Naomi Klein: Why Climate Change Is So Threatening to Right-Wing Ideologues
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And then, layered on top of that is the fact that many of the "solutions" to climate change—and I put "solutions" in quote—that have been championed by an agenda that accepts the premise that we can’t really ask North Americans, Europeans, to really sacrifice, really change their way of life, our way of life. We can’t be talking about really drastically cutting our emissions here and now. So we have to play shell games, right? We have to have carbon offsets there. We can keep polluting, but we’ll protect a forest in the Congo, or we will have huge agrifuel crops in Africa. And so, all of these solutions are actually deepening the climate crisis in Africa, because people are being displaced from their land, not just because of climate, but because of the solutions to climate change, because they’re losing access to forests, which are used for subsistence agriculture, they’re losing access to land that had been farmed for food and is now being farmed for fuel. And so, the sort of unofficial theme of the World Social Forum, it came up in many of the seminars—
AMY GOODMAN: And this is a gathering of thousands of people—
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, 40,000 people.
AMY GOODMAN:—that sort of moves each year, and this year it was in Senegal.
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, this year it was in Senegal. And it was global, it was international, but most of the people were from across Africa. And the theme that came up again and again was "the new scramble for Africa, the new scramble for Africa." And this, a lot of it, had to do with these so-called "solutions" to climate change—the agrifuels, the REDD—I mean, not to get too technical, but you’ve talked about this on the show, which is the forest protection plan, the U.N. forest protection plan, which is very controversial in Africa, because people—like I said, people are losing access to forests, which they are using for subsistence, and also because it’s not—forests are being protected instead of cutting emissions in the North. And that’s not seen as a solution to climate change in Africa, because it doesn’t get at the core of the issue.
AMY GOODMAN: So, you have climate change. We also have the issue of the incredible environmental disaster that was BP. You just wrote a piece in The Nation, "The Search for BP’s Oil."
NAOMI KLEIN: This is related, in that we often hear, "Well, we’re not doing anything about climate change. It’s just business as usual." But it’s not true that it’s just business as usual, because we are now in the era of extreme energy. The easy-to-get fossil fuels have pretty much been gotten, and now it’s the harder-to-get stuff, the more-expensive-to-get stuff and the riskier stuff. And that means deepwater drilling, which puts whole ecologies at risk, as we’ve seen on the Gulf Coast. And it means the tar sands in Canada. There’s a proposal to have a tar sands project in Utah. It means fracking for natural gas, and you’ve covered that a lot on the show. I mean, these are methods that are a lot riskier, and it’s affecting many, many more people. And so, I think we need to get away from this idea that we’re just going on as we’ve always gone on. No, we aren’t. If we don’t get off fossil fuels, we are accepting a much, much higher-risk energy trajectory.
And we need to really be aware of this, because with the oil prices increasing, now we’re already starting to get the "drill here, drill now" chorus reemerging, the energy security line that, you know, the real problem is the dependence on fossil fuels—not the dependence on fossil fuels, period—that’s the real problem—but the dependence on foreign fossil fuels. And now this oil shock, the shocking oil prices are being used to push more aggressively for opening up Anwar, for more offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. And if we’re not careful, this crisis will be used to push for some disastrous resource policies.