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This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein - Green Socialist Revolution ASAP

By Dr Gideon Polya

11 December, 2014

Naomi Klein's important new book “This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” [1] sets out the dire state of the planet due to neoliberal-driven, man-made climate change. Her very well written but lengthy book is an indignant catalogue of the machinations of the Big Polluters and their Big Green collaborators, and concludes with the faint hope of a Revolution “when societies suddenly decide they have had enough” ([1], page 464). However before the societal tipping point is reached for Naomi Klein's Green Revolution, science-informed people must urge and apply comprehensive Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the terracidal politicians, parties, countries and corporations that are destroying a decent future.

Naomi Klein (born 8 May 1970) is an anti-racist Jewish Canadian author and social activist who is very well known for her criticism of corporate globalization, man-made climate change and human rights abuse, She is the author of “No Logo” and “The Shock Doctrine” [2]. Naomi Klein is a trenchant critic of the genocidal policies of Apartheid Israel, famously stating “There is a debate among Jews - I'm a Jew by the way. The debate boils down to the question: "Never again to everyone, or never again to us?... [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card...There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that say[s], “Never again to anyone.””, and advocating Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel: “It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa” [3].

Of course exactly the same anti-racism and anti-genocide notions and actions should apply to the worsening Climate Genocide in which currently an estimated 5 million people die annually from climate change (0.5 million) or from carbon burning (4.5 million) [4]. Currently about 17 million people die avoidably every year from deprivation [5] but top climate scientists have estimated that only about 0.5 billion people will survive this century if man-made climate change is not properly addressed, this amounting to a Climate Genocide this century of about 10 billion people and an average annual avoidable death rate of 100 million per year [6]. Avoidable death (avoidable mortality, excess death, excess mortality, deaths that need not happen) is the bottom-line in any discussion of social options but this fundamental quantitative consideration is absent from “This changes everything”, possibly because my heroine Naomi Klein is an economics writer and not a scientist. However Naomi Klein at least indicates that we are heading in the right intellectual and moral direction: “The climate movement has yet to find its full moral voice on the world's stage, but it is now certainly clearing its throat – beginning to put the very real thefts and torments that ineluctably flow from the decision to mock international climate commitments alongside history's most damned crimes” ([1], page 464).

Before making a detailed review of “This Changes Everything” by non-scientist Naomi Klein, it is useful to provide a succinct, science-based and quantitative summary of the current Climate Crisis and what needs to be done to address man-made global warming.

(a) The World is badly running out of time to deal with man-made climate change brought about by the introduction of greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) – into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. As discovered by UK chemist John Tyndall in the mid-19th century, greenhouse gases (GHGs) like CO2 absorb radiation with a consequent warming. There is 700- 750 GtC (billions of tonnes of carbon, C) in the atmosphere (mostly as 750 x 3.67 Gt CO2 / GtC = circa 2,800 Gt CO2 ) with about half, 1,400 Gt CO2 , due to historical fossil fuel combustion). There is about 700 GtC in biomass (mostly wood), 1,600 GtC in soil, and 36,000 GtC in ocean as bicarbonate ion (HCO3-) There is no net CO2 from vulcanism and weathering (on a time scale of less than 100,000 years) [7].

(b) There is a huge terrestrial and ocean fixing of CO2 by photosynthetic organisms (plants) as carbohydrate (mainly cellulose) but nearly all of this is returned to the atmosphere as CO2 through re-oxidation by living organisms or fire (the Carbon Cycle). Terrestrial carbon fixation of 121.3 GtC/y x 3.67 Gt CO2 / GtC = 445 Gt CO2 of which about half returns annually to the atmosphere through plant and animal respiration and most of the remaining half returns to the air through the action of soil fungi and bacteria. About 2 Gt C (7 Gt CO2) ends up stored as soil carbon or cellulosic biomass (wood). Net terrestrial biome production of fixed CO2 is 0.7 GtC/year (2.6 Gt CO2/year) . Ocean photosynthesis (prokaryotic cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae) fixes 50 GtC /year (184 Gt CO2/year) of which all but circa 2 Gt C is thence re-oxidized back to CO2 [7].

