The Doom Goblin has come of age, and with maturity (don’t scoff) has come a widening of her political vision. No longer is she merely the teenager who “sees carbon dioxide“, but now she is become the prophet calling for the overthrow of the “whole capitalist system”, with its “colonialism, imperialism, oppression, genocide” of “racist, oppressive extractionism”. Appearing Sunday night at London’s Royal Festival Hall to launch her “Climate Book“, Thunberg announced her new Far Left political manifesto, and Nicholas Harris from UnHerd was there to watch.
Previously, she’d sold herself as a five-foot human alarm bell, a climate Cassandra. Her role was to warn, not to instruct: her most viral moments involved her scolding political leaders, not trying to supplant them. She strenuously avoided programmatic detail, saying such things were “nothing to do with me”. But now, on stage and in this book, she has found her political feet, specifically the Left-wing ideology of anti-capitalism and de-growth.
Interspersed among the usual directives about the need to pressure political leaders, her message was more radical and more militant than it has been in the past. There is no “back to normal”, she told us. “Normal” was the “system” which gave us the climate crisis, a system of “colonialism, imperialism, oppression, genocide”, of “racist, oppressive extractionism”. Climate justice is part of all justice; you can’t have one without the others. We can’t trust the elites produced by this system to confront its flaws – that’s why she, much like Rishi Sunak, won’t be bothering with the COP meeting this year. COP itself is little more than a “scam” which facilitates “greenwashing, lying and cheating”. Only overthrow of “the whole capitalist system” will suffice.
So now we are finally seeing the contours of Thunbergism. Run your eye down the contributors to The Climate Book and you can see who she’s been reading: Jason Hickel, Kate Raworth, Naomi Klein. For these people the climate crisis isn’t man-made. It’s made by capitalism, as are the other forms of social injustice which plague society. There’s no GDP growth – especially of the capitalist sort – without increasing carbon emissions. The only solution to this state of emergency is for rich countries to immediately abandon economic expansion as a social goal.