cover image On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

Naomi Klein. Simon & Schuster, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-9821-2991-0

Klein (This Changes Everything) makes a case for a Green New Deal in a treatise high on passion, but low on specifics. It consists largely of reprinted writings—reporting, think pieces, public talks—with brief notes providing updates. After an account of speaking at a 2015 Vatican press conference on Pope Francis’s climate change encyclical, Klein comments that the Church’s encouraging gesture now seems overshadowed by a lack of accountability over its sexual abuse crisis. These retrospective pieces lack the urgency of the book’s lengthy introduction about fostering “economies built both to protect and to regenerate the planet’s life support system and to respect and sustain the people who depend on them.” In the brief epilogue, Klein returns to the book’s main thrust and argues the Green New Deal still has a “fighting chance.” But even that formulation acknowledges the difficulties involved, and her more extravagant proposals—for instance, transforming every post office in her native Canada into a “hub for green transition”—don’t encourage confidence in her ambitious program. Klein’s cri de coeur (“when the future of life is at stake, there is nothing we cannot achieve”) will galvanize some and depress others. [em]Agent: Anthony Arnove, Roam Agency. (Sept.) [/em]