(c ) The term CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) measures all GHGs in terms of their CO2 equivalent but this depends upon the value of the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of each gas. Thus World Bank analysts have recently re-assessed annual man-made (anthropogenic) global GHG pollution as 64 Gt CO2-e (17.4 GtC), about 50% bigger than the 42 Gt CO2-e (11.4 GtC) hitherto thought and that the livestock contribution is over 51% of the bigger figure [8]. A major element in this re-assessment was that it considered a GWP for CH4 on 20 year time frame of 72 ( as compared to 21 on a 100 year time frame), noting that the CH4 GWP on a 20 year time frame with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times greater than that of CO2.

(d) The international consensus-based latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014)[9] argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2 degrees C through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm (parts per million) CO2-equivalent but hard evidence says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2-equivalent (CO2-e), that 2C is dangerous and essentially inevitable (leading to a Pliocene-like sea level rise of 25 meters at equilibrium), and that the world will use up its 600 Gt CO2 Carbon Budget for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2C rise within about 4 years [10]. On the basis of their annual Domestic GHG pollution both Australia and Canada exceeded their “fair share” of the World's' Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget in 2013 and in terms of its Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution Australia exceeded its “fair share” in 2011. The US used up its “fair share” in 2014 [11].

(e) The atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is now 400 parts per million (ppm) and increasing at over 2ppm per year. Until recently the atmospheric CO2 concentration was in the range of 180-300 ppm for the last 800,000 years, fluctuations in this range giving rise to successive glacial and inter-glacial periods that imposed selection pressures upon evolving humanity. The average surface temperature is now +0.8C above that in 1900 and this has already been associated with major climate, weather and biological disruptions. Indeed the species extinction rate is now 100-1,000 timers greater than normal. Basically we know what the problem is (man-made GHG pollution) and how to solve it. Fundamentally, as enunciated by 300.org, we need to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration to about 300 ppm for a safe planet for all peoples and all species [12]. Naomi Klein is on the board of directors of the otherwise laudable 350.org that urges a 350 ppm CO2 target but numerous climate scientists and biologist and science-informed activists demand a circa 300 ppm CO2 target to stop mass species extinction, to stop the loss of coral that commenced at 320 ppm CO2 and to restore and sustain Arctic summer sea ice [13].

(f) To achieve 300 ppm CO2 ASAP we must achieve (1) a change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management and biological sustainability with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying; (2) an urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists; and (3) a rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon to soils as biochar (from anaerobic pyrolysis of cellulosic waste) and to the oceans as bicarbonate (from reaction of CO2 with carbonate from limestone through Accelerated Weathering of Limestone, AWL), with all of this coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth [12].

(g) To illustrate the scale of the problem facing the world, Carbon Tracker reports: “ Between 60-80% of coal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed companies are ‘unburnable' if the world is to have a chance of not exceeding global warming of 2C. The total coal, oil and gas reserves listed on the world's stock exchanges equals 762 GtCO2 – approximately a quarter of the world's total reserves [i.e. of 4 x 762 Gt CO2 =3,048 Gt CO2]” [14, 15]. Furthermore, Professor Peter Wadhams of 90-Nobel-Laureate University Cambridge says that the Arctic Summer Sea Ice “is now on the point of collapse” and that 50 Gt C as methane (CH4) (i.e. 50 Gt C x 105 Gt CO2-e/ Gt C = 5,250 Gt CO2-e) will be released from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf in coming decades [12] . This means that the world's terminal Carbon Budget of 600 Gt CO2 that must not be exceeded for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise will be exceeded by (a) 762 Gt CO2 of stock exchange-listed fossil fuel reserves, (b) 3,048 Gt CO2 of total fossil fuel reserves, and (c) 5,250 Gt CO2-e from methane release in the Arctic in coming decades.

