Naomi Klein in Malta speaks on climate change, and Daphne Caruana Galizia

Special guest at this year's edition of the Malta Book Festival, Naomi Klein, was interviewed by MaltaToday Editor Matthew Vella to an appreciable turnout

Naomi Klein
Naomi Klein

Canadian author, filmmaker, and journalist Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was interviewed at the Malta Book Festival by MaltaToday editor Matthew Vella before a full house of around 200 people in Valletta.

While her books were mentioned in passing, Vella and Klein exchanged ideas on economic policy, neoliberalism as a philosophy that contribuetd to planetary warming, Daphne Caruana Galizia and the importance of independent journalism. 

"Companies are at present making more money than ever before while governments keep telling us that they don't have the money to fight climate change," Klein told her audience. She remarked on what she had learnt about Malta, what she described as an "inefficient building boom" that is anything but sustainable.

Klein said that the biggest propeller of climate change might be the alienation of the world's citizens. "The best policy is energy democracy," she said. "Countries should not switch from mega fossil fuel corporations to mega renewable energy corporations because, as we know, large-scale industries are magnets for political corruption."

It is then that she said that she might as well have disagreed with some of Daphne Caruana Galizia's opinions and writings had she been a Maltese native, but the political schism "misses the point". "Ultimately, fighting power and corruption is something the Maltese citizens should get behind."

Klein had herself suffered the brunt of abuse as a journalist, being infamous for fully endorsing former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who left behind him an impoverished, corrupt and violent state.

"Human beings have pathologised certain economic policies," she said. "The danger is that policies which can quell climate change might be botched by inefficient or corrupt governments, stalling the efforts to save the planet." Klein contended that governments rarely have green policies at the heart of their politics and that incentives rarely promote good unionised jobs that will lower emissions.

"So we get Trump and there's nothing funny about Trump." Klein argued how the media is partially to blame for the election of the current US President since it was Trump, not socialist democrat Bernie, who got the most coverage. "Trump is a brand, a businessman. It does cost a lot to battle climate change, but it also costs a lot not to." She argues that ultimately, a business-driven government will have to pay trillions of dollars to fix its own mistakes. 

Klein's new book, No is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need was published in June and was an instant New York Times and international bestseller.

The Malta Book Festival featured over 40 exhibitors this year, several public readings aimed at schoolchildren and special guest events featuring the likes of veteran poet Victor Fenech and political author gone rogue Alex Vella Gera.

This year's programme of events was varied and dispersed over five days. The last day of the event is tomorrow, Sunday 11 November, featuring Maltese-Australian novelist Lou Drofenik, who won the 2017 edition of the National Book Prize with her novel The Confectioner's Daughter.