Collins exposes a gaping hole in Klein's emphasis on using the impending climate crisis as a battering ram against capitalism. (I have strong doubts about what she sees as capitalism--see my critique.) By implication, Collin's argument is that there is a flaw in human nature that will militate against the slow-developing climate crisis in favor of the immediate gratification of artificially boosting more economy activity under the existing capitalist system. Meanwhile, he sees that the system and its governors, the ruling capitalist class, will become by necessity ever more predatory and oppressive.
Will the public be receptive to calls for curbing carbon emissions to save the climate if burning cheaper hydrocarbons seems like the fastest way to kick start growth, no matter how temporary?Collins calls for progressive activists to establish community-based institutions to help them ward off the worst effects of destabilizing and recurrent capitalist crises, and more importantly, to earn credibility. In addition to his excellent examples, I see a grass-roots controlled, independent media as a necessary component of such a progressive movement leading to the overthrow of the capitalist system. He concludes his argument with this statement:
Under this likely scenario, the climate movement could collapse faster than the economy. A depression-induced reduction in GHGs [greenhouse gases] would be a great thing for the climate, but it would suck for the climate movement because people will see little reason to concern themselves with cutting carbon emissions. In the midst of depression and falling carbon emissions, people and governments will be far more worried about economic recovery.
If the Left cannot build a movement strong enough and flexible enough to resist the ecological, economic, and military emergencies of declining industrial civilization and begin generating hopeful alternatives it will quickly lose momentum to those who profit from disaster.