein, are much less optimistic about the ability — or will — of western private capital and technology to solve the world’s environmental woes. In On Fire, the longstanding critic of corporate globalisation argues for a much more comprehensive economic reboot.

“Markets play a role in this vision, but markets are not the protagonists of this story — people are,” she writes. “The workers who will build the new infrastructure, the residents who will breathe the clean air, who will live in the affordable green housing and benefit from the low cost (or free) public transit.”

Klein’s book is a collection of essays spanning the past decade, which chart her growing despair at environmental degradation and conclusion that any solution must involve radical and urgent economic change. The story moves from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in 2010, through the wildfires of western Canada, the refugee crises in Africa and the Middle East all the way to the Vatican, where Pope Francis is attempting an extraordinary “ecological conversion”. These journeys have left her with a profound mistrust of the way markets allocate resources. Klein argues that we must change more than just our energy sources; we must master our urge to dominate the natural environment — what she calls our “expansionist, extractive mind-set”.

This is partly a long-lensed critique about humanity’s relationship to nature. As a Canadian, Klein is acutely aware of her own country’s history, and the way early colonial settlers treated it as “their God-given larder”, killing first the native species, such as auks and beavers, for profit, before turning to its woodlands and mineral resources. MORE

 

 

Upcoming national election is crucial for Canada’s energy sector

Ontario – Energy and the environment is arguably the key policy area that will decide the election—and most agree the outcome of the vote will, in turn, be crucial for Canada’s energy sector.

Image result for alberta tar sands pipeline

In Alberta, political differences have become personal, particularly after the 2014 crash in petroleum prices. And while a CBC poll tracker shows the opposition Conservatives holding a slim lead over the ruling Liberals – neither is projected to win a majority government.

But in Alberta, a Tory landslide is predicted, with the Conservatives holding a nearly 45 percent lead over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. After the 2015 national election, Alberta was already feeling the effects of the turn-down in oil and gas prices from the previous year. Unemployment in the province was 10 percent.

“I think the federal government has a specific hate on” for Alberta, Robyn Moser says, according to The Guardian. “We have a federal government that wants to choke the Alberta economy for its own political reasons.” She is referring to Trudeau, who has tried to walk down the middle of the road, playing to both sides of the climate issue and Alberta’s failing energy sector.

Conservative candidate Andrew Sheer at a gathering in Langley B.C. this week.

Conservative candidate Andrew Sheer at a gathering in Langley, B.C. this week. Andrew Sheer
Oil sands very existence is on the ballot

While Trudeau and his supporters argue that Canada can become a global oil superpower and a leader in fighting climate change – his main challenger, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, accuses Trudeau of abandoning a pipeline through British Columbia, failing to push through another line to Canada’s east coast and passing a law that they say will make major energy projects impossible to approve, reports BNN Bloomberg.

And voters have not forgotten a comment Trudeau made at a town hall meeting back in 2017 when he said the country “needed to phase out the oil sands.”

“Do we want our energy industry to be a global player, or do we want our industry to go into hibernation and we’ll just slowly shut it down?” Derek Evans, chief executive officer of oil-sands producer MEG Energy Corp., said in an interview. “That’s the point we’re at.”

Athabasca oilsands in Alberta Canada.

Athabasca oilsands in Alberta, Canada.
Howl Arts Collective (CC BY 2.0)

It is true that the region around Fort McMurray contains the world’s third-largest crude reserves, but to get the thick bitumen to market requires pipelines, and that is a contentious subject in today’s world of environmental awareness. With limited pipeline capacity, discounts to Canadian oil, and delays to projects like TC Energy Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, the future is not looking good.

Trudeau did not win friends or influence people when his government ended up buying the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline that was being held up with legal challenges, protests and a British Columbia government pledging to block its construction. The only thing to come out of this move was that Trudeau earned the nickname “Justin Crudeau.”

Naomi Klein, the prominent Canadian writer, and activist said the purchase highlights the “utterly hypocritical” position Trudeau has taken since coming to power, allowing the oil sands to expand while claiming to make Canada a climate leader.

Green Party Canada

@CanadianGreens

We’re the only party standing firmly against any fossil fuels.

In a climate emergency, that’s the only position endorsed by science.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-11/green-who-wants-to-abandon-oil-may-be-canada-s-next-power-broker 

Green Who Wants to Abandon Oil May Be Canada’s Next Power Broker

Elizabeth May has been the lone green voice in Canada’s legislature for most of the eight years since she became her party’s first elected member of parliament.She may soon have more company. Polls…

bloomberg.com

How will the vote go?

