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Thoughts on Naomi Klein

It's fair to say that people on the sceptic side of the climate debate think that Naomi Klein is a weapons grade noodle. But it's not just us. Plenty of serious commentators on the other side of the debate feel the same way. Take these examples.

Ms Klein's harshest critics must allow that, for an angry adolescent, she writes rather well. It takes journalistic skill of a high order to write page after page of engaging blather, so totally devoid of substance. What a pity she has turned her talents as a writer to a cause that can only harm the people she claims to care most about. But perhaps it is just a phase.

The Economist


 Or what about this?

The most fascinating thing about This Changes Everything is how much factual refutation of Klein’s thesis is contained within the book itself.

Jonathan Chait

And this is how John Humphrys introduced Ms Klein this morning on the Today programme:

One of the most respected voices in [the climate] debate.

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Reader Comments (48)

But the remarks she made about the draft COP21 agreement being full of loopholes are correct. Transcript of start of interview.

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:12 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Einer Kleiner Krapmusick....

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

To which climate debate is Humphreys referring? Can anyone get involved in the debate?

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:18 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Phillip Bratby -- Can anyone get involved in the debate?

Only from stage left, via the green room.

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

We're all involved in the Climate Debate.
And we're all highly respected.

You see the baseline for respect was set by the respectability shown in the Climategate emails.
That's the tone of the Climate Debate.

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Klein is just a chancer that has done well out of a scam, the BBC continues to demonstrate its involvement in perpetrating the scam, not to mention its advocacy for unrestricted migration, censorship and lefty political parties.

But from the sound of the draft agreement Klein is right, the scammers have been scammed by the politicians.

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

.... but she plucks her eyebrows beautifully ......

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Spilligan

Uh... if I recall correct;y the mad woman blathered on about how "climate change" had impacted her personal life and there was, in my reading of it - the suggestion that the refusal of other people to go along with Naomi's views about things were to blame for her miscarriages.

Victimhood, a Miliband - esque lefty minor royalty family background and student newspaper pedigree - the ideal Guardian writer - so by definition a red carpet 'sleb for the BBC....

Great hair, designer bottled water and quinoa canapes .... "respected voice"? - yeah, Like Dr. Helen Caldicott is a respected voice in nuclear physics....

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Registered Commentertomo

'One of the most respected voices in [the climate] debate.'

Unlike for example Lord Lawson - who, were he ever to be interviewed, would be introduced as 'not a climate scientist and therefore not qualified to speak on climate science'.

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Can Mr Humphrys not see an informative contrast between how his corporation treated Lawson, who makes thoughtful and well-reasoned contributions to the climate debate, and how he just treated Klein, (generously described as an 'angry adolescent' in The Economist) who brings little but shallow band-wagoneering waffle to that same debate?

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:54 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

The BBC isn't making a pretence of balance any more. Quentin Letts gives his views on the slap down over his little R4 prog

The BBC makes the same mistake it made over Jimmy Savile. It chooses to ignore genuine concerns in favour of presenting a pristine face for what it considers the greater good. In the long run it damages both itself and the causes it supports.

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Perhaps it is just a phase that would end if the fawning support of idiots was replaced by careful and critical examination. You know, like the sort of thing journalists do.

Dec 11, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

The BBC is being nationalist is so far as the UK needs the continuation of artificial scarcity both euro area and worldwide.
The trade figures especially between euro area and the UK is conclusive.
Euro area industrial and monetary policies forces these vessel jurisdictions to export in exchange for scarce tokens.
The UK subsequently absorbs the surplus.
This is classic finance capitalism in action.
That is production is sadly not about consumption (therefore reducing the waste /friction of commerce)
The objective is to increase effort , aiding wealth concentration.
Trendy leftist commentators aid the war effort so get unlimited propaganda time.

Dec 11, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

I'd love to get her in a room with Hans Rosling.

Dec 11, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterclovis marcus

Just last year Prospect Magazine named Klein as Number 13 in its list of world thinkers , The Duttweiler Institute had her at number 10 in its list of the most influential contemporary intellectuals and also she made the Mclean's Power List. (I searched for 'Montford' in these same lists and strangely - nada)

Even the Torygraph likes her book.

Very puzzling.

Dec 11, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

The bitchy Economist review is all about her criticisms of capitalism, nothing about climate. I don't think the Economist is ready to challenge the consensus just yet.

Dec 11, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

If it wasn't for computer adjusted climate science, Klein could have done something useful with her life.

