- Created: Saturday, 20 December 2014 17:07
- Written by Susan Davidson
This changes everything: capitalism vs the climate
Naomi Klein, Allen Lane 2014, 566pp, £20
The scientific consensus is clear and was restated at the start of November 2014 in a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: there is a ‘real and present threat to life and land’. If the world does not get carbon emissions under control to limit global warming to 2°C by 2017, our fossil fuel economy will ‘lock in’ extremely dangerous warming (p17). Without new constraints on fossil fuel emissions the earth is set to heat up by 4°C by the century’s end. In the words of earth scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, ‘the difference between two and four degrees is human civilisation’. We know what this means: war, famine, the fight over access to water, the privatisation of resources, and the military defence of privileges. Today there can be no doubt that the tragedies of Hurricane Sandy and the Haiyan Typhoon await all of us, in addition to the steady pollution of water and air, the economic destruction of communities, farmland and settlements by the invasion of big monopoly companies with giant machinery and accompanying shanty towns of itinerant workers in search of employment in the extractive industries.