It will be a close race and as the polls suggest, Canada could very well end up with a minority Liberal government. Even so, there will be seats for the environmentally-minded Green Party and the New Democratic Party – and this could end up being bad news for oil sands advocates.

Green leader Elizabeth May sees the election as a referendum on climate and Canada’s last chance to take the lead in fighting climate change. “We can’t negotiate with the global atmosphere to say, ‘We need a bit more time,’” said May, whose campaign platform displays a photo of her being arrested protesting against the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Karel Mayrand, the director of the David Suzuki Foundation for Quebec and Atlantic Canada, a non-profit environmentalist organization, says “You could say ‘Alberta can export its oil, and Quebec can export its electricity and everyone shakes hands. But the problem is that for a growing share of the population, in Canada as well as in Quebec, accepting this means throwing all of Canada’s climate goals out of the window.” SOURCE

Extinction Rebellion Making Things Inconvenient? Actually, Says Naomi Klein, the Climate Crisis ‘Is Really, Really Inconvenient’

“There is nothing more inconvenient than being hit by a Category 5 hurricane, by having a wildfire raze your town.”

Writer George Monbiot is arrested by police officers after being arrested in Trafalgar Square on October 16, 2019 in London.
Writer George Monbiot is arrested by police officers after being arrested in Trafalgar Square on October 16, 2019 in London. Activists held an emergency people’s assembly in Trafalgar Square following a ban on Extinction Rebellion protests in London. (Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

As Extinction Rebellion activists in London on Wednesday ramped up their latest mobilization with a tenth consecutive day of action, author Naomi Klein pushed back against criticism of the climate protesters and said the climate crisis itself is what’s truly disruptive.

In an interview with Sky News presenter Adam Boulton posted Wednesday, Klein refuted the notion that “a lot of action” to address the climate crisis is “being taken by politicians,” saying their lack of sufficient action is what has drawn youth climate and Extinction Rebellion activists into the streets across the world in recent weeks.

“If standing up against the climate and ecological breakdown and for humanity is against the rules, then the rules must be broken.”
—Greta Thunberg
The interview came as the global mobilization—which has blocked major roads and bridges in their bid to demand greenhouse gas emissions go down to net zero by 2025—staged a number of actions on Wednesday in defiance of a London-wide ban.

Extinction Rebellion has also announced that several affinity groups plan to disrupt Tube services on Thursday. “In any other circumstances,” the group said in a statement, “these groups would never dream of disrupting the Tube but this is an emergency.”

Boulton, in his interview with Klein, said the climate activists put others in a position such that their “route to work is being obstructed” and said XR was “trying to shut down the Tube system.”

“Yes, it’s inconveniencing people,” said Klein. “As somebody who has covered natural disasters that are fueled by climate change for 15 years—there is nothing more inconvenient than being hit by a Category 5 hurricane, by having a wildfire raze your town.”

“Let me tell you how inconvenient it is for the people in Paradise, California, 14,000 of whom lost their homes,” she continued. “Climate change is really, really inconvenient. And so if people have to deal with this inconvenience of some protests in London to get the attention of politicians who have been focused on a singular way on the emergency of Brexit, then so be it.”

London Metropolitan Police this week issued an order banning “any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising'” within city.

One of Wednesday’s actions was a “people’s assembly” in Trafalgar Square in which roughly 2,500 activists gathered to strategize responses to what they say is the government’s continued inaction on the climate crisis. Among those in the square detained by police was journalist and activist George Monbiot:

MORE

Saving Earth From Disaster: Scientists Have Come With A Crucial Plan

Disastrous climate change, the burning of Amazon forest, the land clearing, air pollution, food resources getting low, and others – all are driving to a very gloomy scenario for our planet. And the saddest part is that most if not all of these aspects exist due to human intervention and selfishness.

Scientific studies themselves are warning humanity that we need to take better care of our planet. No wonder Elon Musk and scientists are thinking seriously about the possibility of colonizing Mars.

We need to change our economic systems

A background document for the United Nations’ (UN) draft Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 claims that we need drastic changes to our economic systems.

“The economic models which inform political decision-making in rich countries almost completely disregard the energetic and material dimensions of the economy,” the researchers wrote.

“Economies have used up the capacity of planetary ecosystems to handle the waste generated by energy and material use.”

This background document for the chapter of the report called Transformation: The Economy has been written by some guys who know what they’re talking about. Among them are scientists from environmental fields, such as Jussi Eronen from the University of Helsinki, who is specialized in ecosystem problems. There are also economic, business, and philosophy researchers, like the economist Paavo Järvensivu from Finland’s independent BIOS research unit.

