April 3, 2012

Chomsky on Climate Change and Nixonian Environmentalism

Noam Chomsky interview, on Slate:

"Sticking with social and political change, what is going on with climate-change denial in the United States?"

"The Republican party now has its catechism of things you have to repeat in lockstep, kind of like the old Communist party. One of them is denying climate change."

"Why is it happening?"

"It happens that there's a huge propaganda offensive carried out by the major business lobbies, the energy associations, and so on. It's no secret, they're trying to convince people that the science is unreliable, that it's a liberal hoax. Those who want to be funded by business and energy associations and so on might be led into repeating this catechism. Or maybe they actually believe it.

"The Republican-dominated House of Representatives is now dismantling measures of control over environmental destruction that were instituted by Richard Nixon. That shows you how far to the right they have gone. Today Nixon would be a flaming radical and Dwight D. Eisenhower would be off the spectrum. Even Ronald Reagan would be on the left somewhere. These are interesting, important things happening in the richest and most powerful country in the world that we should be very much concerned about."

Climate change denial is simply greed writ large. Acknowledging that the climate is changing - and it is (that proof is incontrovertible) - means that business models will need to be changed and profits will almost certainly go down (at least in the short run). But these changes will need to be made anyway, if only because of the dwindling reserves of non-renewable energy sources, like oil, so it would be best to make the changes now. Companies would rather be reactionary, though, instead of obtaining the first mover advantages they could get for the future.

Read the full interview here: Everything Was a Problem and We Did Not Understand a Thing