A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency

Klein, Seth

  • “This is the roadmap out of climate crisis that Canadians have been waiting for.” — Naomi Klein, activist and New York Times bestselling author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

    • One of Canada’s top policy analysts provides the first full-scale blueprint for meeting our climate change commitments
    • Contains the results of a national poll on Canadians’ attitudes to the climate crisis
    • Shows that radical transformative climate action can be done, while producing jobs and reducing inequality as we retool how we live and work.
    • Deeply researched and targeted specifically to Canada and Canadians while providing a model that other countries could follow

    Canada needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to prevent a catastrophic 1.5 degree increase in the earth’s average temperature — assumed by many scientists to be a critical “danger line” for the planet and human life as we know it.

    It’s 2020, and Canada is not on track to meet our targets. To do so, we’ll need radical systemic change to how we live and work—and fast. How can we ever achieve this?

    Top policy analyst and author Seth Klein reveals we can do it now because we’ve done it before. During the Second World War, Canadian citizens and government remade the economy by retooling factories, transforming their workforce, and making the war effort a common cause for all Canadians to contribute to.

    Klein demonstrates how wartime thinking and community efforts can be repurposed today for Canada’s own Green New Deal. He shares how we can create jobs and reduce inequality while tackling our climate obligations for a climate neutral—or even climate zero—future. From enlisting broad public support for new economic models, to job creation through investment in green infrastructure, Klein shows us a bold, practical policy plan for Canada’s sustainable future. More than this: A Good War offers a remarkably hopeful message for how we can meet the defining challenge of our lives.

    COVID-19 has brought a previously unthinkable pace of change to the world—one which demonstrates our ability to adapt rapidly when we’re at risk. Many recent changes are what Klein proposes in these very pages. The world can, actually, turn on a dime if necessary. This is the blueprint for how to do it. 

    Learn more about the book at: www.sethklein.ca

    Book Club Guide: A Good War by Seth Klein


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  • Seth Klein was the founding British Columbia director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for over two decades and has been immersed in climate change and inequality issues for his working life. He is currently an adjunct professor in urban studies at Simon Fraser University and remains a research associate with the CCPA. He lives in Vancouver, B.C.

  • Published: September 2020

    ISBN: 9781770415454

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 464

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“The COVID-19 crisis and Seth Klein’s timely book demonstrate heroic measures that become possible in times of crisis. The coronavirus crisis is not yet assessable by historians. World War II presented the West with an existential crisis for which government institutions, corporations and civil society were utterly unprepared. Yet in astonishingly rapid order, society, government and industry were united in resolve and enabled unprecedented government action and leadership. Read this inspiring book to realize giving up is not an option and ‘can’t be done’ is not an excuse.” — David Suzuki

“Seth Klein’s critically important book tells the climate truth: our climate emergency needs a WW2-style mobilization. In this strategic call to action we learn about Canada’s impressive war production, and how we can join the war against climate devastation. Your children’s futures are on every page. Read, organize, act!” — Raffi Cavoukian, singer, author and founder of Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring 

“Pacifists are not known for evoking war-like rhetoric, so it is one of life’s quirks that I first met an 18-year-old Seth Klein as he toured Canada calling for nuclear disarmament. But, like me, he sees that the only way for human civilization to survive the climate emergency is through an ‘all hands on deck’ approach that has only been seen in times of war — or recently in pandemic. Saving ourselves is a huge challenge. Marshaling the facts, the hope and the path forward is essential work for which writer and policy wonk Seth Klein is ideally suited.” — Elizabeth May, MP and former leader of the Green Party of Canada

“In this ambitious and informative book, Seth Klein intelligently connects past mobilization for war to the sweeping state measures now required to counter global warming.” — Peter Neary, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Western Ontario

“A call to action to protect our very existence on this planet — exactly the book we need right now. This book should be on the curriculum in every school across the country and required reading for every aspiring and current politician. Seth brilliantly challenges us to embrace the possible, while rejecting the current politics of ho-hum incrementalism. The threat posed by catastrophic climate change will eclipse everything we've faced to date, and our response will be the defining task of our era.” — Paul M. Taylor, anti-poverty activist and executive director of FoodShare Toronto

“A magnificent job. A climate emergency manifesto that brings it all together: history, politics, economics, humanity, mobilization, and science, with a wisdom of the actions we must undertake to win this good war.” — Libby Davies, former NDP MP

“Klein’s book is an insightful exposé of the new climate denialism; it shows the true state of the emergency and Canada's deeply inadequate response to it, and presents an inspiring and credible vision of what could be done … Klein has produced a compelling call to arms, reminding us that the mobilization needed today is well within our capabilities, that we accomplished something much more difficult through our collective efforts during World War II, and that Canadians are ready for today's battle.” — Canadian Dimension