The document warns humanity that the current economic systems are causing critically widening gaps between the rich and the poor, which leads to unemployment and debts.

Support nature, not wealth

Journalist Naomi Klein is the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs the Climate, and she stated “we humans are capable of organising ourselves into all kinds of different social orders, including societies with much longer time horizons and far more respect for natural life-support systems.”

“Indeed,” she continues, “humans have lived that way for the vast majority of our history and many Indigenous cultures keep Earth-centred cosmologies alive to this day. Capitalism is a tiny blip in the collective story of our species.”

The goal seems to be learning from previous times when records of longevity have been proven to emerge. This doesn’t imply to abolish technological advancements, although some of them are making us dangerously comfortable.

The ball is on our side of the terrain: we can choose either to seek wealthness and not care about the environment or the future of our offspring, or we can make drastic changes to our lifestyle without thinking about wealth. After all, maybe it’s true what they say that money can’t buy happiness. SOURCE

Klein pushes for Green New Deal in the face of climate crisis

Darren Calabrese / The Canadian Press files</p><p>Naomi Klein (centre) launched the Leap Manifesto in Toronto in 2015.</p>
Naomi Klein (centre) launched the Leap Manifesto in Toronto in 2015. Darren Calabrese / The Canadian Press files

There are few global or international challenges that have brought our species together in solidarity. One can think to D-Day or the Apollo moon landing as examples of western countries using, in the former case, our collective capacity to push back totalitarian hate, and in the latter, defying what we knew was possible in terms of space exploration.

But there has never been a time in human history, which is not very long, where we have stared collectively into the mirror of our own existence.

For the past six decades, we have known that we have been causing catastrophic damage to our home. If you dispute the history of our destruction, Sept. 27 of this year marked the 57th anniversary of the release of Rachel Carson’s environmental science book, Silent Spring. (It should be mandatory reading for all educators.)

Sept. 27 of this year also marked the largest student demonstration in human history, with millions of youth leaving their classrooms to fight for their future and wake the rest of us up. It is this existential struggle that has compelled Naomi Klein, Canadian journalist, activist, and progressive, to release her latest book, On Fire: The Burning Case for a New Green Deal.

The author of No Logo and This Changes Everything, among others, was also a critical player in the development of the Leap Manifesto and the Green New Deal, supported by none other than U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and championed by U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In On Fire, Klein is inspired by the new voice of moral courage on our planet, Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, and the millions of youth turned activists who should be enjoying this time of adolescence but, owing to our greed and neglect, are forced to fight for the very thing that sustains life: planet Earth.

According to Klein, “learning has become a radicalizing act,” whereby in spite of adults, our children are participating in civil disobedience because “they are the first for whom climate disruption on a planetary scale is not a future threat, but a live reality.” They no longer have the idle pleasure of succumbing to what Aristotle calls akrasia, the human tendency to act against our better judgment.

On Fire provides a series of Klein’s essays written over the past decade, which not only chronicle the monumental and catastrophic canaries in the coal mine (the 2010 BP explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, the rise of fracking, the burning of the boreal forest, etc.), but also make the case for the need of a new understanding of how we live together. Of how we treat and share resources. Of how we become stewards of the Earth so that everyone has the means for a decent life.

And much of this work began in 2015, as Klein and other leaders began to develop the Leap Manifesto. Only four years ago, Canadians and the world were presented with a plan towards sustainability, equity and stability that was scoffed at by the likes of Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and even Thomas Mulcair. Fast forward to 2019, and we’re still debating who will champion which pipeline.

Justin Tang / The Canadian Press</p><p>People rally near Parliament Hill in Ottawa as part of a climate rally, one of many held worldwide on Friday, Sept. 27.</p>
People rally near Parliament Hill in Ottawa as part of a climate rally, one of many held worldwide on Friday, Sept. 27.   Justin Tang / The Canadian PressAnd we wonder why our children are frustrated and afraid. “They understand that they are fighting for the fundamental right to live full lives,” Klein writes — lives that have been stolen from them.

Following the Leap Manifesto, in 2019 the Green New Deal arrived on Capitol Hill and has provided the basis for a global conversation about a positive pathway forward. Inspired by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Klein helped develop a framework that checks unbridled capitalism, addresses social inequity and fully realizes the planetary emergency that stares us in the face.

The Green New Deal calls for a fundamental shift in how we operate. It calls for us, Klein argues, to “swerve off our perilous trajectory” through “sweeping industrial and infrastructure overhaul.”

It calls for us to stop denying the future of our kids and to become their allies as they lead the way to a positive, inclusive and thriving future.