Below is a succinct summary of Naomi Klein's “This changes everything” [with my comments informed by (a) to (g) above appended in square brackets]:

Introduction. “One way or another, everything changes”. In her Introduction Naomi Klein summarizes the seriousness of our predicament and the need for rapid and radical change to our economic system: “Indeed emissions are rising so rapidly that unless something radical changes within our economic structure, 2 degrees now looks like a utopian dream… Can we pull it off? All I know is that nothing is inevitable . Nothing except that climate change changes everything . And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us” ([1], pages 13 and 28). Buried in Naomi Klein's 566 page tome is the key reality that “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” ([1}, page 18). [ While there's life there's hope but that hope is fragile because of evidence that 2C is inevitable (see (d) above) and the huge predicted exceedances of the world's terrninal Carbon Budget for a 75% probability of avoiding a 2C temperature rise (see (g) above). The Western democracies instead of having “one person one vote” have eroded to “one dollar one vote” Plutocracies, Murdochracies , Lobbyocracies and Cotporatocraces in which One Percenter Big Money purchases people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality, votes and political power].

Chapter 1. “The Right is right. The revolutionary power of climate change”. Klein observes that “Many deniers are quite open about the fact that their distrust of the science grew out of the powerful fear that if climate change is real, the political implications would be catastrophic … I think these hard-core ideologues understand the real significance of climate change better than most of the “warmists” in the political center , the ones who are still insisting that the response can be gradual and painless and that we don't need to go to war with anybody, including the fossil fuel companies… the real reason we are failing to rise to the climate moment is because the actions required directly challenge our reigning economic paradigm (deregulated capitalism combined with public austerity)… [and] spell extinction for the richest and most powerful industry the world has ever known – the oil and gas industry)” ([1], pages 42, 43 and 63). [Naomi Klein is correct. Politicians who recognize the problem but who refuse to take requisite urgent action are effective climate change deniers. Indeed as summarized in (c) above, Naomi Klein's own 350.org for all its numerous merits ignores the reality that 350 ppm CO2 is insufficient and that 300 ppm CO2 is the correct target for a safe planet for all peoples and all species].

Chapter 2. “Hot Money. How free market fundamentalism helped over heat the planet”. Naomi Klein describes the world-wide triumph in recent decades of neoliberalism that demands maximal freedom for the smart and advantaged to exploit the world's human, biological and physical resources. [Melbourne philosopher Professor Brain Ellis in his book “Social Humanism. A New Metaphysics” has argued for an alternative to greedy and destructive neoliberalism, namely a humanity- and environment-respecting, social democratic social humanism or democratic socialism that involves evolving national and global contracts for maximizing human happiness and opportunity. Due to rampant neoliberalism the top One Percent own about half the world's wealth and the bottom 50% own about 1%. This obscene maldistribution has perverted democracy and is associated with 17 million deaths from deprivation each year [5] with the looming and worsening prospect of a 10 billion victim climate genocide this century [6]].

Chapter 3. “Public and paid for: overcoming ideological blocks in the next economy”. Naomi Klein argues for a bottom-up, locally-controlled, public interest, renewable energy sector (as now occurring in Germany) as opposed to the current One Percenter-controlled, dirty energy that is killing the planet. This transformation would be paid for by making polluters pay and through the abolition of corrupt fossil fuel subsidies. [However this ideal for the collective and environmental good requires a return to Democracy from the current Big Money-run Corporatocracy underpinned by massive Mainstream media lying].

Chapter 4. “Planning and banning: slapping the invisible hand, building a movement”. Naomi Klein sadly comments that “Free market ideology continues to suffocate the potential for climate action” ([1], page120) and describes how just at the time when both the economic crisis and Nature are warning us to adopt a rational system, greedy neoliberalism-driven One Percenter interests demand more of the same. [One could envisage popularly-driven change in the First World when too many First Worlders start dying. Thus the First World is still committed to greedy neoliberalism and suicidal GHG pollution as 17 million die avoidably from deprivation each year in the Developing World [5], 5 million from climate change or carbon burning pollution [4]. However when, for example, the appalling reality of 1.5 million American preventable deaths annually [16] finally gets through the Mainstream Media Wall of Silence, then there is some hope that the long-suffering American people will start to demand action, notably disempowerment of the greedy, merciless and traitorous One Percenters].

