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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
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“our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“Slavery wasn’t a crisis for British and American elites until abolitionism turned it into one. Racial discrimination wasn’t a crisis until the civil rights movement turned it into one. Sex discrimination wasn’t a crisis until feminism turned it into one. Apartheid wasn’t a crisis until the anti-apartheid movement turned it into one.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“This, without a doubt, is neoliberalism’s single most damaging legacy: the realization of its bleak vision has isolated us enough from one another that it became possible to convince us that we are not just incapable of self-preservation but fundamentally not worth saving.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message—spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions—telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“Slavery wasn’t a crisis for British and American elites until abolitionism turned it into one. Racial discrimination wasn’t a crisis until the civil rights movement turned it into one. Sex discrimination wasn’t a crisis until feminism turned it into one. Apartheid wasn’t a crisis until the anti-apartheid movement turned it into one. In the very same way, if enough of us stop looking away and decide that climate change is a crisis worthy of Marshall Plan levels of response, then it will become one, and the political class will have to respond, both by making resources available and by bending the free market rules that have proven so pliable when elite interests are in peril.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe—and would benefit the vast majority—are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“Not only do fossil fuel companies receive $775 billion to $1 trillion in annual global subsidies, but they pay nothing for the privilege of treating our shared atmosphere as a free waste dump—a fact that has been described by the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change as “the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“More fundamentally than any of this, though, is their deep fear that if the free market system really has set in motion physical and chemical processes that, if allowed to continue unchecked, threaten large parts of humanity at an existential level, then their entire crusade to morally redeem capitalism has been for naught. With stakes like these, clearly greed is not so very good after all. And that is what is behind the abrupt rise in climate change denial among hardcore conservatives: they have come to understand that as soon as they admit that climate change is real, they will lose the central ideological battle of our time—whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“When we marvel at that blue marble in all its delicacy and frailty, and resolve to save the planet, we cast ourselves in a very specific role. That role is of a parent, the parent of the earth. But the opposite is the case. It is we humans who are fragile and vulnerable and the earth that is hearty and powerful, and holds us in its hands. In pragmatic terms, our challenge is less to save the earth from ourselves and more to save ourselves from an earth that, if pushed too far, has ample power to rock, burn, and shake us off completely. That knowledge should inform all we do—especially”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“So my mind keeps coming back to the question: what is wrong with us? What is really preventing us from putting out the fire that is threatening to burn down our collective house? I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe—and would benefit the vast majority—are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“What industry calls innovation, in other words, looks more like the final suicidal throes of addiction. We are blasting the bedrock of our continents, pumping our water with toxins, lopping off mountaintops, scraping off boreal forests, endangering the deep ocean, and scrambling to exploit the melting Arctic—all to get at the last drops and the final rocks. Yes, some very advanced technology is making this possible, but it’s not innovation, it’s madness.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“What if it's all a hoax and we've created a better world for nothing?”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“So we are left with a stark choice: allow climate disruption to change everything about our world, or change pretty much everything about our economy to avoid that fate. But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us. Gentle tweaks to the status quo stopped being a climate option when we supersized the American Dream in the 1990s, and then proceeded to take it global.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“And that is what is behind the abrupt rise in climate change denial among hardcore conservatives: they have come to understand that as soon as they admit that climate change is real, they will lose the central ideological battle of our time—whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“it is always easier to deny reality than to allow our worldview to be shattered, a fact that was as true of die-hard Stalinists at the height of the purges as it is of libertarian climate change deniers today.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“The bottom line is that we are all inclined to denial when the truth is too costly—whether emotionally, intellectually, or financially. As Upton Sinclair famously observed: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”36”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“A great many of us engage in this kind of climate change denial. We look for a split second and then we look away. Or we look but then turn it into a joke (“more signs of the Apocalypse!”). Which is another way of looking away.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“The three policy pillars of this new era are familiar to us all: privatization of the public sphere, deregulation of the corporate sector, and lower corporate taxation, paid for with cuts to public spending.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“Climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests. A belief system that vilifies collective action and declares war on all corporate regulation and all things public simply cannot be reconciled with a problem that demands collective action on an unprecedented scale and a dramatic reining in of the market forces that are largely responsible for creating and deepening the crisis.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“Renewables are, in fact, much more reliable than power based on extraction, since those energy models require continuous new inputs to avoid a crash, whereas once the initial investment has been made in renewable energy infrastructure, nature provides the raw materials for free.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“It’s not simply that these “cool dudes” deny climate science because it threatens to upend their dominance-based worldview. It is that their dominance-based worldview provides them with the intellectual tools to write off huge swaths of humanity, and indeed, to rationalize profiting from the meltdown.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“And yet Branson (a notorious risk addict with a penchant for crash-landing hot air balloons) is far from the only one willing to stake our collective future on this kind of high-stakes gamble. Indeed the reason his various far-fetched schemes have been taken as seriously as they have over the years is that he, alongside Bill Gates with his near mystical quest for energy “miracles,” taps into what may be our culture’s most intoxicating narrative: the belief that technology is going to save us from the effects of our actions. Post–market crash and amidst ever more sinister levels of inequality, most of us have come to realize that the oligarchs who were minted by the era of deregulation and mass privatization are not, in fact, going to use their vast wealth to save the world on our behalf. Yet our faith in techno wizardry persists, embedded inside the superhero narrative that at the very last minute our best and brightest are going to save us from disaster.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“By this point in history—after the 2008 collapse of Wall Street and in the midst of layers of ecological crises—free market fundamentalists should, by all rights, be exiled to a similarly irrelevant status, left to fondle their copies of Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in obscurity. They are saved from this ignominious fate only because their ideas about corporate liberation, no matter how demonstrably at war with reality, remain so profitable to the world’s billionaires that they are kept fed and clothed in think tanks by the likes of Charles and David Koch, owners of the diversified dirty energy giant Koch Industries, and ExxonMobil.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“Put differently, the liberation of world markets, a process powered by the liberation of unprecedented amounts of fossil fuels from the earth, has dramatically sped up the same process that is liberating Arctic ice from existence.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“To the extent people prioritize values and goals such as achievement, money, power, status and image, they tend to hold more negative attitudes towards the environment, are less likely to engage in positive environmental behaviors, and are more likely to use natural resources unsustainably,”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
“Climate change has never received the crisis treatment from our leaders, despite the fact that it carries the risk of destroying lives on a vastly greater scale than collapsed banks or collapsed buildings.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“The climate change denial movement—far from an organic convergence of “skeptical” scientists—is entirely a creature of the ideological network on display here, the very one that deserves the bulk of the credit for redrawing the global ideological map over the last four decades.”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
“It requires heavy-duty interventions: sweeping bans on polluting activities, deep subsidies for green alternatives, pricey penalties for violations, new taxes, new public works programs, reversals of privatizations—the list of ideological outrages goes on and”
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

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