Justin Tang / The Canadian Press files</p><p>The global climate strike, held in cities in dozens of countries on Sept. 27, saw millions of youth leave their classrooms in one of the largest worldwide demonstrations in history.</p>
The global climate strike, held in cities in dozens of countries on Sept. 27, saw millions of youth leave their classrooms in one of the largest worldwide demonstrations in history.   Justin Tang / The Canadian Press files 

SOURCERELATED:

The Sanders Climate Plan Can Work. Warren’s Can’t.

Activist Naomi Klein talks global climate justice imperative

naomi-klein-warsaw-nov-19-2008-fot-mariusz-kubik-05
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

When Naomi Klein looks at the world today, she sees flames. There are three “fires” that the global community is facing, she told an audience at Richardson Auditorium on Tuesday, and they are increasingly converging.

Klein gave introductory remarks before speaking with Assistant Professor of African American Studies Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor about Klein’s new book, “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal.” She is a Canadian journalist and activist widely known for her biting indictments of capitalism and globalization.

The first “fire” that Klein identified is the central concern of her book: climate change.

She cited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 report, which laid out both a plan and a deadline for global leaders to stave off climate chaos. The plan, Klein said, was an “‘unprecedented transformation in virtually every aspect of society,’ in energy, in agriculture, in transportation, in building construction.” The deadline was twelve years, now down to eleven — what Klein described as a “very, very, very short window.”

“Any of us who focus even tangentially on what we’re hearing from climate scientists knows that what we do or don’t do in the next handful of years will determine the lives and fates of hundreds of millions of people,” Klein said.

The second “fire,” Klein said, is a political one.

She pointed to the ascendancy of populist leaders in the U.S., Brazil, the Philippines, India, Australia, and Russia. In each of these countries, Klein said, politicians are defining national in-groups against a “sharply defined out-group, inside the respective countries and outside, on the borders … the illegal, the illegitimate, the frightening other.”

And these two fires — the “political and the planetary” — are linked, Klein added.

“I think they are feeding each other,” she told the audience. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that at the very moment when the reality of climate breakdown ceases to be some future, abstract threat off in the indeterminate distance and becomes a lived reality, that at this very moment we have the global phenomenon of the rise of these strongmen figures, riling up hatred, turning populations against each other, using this fear and sense of scarcity.”

Politicians like President Donald Trump and President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro are facilitating rather than fighting climate change, Klein said, from relaxed environmental regulation in the United States to wildfires rippling across the Amazon. Meanwhile, climate events are having the most devastating impact in other countries, those without the infrastructure and resources to adequately deal with them.

Klein argued that this imbalance has “created the cruel irony that the very people who are forced to move first are the people who did the least to create this crisis.”

“They deserve not just asylum but an apology,” she added.

Rather than asylum and apologies, however, Klein claimed that powerful countries are responding to climate change with a model of economic development that profits off of climate refugees. She traced the origin of this model from the “Island Solution” in Australia to criminalization of migrants in the E.U. to the treatment of immigrants at the U.S. border.

The result, Klein asserted, is “climate barbarism,” a me-first response to climate change that entails cutting down on foreign aid and funneling money into the containment of climate refugees.

But there is an important alternative, she argued, to the policies of climate barbarism, and it lies in the “third fire”: the global climate justice movement.

This fire is being stoked by Greta Thunberg and the Sunrise Movement, and it is proliferating, Klein stated, gaining followers in an exponential and unprecedented fashion. In September, over seven million people took to the streets in worldwide climate strikes.

“There is incredible urgency in the fires that have been lit in this coming generation, and they’re trying to light fires in the generation that came before them,” Klein said.

Klein also emphasized that the global climate movement needs to be intersectional in order to match the demands of “intersecting crises” in political, economic, and social realms. In this sense, the radical scope of these crises presents an opportunity for a radical re-envisioning of society’s most basic yet problematic structures — a central argument in her book.

“It’s going to take an all-out war on pollution and poverty and racism and colonialism and despair, all at the same time,” Klein read from the introduction to her book.

In conversation with Klein, Assistant Professor Taylor asked what factors have contributed to the sudden, rapid visibility of the climate movement, particularly in the United States. Klein said that the lived experience of climate change — hotter, longer summers; wildfires in California — are helping to bring urgency to the movement, along with publicized scientific reports and collective action.

Klein and Taylor also discussed the role that climate policies are playing in the 2020 election. Klein critiqued Senator Elizabeth Warren’s recent interpretation of climate change as an issue of political corruption, emphasizing instead that it is inextricably linked to capitalism. She also said that Senator Bernie Sanders’ “Green New Deal” proposal is the most internationally focused.