Chapter 5. “Beyond extractivism: confronting the denier within”. Naomi Klein details the case of the Pacific Island nation of Nauru as an example of rapacious extractivism in which nearly a century of phosphate mining for Australia left a moonscape and a tiny country that now earns money from overseas investments and by hosting appalling Australian concentration camps for refugees. Naomi Klein cites Rachel Carson's seminal early 1960s book “Silent Spring” and the early 1970s “The Limits to Growth” of the Club of Rome as critiques of thoughtless and non-sustainable exploitation of Nature. Man-made global warming from using the atmosphere and oceans as an industrial sewer now threatens Humanity and the Biosphere. Naomi Klein comments: “The Earth's capacity to absorb the filthy byproducts of global capitalism's voracious metabolism is maxing out” ([1], page 186). [A classic work detailing unsustainable exploitation is Jared Diamond's book “Collapse” [17] but this was not quoted by Naomi Klein].

Chapter 6. “Fruits not roots: the disastrous merger of Big Business and Big Green”. Naomi Klein gives the example of The Nature Conservancy “renowned for buying up ecologically important tracts of land and turning them into preserves” ([1], p192) buying up a huge tract of Texas from oil giant Mobil (now ExxonMobil) to preserve Attwater's prairie chicken. Unfortunately, The Nature Conservancy eventually started drilling for oil and gas itself on the land which now contains no Attwater's prairie chickens. Naomi Klein comments “The “market-based” climate solutions favored by so many large foundations and adopted by many greens have provided an invaluable service to the fossil fuel sector as a whole”. ([1], page 199). The moral compromise arises from funding by Big Business [Many examples can be given of typically well-funded Green groups being compromised and insufficiently “strong” (i.e. being “green-lite” ), this resulting in dangerous and counterproductive policies such as support for the disastrous coal-to-gas transition that locks in GHG pollution for decades (yet because methane can have a GWP 105 times greater than that of CO2, depending on the rate of gas leakage, gas burning can be dirtier GHG-wise than coal burning [18]) and support for fraudulent :market-based” cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme (ETS) approaches (that have been empirically unsuccessful, are accordingly counterproductive, invite gross market manipulation, and are utterly fraudulent in that they involve particular governments selling licence to pollute the one common atmosphere and ocean of all nations. In contrast, a transparent Carbon Tax on GHG pollution is an unambiguous way of making polluters pay for polluting the Earth and ending an effective $10 trillion per year subsidy or Carbon Debt for GHG pollution [19, 20]].

Chapter 7. “No messiahs: the Green Billionaires won't save us”. Naomi Klein describes how multi-billionaires and major GHG polluters have backed climate action schemes that avoid the clear imperative of cessation of GHG pollution. Thus Richard Branson backed biofuel (that contrary to industry propaganda carries a huge Carbon Debt), Warren Buffett made green noises but remains a major polluter, and Michael Bloomberg has backed a coal-to-gas transition (that is disastrously counterproductive). An insidious aspect explored in Chapter 6 is Big Money funding Big Green with a consequent “softening” of the Green agenda. A serious trend is Big Money (e.g. Bill Gates) and Big Polluter (e.g. Richard Branson) backing of “carbon sucking machines” as alternatives to the obvious imperative of cessation of GHG pollution. [In the West we have a situation of Big Polluter, Big Money, and Big Money-funded Big Green versus poorly-funded, science-informed Greens who back the clear imperatives of ceasing and reversing GHG pollution as set out in (f) above. Indeed even Naomi Klein's own well-funded and laudable 350.org organization ignores the reality that 350 ppm CO2 is insufficiently low and that 300 ppm CO2 is the correct atmospheric target for a safe planet for all peoples and all species. Further, non-scientist Naomi Klein incorrectly dismisses biochar as “controversial on a mass scale” ([1], page 245) and doesn't even mention trapping CO2 as bicarbonate through Accelerated Weathering of Limestone (AWL) even though these are the 2 major, established, workable means of actually reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm CO2 or, as required, to 300 ppm CO2 [7] ].

