Naomi Klein on the racism that underlies climate change inaction

RSS icon
Reddit icon
e-mail icon

The Saturday Paper
June 25, 2016

In recent months, the world’s gaze has landed again and again on a hellish Australian terrain of climate-related disaster. Bushfires ravage some of the planet’s oldest trees in Tasmania. Catastrophic coral bleaching leaves much of the Great Barrier Reef a ghostly white. The first known mammal to be wiped out by global warming was recently identified there.

And yet, there is little to no discussion of climate change in your federal election campaign, which is why many Australian groups are forcefully calling for “Pollution Free Politics”: as in North America, the fossil fuel industry has managed to capture not only the debate and key levers of policy, but also huge government subsidies that help to lock in their civilisation-threatening business model, even as renewables surge around the world.

But responding to the climate crisis is not just a matter of closing coal plants and building more solar arrays. A rapid transition to green energy is also an opportunity to remake our world for the better – to lower emissions in ways that also address historical injustice and inequality, bolster democracy, and prevent the kind of brutal, inhumane future that we are already catching far too many glimpses of, from the treatment of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru to the devastating tragedy in Orlando.

In March, two major peer-reviewed studies warned that sea-level rise could happen significantly faster than previously believed. One of the authors of the first study was James Hansen, perhaps the most respected climate scientist in the world. He warned that, on our current emissions trajectory, we face the “loss of all coastal cities, most of the world’s large cities and all their history” – and not in thousands of years, but as soon as this century.

Read more

Article category: 
Subject Tags: 
Geo Tags: 
Rate this article: 
No votes yet