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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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Nova Demolishes Klein

Joanne Nova has a really fine essay on Naomi Klein. This is great writing, easily as fluent as Klein herself, only rational. An excerpt:


By building her whole argument on un-scientific quicksand, Klein makes mindless statements that unwittingly apply more to her own arguments than anyone elses. She explores "how the right has systematically used crises-real and trumped up-to push through a brutal ideological agenda designed not to solve the problems that created the crises but rather to enrich elites."


No one uses trumped-up-crises better than the left: Which team is demanding billions to "stop the storms"? And which elites will be enriched? The carbon traders and financiers.


The so-called victims of right-ideologies are theoretical postulates of the future. The victims of the left are here and now. Which brutal ideology fed corn to cars instead of starving Haitian children? Which fantasy-team thinks bat-chopping rotors in Denmark will stop floods in Bangladesh?


Though hopelessly irrational and unpleasant, the Klein essay does have one small political truth in it, namely that the only way we will cut carbon emissions drastically is by dismantling civilisation:


The deniers did not decide that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy by uncovering some covert socialist plot. They arrived at this analysis by taking a hard look at what it would take to lower global emissions as drastically and as rapidly as climate science demands. They have concluded that this can be done only by radically reordering our economic and political systems in ways antithetical to their "free market" belief system. As British blogger and Heartland regular James Delingpole has pointed out, "Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation." Heartland's Bast puts it even more bluntly: For the left, "Climate change is the perfect thing…. It's the reason why we should do everything [the left] wanted to do anyway."


Here's my inconvenient truth: they aren't wrong. ...When it comes to the real-world consequences of those scientific findings, specifically the kind of deep changes required not just to our energy consumption but to the underlying logic of our economic system, the crowd gathered at the Marriott Hotel  [Heartland Conference] may be in considerably less denial than a lot of professional environmentalists, the ones who paint a picture of global warming Armageddon, then assure us that we can avert catastrophe by buying "green" products and creating clever markets in pollution.