Chapter 8. “Dimming the sun: the solution to pollution is… pollution?” Naomi Klein provides an overview of growing corporate and scientific enthusiasm for geo-engineering as a “solution” to man-made global warming. Naomi Klein sensibly points out the key problem with, for example, global dimming through injecting sulphur dioxide (SO2) into the stratosphere and consequent formation of light-reflecting aerosols – if the global dimming geo-engineering system fails or has to be switched off because of unpredicted dangerous consequences (e.g. mass starvation due to monsoon failure) there will be an enormous increase in warming due to unaddressed accumulated CO2. [Clive Hamilton's negative attitude to geo-engineering is described by Naomi Klein as “most provocative” ([1], page 264) but his carefully argued book “Earth Masters. Playing God with the climate” [21] (praised by Naomi Klein on its back cover) is a cogent demolition of geo-engineering. Of course Big Polluters are already geo-engineering the world by increasing atmospheric CO2 (now 400 ppm CO2 as compared to the pre-Industrial Revolution 280 ppm CO2). Clive Hamilton makes the surprising point that Big Polluters are paradoxically becoming major backers not just of climate change denialism but also of geo-engineering (there are Big Bucks to be made either way by neoliberal climate criminals. Clive Hamilton contrasts the Promethians (after Prometheus, the Greek deity for technological mastery) and the Soterians (after Soteria, the Greek goddess for safety, preservation and deliverance from harm) i.e. in Naomi Klein's parlance the “extractivists” versus the “environmentalists” ].

Chapter 9. “Blockadia: the new climate warriors”. Naomi Klein outlines resolute and unyielding opposition around the world to despoilation of land by oil, coal and gas extraction, giving examples of communities in Canada, the US, France, Greece, Romania, Australia, Nigeria, and Ecuador. Naomi Klein: “The fossil fuel companies, in short, are no longer dealing with these Big Green groups that can be silenced with a generous donation or a conscience-clearing carbon offset program. The communities they are facing are, for the most part, not looking to negotiate a better deal – whether in the form of local jobs, higher royalties, or better safety standards. More and more these communities are simply saying “No.” No to the pipeline. No to Arctic drilling. No to the coal and oil trains. No to the heavy hauls. No to the export terminal. No to fracking. And not just “Not in My Back-Yard” but as the French anti-fracking activist say, “Ni ici, ni ailleurs” – neither here, nor elsewhere. In other words, no new carbon frontiers” ([1], page 335). [Whether rape of women or rape of the environment, “No” means “No”].

Chapter 10. “Love will save this planet: democracy, divestment, and the wins so far”. Naomi Klein recounts how communities around the world are resisting despoliation of their environment and water supply by fossil fuel extraction. Naomi Klein : “So often these battles seem to come to this stark choice: water vs. gas. Water vs. oil;. Water vs. coal. In fact, what has emerged in the movement against extreme extraction is less an anti-fossil fuels movement than a pro-water movement” ([1], page 344). Naomi Klein encapsulates the Divestment movement: “The divestment campaign is based on the idea – outlined so compellingly by Bill McKibben [of 350.org] – that anyone with a basic grasp of arithmetic can look at how much carbon the fossil fuel companies have in their reserves, subtract how much carbon scientists tell us we can emit and still keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, and conclude that the fossil fuel companies have every intention of pushing the planet beyond the boiling point” ([1], pages 353-354). [The point is powerfully made but of course the scientists are expressing this in probabilistic terms e.g. a 600 Gt CO2 Carbon Budget that must not be exceeded for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise ([7]; see (d) and (g) above). Thus. the using the IPCC data-based Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator [22] we find that the Exceedance Probability for a 2C temperature rise with an equilibrium greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration of 450 ppm CO2-eq is 58.4% , and that if this were the annual probability of fatal flight accidents there would be 17,520,000 fatal flight accidents per year instead of 30 per year (the atmospheric GHG concentration in 2013 was 478 ppm CO2-e [23]). For details of successful Divestment campaigns see “Divest from fossil fuels” [15] ].

