Quantcast

Naomi Klein: Tony Abbott Is a Climate Change 'Villain'

Climate

In a pair of interviews given ahead of her upcoming visit to Australia, author and activist Naomi Klein branded Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a climate change "villain" and said that Canadians and Australians can relate because they are both run by governments bent on destroying the planet.

"In Canada I can’t tell where the oil industry ends and the government begins and in Australia the same is true when it comes to coal," she told Guardian Australia in an interview published Sunday.

Author and activist Naomi Klein will be making her first trip to Australia in 14 years to speak at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Aug. 29 and Aug. 30 before headlining Sydney's Festival of Dangerous Ideas on Sept. 5. Photo credit: Naomiklein.org

Klein will be making her first trip to Australia in 14 years to speak at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Aug. 29 and Aug. 30 before headlining Sydney's Festival of Dangerous Ideas on Sept. 5.

Both the governments of Australia and Canada have been lambasted by environmentalists for being distinctly pro-fossil fuel amid ever-increasing awareness about the dangers of carbon emissions. With the upcoming Canadian elections, Klein says there is hope that things will change in her country. "If that happens, Australia will be isolated as a climate villain," she said.

She added that Abbott's climate record is "particularly shocking" given that "Australia is very much on the frontline of climate change. Also, being a Pacific nation, your closest neighbors are facing a truly existential threat. So I find it even more shocking that Australia is a hotbed of climate denial."

Her comments come just one week after Abbott unveiled his plan to reduce carbon emissions 26-28 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, which many blasted as being insufficient to reach the 2°C warming threshold.

Klein further expanded on this idea in an interview with Australia's Fairfax Media published Monday, providing a glimpse of the themes she expects to touch upon during her speaking trip.

Read page 1

Climate denial, she said, is pervasive in English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the UK because of a "colonial settler mentality."

"Countries founded on a powerful frontier mentality have this idea of limitless nature than can be endlessly extracted," she said. "Climate change is threatening to that because there are limits and you have to respect those limits. Where that frontier narrative is strongest is where denialism is strongest."

In her recently published book This Changes Everything, Klein connects the pending climate crisis with the failures of neoliberalism and argues that governments have fundamentally failed to deal with these global issues, leaving it up to grassroots movements to demand real action.

In her interview with Fairfax, Klein spoke to these connections:

The argument that I am making is that we are facing multiple, overlapping crises and they have their roots in the same system, the same logic. We are facing an equality crisis and that inequality very sharply followed racial lines. We have an unemployment crisis. We have a really unstable economic system, that is getting more and more unstable and I think everybody is waiting for the next crash. And the logic that has produced that, the reliance on short term profits above all else, no matter the cost, is the same logic that is producing the climate crisis. So I am arguing that if we want to respond to the climate crisis in a way that actually that produces a more stable system, we have this once in a century opportunity to get at the roots causes of all these crises. These issues are interconnected and if we don't see those connections we are going to produce a much more unequal world in the face of the climate crisis.

Countering the idea that she peddles "dangerous ideas," she replied, "Are they? I think they are safe ... I think Tony Abbott has the real dangerous ideas."

Laughing, she added: "I am all about safety. I am about safety for the people and the planet. I am sorry to disappoint you all with my safety."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

President Obama, Are You a Climate Champion or a Climate Hypocrite?

4 Surprising Countries That Give You Hope for Climate Action

How to Prevent Worldwide Climate Catastrophe

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage in Connecticut. Dannel Malloy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.

Read More Show Less
Giant sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park, California. lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.

Read More Show Less
Vera_Petrunina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Wudan Yan

In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."

Read More Show Less
Volunteer caucasian woman giving grain to starving African children. Bartosz Hadyniak / E+ / Getty Images

By Frances Moore Lappé

Food will be scarce, expensive and less nutritious," CNN warns us in its coverage of the UN's new "Climate Change and Land" report. The New York Times announces that "Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
British Airways 757. Jon Osborne / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Vaughan

Two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change, polling has found.

Read More Show Less
Climate Week NYC

On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.

Read More Show Less

By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans

Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.

Read More Show Less