Dec 11, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Phil Clarke, Ken Lay of ENRON featured quite high in lists of people having influence over others.

Dec 11, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

'One of the most respected voices in [the climate] debate.'

if you have to, even in a pile of shi*s you can always find one that is not as 'shi*' has the others .

That she jumped on the CAGW bandwagon has a means to promote her own 'anti-capitalistic' views merely shows that she is very capitalistic in outlook when it comes to spotting opportunities for self promotion , and let us not forget self enrichment .
Meanwhile she is merely one of the very many ''anti-capitalistic' who would never in a million years consider actually moving to live under any other system, especially the much admired 'Sociologist paradises ' such has Cuba.

Dec 11, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

You saved me the bother of making the same observation.

Dec 11, 2015 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B


or until recently Venezuela.....

@Phil Clarke

most influential contemporary intellectuals

It is fairly clear that Ms. Klein has social status + opinions - what's not so clear is if those opinions stand up to scrutiny - I'd say that they clearly do not - and that, little old me thinks - says quite a lot about the provenance of your list of accolades.

Dec 11, 2015 at 2:14 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Yes, this is yet another example of Canada's "coming out" in the "Shallow Opportunists" road show (see our new Prime Minister Zoolander).

All fluff, no substance. Perfect for the low information Twitter generation. Swipe left...

Dec 11, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

As a Canadian, I would like to do what Canadians do best; apologize.

I apologize for Naomi Klein. I also apologize for Justin Bieber, but less so because I think some of his songs have merit, and adolescent girls need someone to fantasize over.

Also sorry if this post seems to over-apologetic.

Dec 11, 2015 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterrabbit

Their world not the our world

One of the most respected voices in [the climate] debate.
"John Humphrys" and our Greenpeace friend here live in a different world to us.

In their Guardian type world
"Russell Brand voted world's fourth most influential thinker"
..Need I say more ?

Dec 11, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The contrast between the two well known Naomis in the alarmist camp is striking....aesthetically that is ;-)

Naomi vs. Naomi

Dec 11, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Canada must keep up the steady supply of idiots. Now that the evil creature Maurice Strong has blessed us all by leaving we will fill the vacancy with Naomi Klein.

Dec 11, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkeptic

Naomi is a corporate author. Shock Doctrine is an excellent book but she pulls her punches on the Demmycrats, particularly Gore. Her parents were communists, she's an anti-capitalist. That's her schtick. It's not mine.

I personally badgered her for months to write about carbon trading. I showed her the full range of information I had. The reason is that I knew she was already aware of it. I created a web page, but don't feel inclined and am probably not capable of of finishing a book. I am happy she did it. She made the direct link between the greens and the oil companies which I hadn't found. She did it a lot better than I could have.

If I'm being honest, I don't like her much either. She seems a bit imperious. I'm not saying that to fit in with the prevailing mood. I doubt if Churchill was a fan of Stalin.

Dec 11, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

tomo et al

Her background is very similar to the Milibands.

Klein is a hangover from the anti-globalsation movement which she co lead with Monbiot. That's who she is. She jumped onto the back of the AGW gravy train which followed along next.

geoffchambers She isn't an economist. We do need people who aren't paid by the establishment to present a point of view outside the restraints of academia..

Dec 11, 2015 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Rabbit, as a fellow Canadian, I share your shame.... Plus Suzuki.

On the up side, Steve MacIntyre pretty much single handedly in the beginning, began to knock the stuffing out of the "science" of global warming. I am happy to have a 10x more useful, accurate and devastating Canadian to stack up against the scientifically and economically illiterate Ms. Klein.

Dec 11, 2015 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJay Currie

Naomi Klein is from Toronto. Her husband, Avi Lewis, is the son of Stephen Lewis, who was leader of the Ontario NDP (socialist-labour) party in Ontario in the 1970s and grandson of David Lewis, who was leader of the federal NDP party.

As a small world, my wife taught Grade 7 to Avi Lewis many years ago.

Avi Lewis subsequently went to Upper Canada College, the most exclusive and expensive private school in Toronto. In UK terms, he's an Eton socialist rather than a dockyard socialist.

Dec 11, 2015 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve McIntyre


Oh good Lord, say it ain't so.

From her writings, I can easily interpret Ms. Klein's endless prejudice but glean no evidence of the exercise of much, if any reasoned judgment, and still less of insight and great cerebral illumination.