Chapter 11. You and what army? Indigenous Rights and the power of keeping our word”. In this fascinating chapter Naomi Klein points to the legal power of Treaties between the Indigenous Peoples of North America and the Anglo invaders and suggests that a combination of Indigenous Treaty Rights to enjoy an unpolluted hunting environment and non-Indigenous money and legal expertise may halt devastation by fossil fuel companies. However Naomi Klein points out that “ the call to Honour the Treaties needs to go a whole lot further than raising money for legal battlers. Non-Natives will have to become the treaty and land-sharing partners that our ancestors failed to be, making good on the full panoply of promises they made, from providing health care and education to creating economic opportunities that do not jeopardize the right to engage in traditional ways of life” )[1], page 387). [The Big Polluters are violating Indigenous lands in Australia where there are no Treaties and scant protection from miners, drillers and frackers through limited and circumscribed successful Indigenous Land Rights claims [24]].

Chapter 12. “Sharing the sky: the atmospheric commons and the power of paying our debts”. Naomi Klein discusses the concept of “Climate Debt” that recognizes the differential historical contribution of various countries to atmospheric GHG pollution and consequent differential moral and legal obligation [noting that the half-life for CO2 in the atmosphere is about 100 years] : “Developed countries, which represent less than 20 percent of the world's population, have emitted almost 70 percent of all the greenhouse gas pollution that is now destabilizing the climate” ([1], page 409). [Unfortunately, the climate criminal and effective climate change denialist government of Australia, a world leader in annual per capita GHG pollution and recently named as the worst-performing industrial country on climate change, ignores these notions of Climate Debt and per capita accountability, and on this basis is trying to sabotage the Lima Climate Change Conference just as previous Australian governments have helped sabotage all previous climate change conferences. An alternative expression of Climate Debt is Carbon Debt. Dr Chris Hope from 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University has estimated a damage-related Carbon Price for effective climate change action of $150 per tonne CO2-equivalent. The US already has a 1751-2006 Historical Carbon Debt of 92.12 GtC or 92.12 Gt C x (3.67 Gt CO2-e/Gt C) = 338.0 Gt CO2-e . To this we can add 8 years x 10.3 Gt CO2-e /year = 82.4 Gt CO2-e to give a total US Carbon Debt of 338.0 + 82.4 = 420.4 Gt CO2-e, this corresponding to a Carbon Debt of 420.4 Gt CO2-e x $150/t CO2-e = $63,060 billion. The $3 billion Obama is offering to the Developing World for the Green Climate Fund is a derisory $3 billion x100/ $63,060 billion = 0.005% of the American Carbon Debt and $3 billion x100/ $1,545 billion =. 0.2% of the annual increase in the US Carbon Debt. The inescapable Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet for all peoples and all species - by reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration from the current dangerous and deadly 400 ppm CO2 to the previous safe 300 ppm CO2 maximum for the pre-Industrial Revolution last 1 million years - is now 1,400 Gt CO2 x $150 per tonne CO2 = $210 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year [19]. This Carbon Debt must be repaid – individuals can go bankrupt but not Humanity as a whole. Thus, for example, if future sea walls are not constructed then towns, cities and indeed whole countries will be flooded].

Chapter 13. “The right to regenerate: moving from extraction to renewal”. In this penultimate chapter Naomi Klein takes us on a very moving personal journey in relation to her first child and the impact of industrial pollution on reproduction in wild nature (shades of Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring”): “Becoming a mother in an age of extinction brought the climate crisis into my heart in a new way… from here on, when we take, we must not only give back, but we must also take care” ” ([1], pages 419 and 448). [I became a committed environmentalist after reading Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring” as a Zoology and Chemistry undergraduate student at the University of Tasmania, an Australian island state of great beauty and ecological diversity where there is a passionate divide between committed exploiters of nature (neoliberal, Promethean “extractivists”) and the Soterian environmentalists who resolutely oppose the irreversible destruction of species and ecosystems on the basis that you cannot destroy what you cannot replace].

