CD editor's note: The following conversation between Naomi Klein and May Boeve took place as an online webinar hosted by 350.org last week in advance of the upcoming Global Divestment Day(s), taking place on February 13 and 14, during which individuals and institutions from around the world will take action and urge others "do what is necessary for climate action by divesting from fossil fuels."
Actually, it seems to me that when the call is for grassroots engagement on the premise of loving the land where you live, you are talking about coalitions that engage on issues, not from 'right-left' silos. Part of that is shifting balances from supply side to demand side awareness and policy. The latter is in the process of occurring as we seem to have hit 'peak' supply side extraction/externalization/financial fraud/austerity/waste/pollution etcetera.
"Carbon taxes should be 100% returned to private citizens with no share for government of corporations."
That strikes me as a supply-side framing that doesn't yet realize it is a supply side framing. For example: shall we turn to the prison industrial complex for slave labor to rebuild infrastructure in order to keep "government" small ? Now, what happens when these are envisioned from a demand side framing?
The uncounted costs that continually aggregate (environmental - think today BP 10 mil. gal at the bottom of the Gulf) and the list not even yet tabulated for future generations...
I completely diagree with the idea that carbon taxes are equitable or desireable at all. The idea behind a carbon tax is that the use of fossil fuel generates irreversible damages to the environment, but if you have enough dollars to afford it then you are free to pollute. This is yet another way to enlarge the already large enough gulf between the rich and the poor, to promote inequality.
The 99% have to behave while the 1% can go on with their crazy lifestyle (and do things like skiing in the desert or commuting on gaz guzzlers) and gain further advantage on the masses.
I do not see how a similar proposal can be ethically consistent with the ideals that Ms Klein is advocating.
If the consumption of fossil fuel is the problem (and it is) the solution should be, for instance, to impose new efficiency standards and outlaw, in 5 years from now, any technology which is less efficient than the most efficient technology in use today, possibly with a tolerance of -10% (e.g., if the most efficent truck today runs 50 miles on a gallon than this would be the new standard for all). Then do the same 5 years later, then redo again and again. This is how you can create the right incentives and realistcally expect to reach the reduction targets.
One of the main reasons for AGW amelioration inaction is the irresponsible misrepresentation of AGW in mass media. Corporate ownership and control of MSM has purposely cultivated inaction by publishing misinformation, distorted scientific reports and slandered/defamed scientists discredit their findings.
"..A leading Canadian climate scientist and current B.C. MLA has been awarded $50,000 in a defamation suit against The National Post newspaper. Andrew Weaver sued the Post over four articles published between December 2009 and February 2010. He alleged that the stories aimed to destroy his international reputation...."
see Huffington Post 2015/02/06 Andrew-Weaver-National-Post-Defamation
Scientists should sue media organisations more often - monetary penalty is a language even the most rabid corporatist deniers understand.
AGW science is very robust and verifiable information is readily available to any person or organisation who seeks the truth.
Our children's future is at stake here, AGW denialism has real consequences that will be paid in the blood, sweat, tears and lives of generations to come.
If any philanthropist was looking for a worthy cause to support, they could not find a more rewarding investment than contributing to a 'scientific truth defence fund' that could be accessed by climate scientists to fight factual misrepresentation and personal defamation by mainstream media corporations.
Further to the above para, grassroots people power can be harnessed here; if people were to amend their will to leave funds to a statuary 'perpetual scientific truth defence trust' for the sole purpose of defending malicious misleading media attacks on scientists/scientific reports on AGW.
Such bequests would have far reaching, everlasting future benefits for humans, wildlife and the environment - potentially doing more long-lasting good than all the religious/dog/cat conservation societies that are popular current recipients of estate bequests.
Is there anyone out there who could create/promote such a most worthy and rewarding cause?
Two points. The use of the term 'renewable' energy is common but misleading. Every energy is supplied by systems made of irreplaceable materials that irrevocably age. That is an unsustainable process.
Secondly, prominent people may make decisions about reducing the rate of usage of fossil fuels but implementing those decisions means major changes to the operation of technological systems coupled with decisions by the majority of the population. Shutting down the coal-fired power stations,stopping the manufacture of cars, airliners and container ships and numerous other operations that use fossil fuels cannot possibly happen quickly even if there were a consensus view in the population for that need.Constructing 'renewable' energy systems in replacement would be just as infeasible, especially as that construction would use fossil fuels.
"Obviously, these companies cannot burn five times more carbon than the atmosphere can observe, so obviously these are going to become stranded assets."
There's a misunderstanding in the transcript; I think "observe" is supposed to be "absorb"
Cap personal wealth by yearly referendum to fulfill the major wishes of the 99%.
Maybe the European Union still has government of by and for ordinary citizens. The United States is fascist state with government of by and for too big to fail international corporations in all industries. Exxon Mobil is the largest corporation in any industry any nation in whole world and squarely in fossil fuel industry. There is much overlap between too big to fail firms and fossil fuel firms. In United States, only way a carbon tax can fly is if ALL revenue ends in pockets of TOO BIG TO FAIL firms--some in Military Industrial Complex to buy parts for a national smart electric grid including lots of energy storage and wind turbines and solar power systems and above ground parts of geothermal systems, but mostly to buy fossil fuel reserves as mineral rights from TOO BIG TO FAIL fossil fuel firms. We still need R&D for a renewable replacement for liquid petroleum products for transportation--maybe Joule Unlimited 's products will do. Gas and oil firms will be glad to drill and frack under ground parts of geothermal systems. Equipment bought from Military Industrial Complex must be sold to utilities with direct financing 30-year mortgages and mortgage payments split 56% for buying fossil fuel reserves and 44% to reinvest in more equipment bought from Military Industrial Complex to sell to utilities with direct financing.