In an extensive analysis of the appeal of climate skeptics, acclaimed author Naomi Klein argues that they may be more perceptive than environmentalists in recognizing the real implications of the global climate crisis. The skeptics main arguments are emotional, not scientific, and contend that that climate change is really a left-wing plot to destroy capitalism and the ‘free’ market.
Klein suggests there is some truth here.
“The fact that the earth's atmosphere cannot safely absorb the amount of carbon we are pumping into it is a symptom of a much larger crisis, one born of the central fiction on which our economic model is based: that nature is limitless, that we will always be able to find more of what we need, and that if something runs out it can be seamlessly replaced by another resource that we can endlessly extract,” she writes in the current edition of The Nation.
“But it is not just the atmosphere that we have exploited beyond its capacity to recover — we are doing the same to the oceans, to freshwater, to topsoil and to biodiversity. The expansionist, extractive mindset, which has so long governed our relationship to nature, is what the climate crisis calls into question so fundamentally. The abundance of scientific research showing we have pushed nature beyond its limits does not just demand green products and market-based solutions; it demands a new civilizational paradigm, one grounded not in dominance over nature but in respect for natural cycles of renewal — and acutely sensitive to natural limits, including the limits of human intelligence.”
Klein thus agrees with the skeptics that climate change itself isn’t the issue.
“Climate change is a message, one that is telling us that many of our culture's most cherished ideas are no longer viable. These are profoundly challenging revelations for all of us raised on Enlightenment ideals of progress, unaccustomed to having our ambitions confined by natural boundaries.”
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