Reality clashed with the BBC version of false consensus in a remarkable edition of HardTalklast month. Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, was starkly honest about humanity’s extreme predicament in the face of climate breakdown and refused to buckle under host Stephen Sackur’s incredulous questioning. Sackur’s inability to grasp that we are already in a climate emergency, and that massive changes are necessary now to avoid societal collapse, was clear for all to see. His line of questioning attempted to present Hallam to the BBC audience as a dangerous revolutionary, trying to destroy capitalism for twisted ideological reasons.
Sackur: 'You want to bring down the capitalist system as we know it, is that correct?
Hallam: ‘The capitalist system is going to be brought down by itself. The capitalist system is eating itself.’
Sackur: ‘Well, no, the point about your…’
Hallam (interrupting): ‘Let me make this point clear, right. The capitalist system – the global system that we’re in – is in the process of destroying itself, and it will destroy itself in the next ten years. The reason for that is because it’s destroying the climate. The climate is what’s necessary to grow food. If you can’t grow food, there will be starvation and social collapse. Now, the problem is, people in elites, people in the BBC, and people in the governmental sector, cannot get their heads round what’s actually happening. The fact of the matter is, if you go out and talk to ordinary people in the street, they’re aware of this. And that’s why hundreds of thousands of people around the world are starting to take action…’
Sackur (interrupting): ‘I understand what you’re [saying], your perspective on the climate is that the emergency is here, it’s now and we have to respond.’
Hallam (interrupting): ‘No, I don’t think you have [understood].’