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This Changes Everything

Naomi Klein argues that reducing greenhouse emissions could simultaneously reduce inequality, re-imagine democracies and rebuild our local economies.

Naomi Klein

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn't just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It's an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not — and cannot — fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.

Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift — a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.

Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us. (From Simon & Schuster)

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From the book 

In some cases, governments may successfully defend their emission-reducing activities in trade court. But in too many others, they can be relied upon to cave in early, not wanting to appear anti-free trade. Trade challenges aren't killing renewable energy, but the growth is not happening fast enough. And the legal uncertainty that now surrounds some of the most significant green energy programs in the world is bogging us down at the very moment when science is telling us we need to leap ahead.

To allow arcane trade law, which has been negotiated with scant public scrutiny, to have this kind of power over an issue so critical to humanity's future is a special kind of madness. As Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz puts it, "Should you let a group of foolish lawyers, who put together something before they understood these issues, interfere with saving the planet?"

The greatest tragedy of all is that so much of this was eminently avoidable.


From This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein © 2014. Published by Knopf Canada.

Author interviews

From the Paris Summit to Parliament Hill, climate change is creating a seismic shift in how Canadians think we should deal with the global crisis. Author and activist Naomi Klein warns this is no time for small steps. 53:59
Naomi Klein's new book "This Changes Everything" is a wake-up call about the state of the environment. 43:55

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