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Of the massive, coordinated, ongoing effort by Exxon-Mobil, the Koch brothers, and the Heartland Institute (et al.) to do to climate science what the Tobacco Institute did to cigarette science, Nordhaus and Shellenberger have only this to say, “Some conservatives and fossil-fuel interests questioned the link between carbon emissions and global warming.”
There’s no mention of how under- and mis-educated TV weathermen have been central progenitors of climate change skepticism. There’s no acknowledgement of how Big Coal, Oil and Gas have bought off local and national legislators, stalled attempts to put forward even wimpy programs (like cap and trade), or underwritten NPR’s gushing embrace of fracking.
Who’s driving us toward disaster? A radical answer would be the reliance of capitalists on the extraction and use of fossil energy. Some, however, would rather identify other culprits.
The earth has now, we are told, entered “the Anthropocene”: the epoch of humanity. Enormously popular — and accepted even by many Marxist scholars — the Anthropocene concept suggests that humankind is the new geological force transforming the planet beyond recognition, chiefly by burning prodigious amounts of coal, oil, and natural gas.
In the collection “Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth”, Eddie Yuen takes issue with an “apocalyptic” streak in exactly such articles since they lead to fear and paralysis. A good deal of his article appears to take issue with the sort of analysis developed by Naomi Klein, a bugbear to many convinced of the need to defend “classical” Marxism against fearmongering. Klein is a convenient target but the criticisms could easily apply as well to Mike Davis whose reputation is unimpeachable.
Klein’s latest book has served to focus the debate even more sharply as her critics accuse her of letting capitalism off the hook.