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

Yulia Lisitsa / iStock / Getty Images

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many people follow the lacto-vegetarian diet for its flexibility and health benefits.

Read More Show Less

By Jared Kaufman

Eating a better diet has been linked with lower levels of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately 821 million people — about 1 in 9 worldwide — face hunger, and roughly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. In addition, food insecurity is associated with even higher health care costs in the U.S., particularly among older people. To help direct worldwide focus toward solving these issues, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition by 2030.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Healthline

Made from the freshly sprouted leaves of Triticum aestivum, wheatgrass is known for its nutrient-dense and powerful antioxidant properties.

Read More Show Less

mevans / E+ / Getty Images

The federal agency that manages the Great Barrier Reef issued an unprecedented statement that broke ranks with Australia's conservative government and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.

Read More Show Less
U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report that last month was the hottest June on record. Angelo Juan Ramos / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.

Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.

Read More Show Less