Capitalism versus Climate

Capitalism versus Climate

In my last posting, I included mention of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Today, in the pages of The New York Times Book Review, Rob Nixon reviews the book (“Force of Nature” / “The status quo is no longer an option, Naomi Klein warns in this analysis of the climate crisis.”). In the review, Nixon states that This Changes Everything “is a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable.” But he does review it; and at the finish of his review he calls it “The most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.” Got your attention? “There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming,” Naomi Klein writes in her book, “but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed. Which is surely the best argument there has ever been for changing those rules.” Further into the review, Nixon again quotes from the book: “Any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of world views. Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.” Incidentally, I would also add that religions are basically world views, and some of those world views compromise our chances for saving the planet.

That’s all I’ll say for now concerning This Changes Everything, but sticking with the topic of climate change, let me cite an informative Nicholas Kristof column that appeared in The New York Times (“‘Neglected Topic’ Winner: Climate Change,” January 19, 2014). Kristof asked his readers back at the beginning of the year for their suggestions concerning “neglected topics” that those “in the news business should cover more aggressively in 2014.” Among the some 1,300 responses Kristof received, he states that “many made a particularly compelling case for climate change.” Here is how he began his column:

Here’s a scary fact about America: We’re much more likely to believe that there are signs that aliens have visited Earth (77 percent) than that humans are causing climate change (44 percent).

And if that’s not bad enough, wait, it gets worse. Despite the fact that, as Kristof points out, “The [Nobel-Prize winning] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in September [2013] raised its confidence that human activity is the main cause of warming from 90 percent probability to 95 percent or higher,” only “66 percent of Democrats say human activity is the main cause of global warming; [and only] 24 percent of Republicans say so.” Want to hear the scariest part of all? November 4th was Election Day; and Republicans, having won big, are soon going to be in control of both houses of Congress. Oh, my God! Consider these facts regarding just one Republican Senator (Sen. James M. Inhofe, of Oklahoma), which in fact-checking I found on the website (“Clearing the PR Pollution That Clouds Climate Science”):

In 2003, the Natural Resources Defense Council noted that Inhofe “scored zero with the League of Conservation Voters since 1997, was the only senator to oppose Everglades restoration, and once compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo.”

He is also one of the biggest climate change deniers that you are ever likely to find. For example, here is what this U. S. senator, with a B. A. in Economics from the University of Tulsa, thinks of global warming: “With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.” To support his contention that global warming is a hoax, he quotes from the Bible (Genesis 8:22).

There is one silver lining in the dark cloud that was Election Day 2014. While I in no way would have wished for the results that we ended up with, I think it will undoubtedly make my quest for gift capital that much more attainable. It is going to be that much easier now to convince people that our future is in jeopardy and that we are going in entirely the wrong direction. It’s going to be a very bad next couple of years (at least), for the flora, the fauna, and the entire biosphere of this planet. In all seriousness — and I’m not exaggerating one bit — if I had been given a magic wand before Election Day, and the ability to chose between one of these two wishes: (a) Republicans win both houses of Congress, and I get $1 million dollars, or (b) Republicans don’t win both houses of Congress, and I don’t get $1 million dollars, I unhesitatingly would have chosen the latter (!). I’m not a Democrat; but I can even more emphatically say I am not a Republican (especially where environmentalism is concerned).

If I might cite just one more article pertaining to climate change. Here is an article that I suggest you take a look at. It is chock full of evidence for why I would now predict an extremely bleak next two years (at least), as far as environmentalism (for lack of a better word) is concerned. This article was written by John M. Broder and was published in the New York Times a little over four years ago (“Skepticism on Climate Change Is Article of Faith for Tea Party,” October 21, 2010). The article points out that during that year’s election cycle, “of the 20 Republican Senate candidates in contested races, 19 question the science of global warming, and oppose any comprehensive legislation to deal with it,” according to a National Journal survey. The article also points out that “oil, coal and utility industries have collectively spent $500 million just since the beginning of 2009 [to October 2010] to lobby against legislation to address climate change and to defeat candidates” who support such legislation (the source for this information is stated to be the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a left-leaning advocacy group in Washington). The article also quotes from two citizens active in the Tea Party movement, both of whom rely upon Scripture as a means for completely discounting any argument in support of the validity of climate change. Here is what one of them had to say: “It’s a flat-out lie. I read my Bible. He made this earth for us to utilize.”