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This Changes Everything

Whether you are familiar with Naomi Klein’s work or intrigued by the caption Capital vs the climate, her new title is well worth a look.

Klein succeeds in penetrating the capitalist mindset in a book that’s mostly dark with a few stars of hope, not least her own determination. Using their own words, she damns CEOs and politicians alike for causing climate change and delaying meaningful action.

Green activists will be familiar with Klein’s thesis that the neo-liberal economic model has caused climate change and is incapable of enacting any solution to it. But she packs a punch by penetrating the capitalist mindset. She sets the tone with an account of The Heartland Institute’s Sixth Annual Conference on Climate Change; “To what extent is the whole [climate] movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?” asks a delegate.

Throughout, she links the deniers with donations from Big Oil. Even a conference in the UK on geoengineering is packed with delegates sponsored by BP, Exxon, etc., who want to go on profiting from oil extraction, and believe that sulphur particles in the upper atmosphere will cool the planet enough for them to carry on emitting huge amounts of CO2. That this will cause big problems is ok – they can fix that with another hi-tech solution, ad infinitum.

Analysing the sell-out of many of the “green” organisations, she points out that trying to meet the capitalists half-way just doesn’t – can’t – work. And, she adds, it’s pointless waiting for a green capitalist to do the trick; from Bill Gates to Richard Branson, their promises have all come to nought.

The final section takes a look at grassroots attempts to address the problem, and it’s here that the stars – some brighter than others – shine through the bleakness.

This is a book packed with insight, facts and figures, as well as copious notes. But it’s much, much more than that; it’s a call to arms for anyone who is uneasy about inaction on climate change. It’s not an easy read, but it IS a very rewarding one.

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