Nathaniel Rich responds to claims about Losing Earth, his 2018 article for the New York Times, later published as a book
In his article (Neoliberalism wrecked our chance to fix the climate crisis – and leftwing statements of faith have changed nothing, 17 November), Jeff Sparrow repeats Naomi Klein’s simplistic claim that, in Losing Earth, I “attribute” the missed opportunity on climate change during the critical decade between 1979 and 1989 to “human nature”. Anyone who reads Losing Earth will see that I do no such thing.
The failure can be attributed to various causes. Among them are: the fecklessness of bureaucrats tasked with developing legislative solutions to a global problem; a generation of influential US scientists’ blind faith in American exceptionalism; the anti-environmental blitzkrieg launched by the Reagan administration on taking office; the failure of journalists, scientists and policymakers to explain the severity of the threat to a disinterested public; the refusal by the major environmental organisations to embrace climate change as a cause worthy of their attention; the machinations of George HW Bush’s chief of staff, John Sununu; and ultimately the mobilisation of the oil and gas industry around a massive disinformation campaign, the origin story of which I reported for the first time.