Conclusion. “The leap years: just enough time for impossible”. In the conclusion to this huge book, Naomi Klein considers – as all not quite despairing environmentalists do - the time when “societies suddenly decide they have had enough , defying all experts and forecasters”. Naomi Klein concludes “The real question is what progressive forces will make of that moment, the power and confidence with which it will be seized. Because these moments when the impossible seems suddenly possible are excruciatingly rare and precious. That means that more must be made of them. The next time one arises, it must be harnessed not only to denounce the world as it is, and build fleeting pockets of liberated space. It must be the catalyst to actually build the world that will keep us all safe. The stakes are simply too high, and the time too short, to settle for anything less” ([1], page 466). [As we agonize over environmental “tipping points” (already evidently reached in relation to total loss of Arctic summer sea ice in coming years and mass species extinction with a present rate 100-1,000 times greater than normal), we hope that these current tragedies will at some point inform a sociological “tipping point” in which people – and especially young people – will run into the streets and declare “We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore”. My money is on the money – that the key instigator of Naomi Klein's Green Revolution will be the World's Carbon Debt of about $200 trillion that is increasing at $10 trillion per year and which will inescapably have to be paid by young people and future generations. Climate Justice and Intergenerational Equity [19, 20] demand a radical change from terracidal neoliberal capitalism to sustainable economics and achievement of the social humanist ideal [25] of a safe planet for all peoples and all species dictated by a return of the atmosphere to about 300 ppm CO2 [13]].


“This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein is an important book that passionately describes the presently rather one-sided battle between the Big Polluter One Percenters who dominate our “one dollar one vote” Corporatocracies versus the Good Guys, the Soterian environmentalists trying to save Humanity and the Biosphere from a global warming catastrophe that is becoming progressively more and more likely in the absence of effective action.

Naomi Klein concludes with the hope of a “tipping point” for a Green Revolution – hopefully when it is not too late - “when societies suddenly decide they have had enough” ([1], page 464). Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Before that societal tipping point is reached for Naomi Klein's Green Revolution, science-informed people must (a) inform everyone they can about the worsening climate crisis, and (b) urge and apply comprehensive Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the terracidal politicians, parties, countries and corporations that are destroying a decent future for Humanity and what remains of the Earth's Biosphere.


[1]. Naomi Klein, “This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate”, Allen Lane, London 2014.

[2]. “Naomi Klein”, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Klein

[3]. “Jews Against Racist Zionism”: https://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/home .

[4]. DARA, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor. A guide to the cold calculus of a hot planet”, 2012, Executive Summary pp2-3: http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/ .

[5]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, that includes an avoidable mortality-related history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web : http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com.au/ .

[6]. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

[7]. “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

[8]. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?”, World Watch, November/December 2009: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf ) .

[9]. IPCC, “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report, Approved Summary for Policy Makers”, 1 November 2014: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_SPM.pdf .

[10]. Gideon Polya, “International consensus-based IPCC Summary For Policymakers (2014) downplays acute seriousness of Climate Crisis”, Countercurrents, 12 November, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya121114.htm .

[11]. “Years left to zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by country relative to 2010”, Carbon Debt, Carbon Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/years-left .

[12]. “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .

[13]. “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm .

[14]. Carbon Tracker, “Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded asserts”: http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital .

[15]. “Divest from fossil fuels”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/divest-from-fossil-fuels .

[16]. Gideon Polya, “One Percenter greed & war means over 1.5 million Americans die preventably each year”, Countercurrents, 19 September, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya190914.htm .

[17]. Jared Diamond “Collapse”.

[18]. “Gas is not clean energy”: https://sites.google.com/site/gasisnotcleanenergy/ .

[19]. “Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .

[20]. “Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime .

[21]. Clive Hamilton, “Earth Masters. Playing God with the climate”, Yale University Press, 2013.

[22]. Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator: http://global-risk-indicator.net/ .

[23]. Ron Prinn, “400 ppm CO2? Add other GHGs and its equivalent to 478 ppm”, Oceans at MIT, 6 June 2013: http://oceans.mit.edu/featured-stories/5-questions-mits-ron-prinn-400-ppm-threshold .

[24] “Aboriginal Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/aboriginalgenocide/ .

[25]. Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “Social Humanism. By Brian Ellis - Last chance to save Planet?”, Countercurrents, 19 August, 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya190812.htm .

Dr Gideon Polya has been teaching science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/australian-complicity-in-iraq-mass-mortality/3369002#transcript

) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-history/listen-the-bengal-famine ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .






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