But across the slate of Democratic candidates, the unprecedented attention given to climate policy indicates an “absolute sea change” in the way we are approaching the climate crisis, Klein emphasized.

“Just a few months ago we were talking about whether we can get Republicans on board for a revenue neutral carbon tax,” she said. “This really is a shift.” MORE

Naomi Klein: To fight eco-fascism, Canada needs Green New Deal champions

Naomi Klein. Image: Adolfo Lujan/Flickr
Image: Adolfo Lujan/Flickr

“This is all wrong.”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City on Monday, in which she condemned world leaders for their “empty words” and “fairytales of eternal economic growth,” went viral immediately.

If the international political establishment’s failure to treat the climate crisis as an emergency that requires a total, radical transformation of our economies and societies is, as Thunberg put it, “all wrong,” then the global scale and grassroots ambition of the mass mobilization for climate justice is exactly right.

Just a couple days prior, four million people took to the streets in 185 countries around the world to demand serious climate action from world leaders. Climate actions will continue throughout this week, culminating in a massive climate strike on Friday, September 27 in Canada.

We spoke with Naomi Klein about her new book, On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal; the Global Climate Strike; what’s at stake in the upcoming Canadian federal election; and how the movement for a Green New Deal can counter a rising tide of eco-fascism. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Sophia Reuss: On Friday last week, we saw millions of people around the world join the Global Climate Strike. This upcoming Friday, people in communities across Canada are planning to strike. In past interviews, you’ve said that Canada owes the world a climate debt. How did we accumulate that debt, and what will it take for Canada to repay it?

Naomi Klein: Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Climate Convention, which says that all countries have a common responsibility to act on climate change, but that that responsibility is differentiated. It’s known as the “common but differentiated responsibility” clause. This is something that successive Canadian governments have agreed to throughout the 30 years since governments have been meeting to talk about lowering emissions. So it isn’t news that Canada has a responsibility as a large historical emitter of greenhouse gases. This is true of all of the major industrialized economies that have been burning carbon on an industrial scale for a couple hundred years.

[Canada has] more responsibility than countries that have a very small carbon footprint or have only started emitting large amounts of carbon relatively recently. What that means is that we need to move faster to lower our emissions in line with what scientists are telling us. They’re telling us that we need to have [reduced] global emissions in the next 11 years, which the IPCC report from last year told us we needed to do if we want to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. That means that countries like Canada have to do it even faster to make atmospheric space for countries that have smaller carbon footprints.

But also, part of that differentiated responsibility is that we need to pay into the UN Climate Fund, which is a flawed financial mechanism, but it’s the only one we’ve got right now. We need to provide financing for poorer countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and to leapfrog over fossil fuels and go straight to green [technology], and also to help communities keep their carbon-sequestering forests intact. We need forests to stay intact. It’s to the benefit of the whole planet, so it shouldn’t only be the responsibility of relatively poor countries to give up revenue that they could be getting if they felled those forests […] and if we don’t want them to do it, we need to help.

What are the components of a Canadian response?

I think there’s a few components to this. One is ambition. Meaning, if global emissions need to be cut in half in 11 years, Canada needs to do more. We need to cut faster. We also need to pay. We need to provide climate financing, and there are also responsibilities to provide asylum. I don’t think that we can talk about our climate responsibilities without talking about migrant rights, and really questioning the legitimacy of our borders at this stage in history where so many millions of people are being displaced and have a right to seek asylum.

There are many drivers of migration right now. Climate is one of them. Climate is also a contributor to conflict. It’s an accelerant to conflict. It’s really hard to pry it apart from any of the other drivers to migration. But we currently don’t even recognize climate refugees under international law, so we don’t have the mechanisms really to address this. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the ways in which we’re talking about a Green New Deal right now are not making the links with migration, and then not making the links enough with international financing either. MORE

Naomi Klein on climate strikes, Greta and the Green New Deal


Author Naomi Klein says mass mobilization will be key in fighting climate change. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Listen to the full episode25:59

Millions of climate strikers all across the world took to the streets on Friday — and there’s another major climate protest planned for next Friday, too. Today on Front Burner, we talk to Naomi Klein, author of the new book On Fire: The Burning Case for the Green New Deal about Greta Thunberg, the Green New Deal, and why she thinks mass mobilization around climate change may be the only thing that can help us avoid global warming’s most devastating effects.

“If you don’t believe in social movements, and if they make you kind of queasy and they seem kind of messy, then you should feel really pessimistic, because it’s actually our only hope.” SOURCE