Indeed, who are these arbiters bestowing on the unworthy, those unearned titles such as "most influential contemporary intellectuals".....? Has the definition of naming some bod an "intellectual" been so debased? I can think of few presently breathing real intellectuals, I can think of a more than a few who've passed on. I conclude that, there are far too many rent seekers and boot lickers who through their elevation of their anointed spokesmen/women onto some sort of raised dais, and somehow believing that, to be their ersatz mark of legitimacy.

Dec 11, 2015 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Dec 11, 2015 at 5:43 PM Steve McIntyre

"In UK terms, he's an Eton socialist rather than a dockyard socialist."

Indeed. My parents are of the later variety: dad got his Grade 8 and went to work (this was 1945 and his three brothers were in the war, and two sisters were working in war manufacturing) and my mom was a mere housewife who took in laundry, cleaned cottages and provided day care when day care was called "babysitting". Provided a great life for three kids and made sure that we all respected working people even when we became better educated than they were and started climbing the corporate ladder.

Now, these Eton socialists want to increase my parent's taxes and energy bills so that their descendants will be [insert ridiculously small temperature change] cooler in [insert changing end date] years.

So basically, they will be burning more wood my 82 year old dad cuts by himself from his 100 acre woodlot. Take that CO2!

BTW, I still remember a community meeting made up of mostly folks like my parents ("uneducated" working class) but with a scattering of "highly educated" teachers who were supporting the local principal in his run as an NDP candidate.

The teachers had a perpetual look on their faces like they had stepped in something...

Dec 11, 2015 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

Mark the calendar: M Tobis and I can agree on something:
mtobis ‎@mtobis
I was similarly disappointed. I see big flaws in modern capitalism but found Klein's book incoherent & shallow. @andyskuce @SuzanneWaldman"

I think Klein is quite comfortable in the shallow end of the idea pool. Any deeper and she would have some real problems.

Dec 11, 2015 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Who has actually read this book ?

I won't read it b/c I couldn't stomach a single sentence of global warming.

Dec 11, 2015 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I actually laughed out loud when I heard Humphries introduce her this morning.

She then went on to bemoan the lack of binding agreement at Paris. I think she even said, if I recall, that several small island countries will be under the waves in a few years.

She's barking.

Dec 11, 2015 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

Oh..and lets not forget: her husband Avi Lewis' connection with al Jazeera.

Dec 11, 2015 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

As a Canadian, I would like to do what Canadians do best; apologize. [..]
Also sorry if this post seems to over-apologetic.

Dec 11, 2015 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterrabbit

No worries, rabbit.
I'm US-born but have the British guilt gene, as well as the parentage and upbringing.

But in foreign lands, with a careful use of accent, I've found that I can fool people into thinking I'm Australian.

Dec 11, 2015 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Just to note that the Economist article is from 2002. Not that it isn't still accurate.

Dec 11, 2015 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJ

I'd be interested in Tyson Fury's view of Ms Klein.

Dec 11, 2015 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

"Also sorry if this post seems too over-apologetic".

Best line in this thread

Dec 11, 2015 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

And, to balance "Today", and show the BBC's impartiality, "the World at One" on R4 had two commenters on the Paris fiasco - Harrabin and Stern!
Balance? Impartiality???
By the way, why do all these people say we need to "decarbonise"?. Doesn't that mean get rid of Carbon? I thought it was Carbon Dioxide that is the "problem", not Carbon?
One way of reducing CO2 emissions would be to stop Harrabin and Stern breathing, not to mention Prince Charles and his jetting around, and his Aston Martin and Range Rover etc.

Dec 11, 2015 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPW73

"One of the most respected voices in [the climate] debate." That shows to what a low level the Climate Debate (?) has fallen.

Dec 11, 2015 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

PW73 Decarbonising is what champagne socialists demand their children's Fillipino Nanny do to their slices of over done toast, before feeding them to the birds.

Dec 12, 2015 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

She's just been on RT's "Conversation with Great Minds" schtick. Lots of work on her hair.

Dec 12, 2015 at 4:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

golf Charlie, I absolutely deny feeding any of my Filipino nannies to the birds.

Dec 12, 2015 at 5:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

Steve McIntyre,

Were you thinking "David Cameron" when you wrote "Eton socialist"?

(Or Osborne, Johnson, Letwin...?)

Dec 12, 2015 at 5:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

"I'd be interested in Tyson Fury's view of Ms Klein."
Now that made me chuckle!

Dec 12, 2015 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

That anyone so good looking can be so stupid reminds me of my old physics teacher, who maintained that beauty x brains = a constant. Can't say that sort of thing nowadays, of course...

Dec 13, 2015 at 2:22 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

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