Naomi Klein attempts to discuss climate change in a political context in her 2014 book, “This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate.” She claims that the “model of fast-and-dirty, export-led development” that emerged in many developing nations as the result of globalization has massively led to the 21st century’s massive emissions increase (Klein, 2014, p. 81). She also adds that the interests of the powerful and wealthy elite are aligned with the continuation of this practice and that climate change is being politically suppressed as a result. To resolve the issue, she proposes a grassroots model, where organized groups deter the expansion of fossil fuel companies and promote environmentally friendly methods.
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According to Klein, the profit-driven free-market model that is currently employed worldwide creates pollution because it is overly concerned with the short term. Businesses want to earn money quickly and disregard the potential consequences that happen decades later. Without oversight by governments or other influential bodies, these businesses have no obligation to filter their waste or use natural resources responsibly. As a result, in nations with governing mechanisms that are less powerful or concerned about the environment, businesses pollute freely.
Overall, while the book was likely more convincing during its time, recent events have shown that it may not be applicable in practice. Representatives of the movement proposed by Ms. Klein have been able to attain power due to their grassroots popularity. They have proposed measures such as the Green New Deal, which discredited the movement with their overly ambitious ideas and unnecessary additional clauses. While there may be political and profit-driven motives behind the rejection of global warming, the support movement is possibly similarly compromised. Meanwhile, the free market is making progress toward environmental friendliness due to organic increases in public climate awareness. Combined with the Earth’s history of natural climate change, these factors warrant additional consideration and research regarding the phenomenon.
Klein, N. (2014). This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.