Award-winning journalist Naomi Klein blamed Hawaiian Electric Co. for limiting the progress of solar energy during a motivating speech Thursday evening at the University of Hawaii.

Klein, the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” packed not one but two auditoriums on campus. The overflow crowd watched a live video of her on a giant screen in one room as others watched live in another room.

Naomi Klein speech

Naomi Klein spoke about climate change and capitalism during a speech Thursday at the University of Hawaii.

Civil Beat

“The profit motive is getting in the way of the transition that people want here,” Klein said, garnering applause.

She also stressed the need for the state to avoid getting hooked on liquefied natural gas, something HECO and politicians are moving toward despite all the warnings.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen introduced a measure to block LNG, noting the $200 million price tag to switch to a foreign-supplied fuel. Her bill stresses the need to put that money toward renewables, but it never received a hearing in the Legislature before dying this session.

She covered a wide range of topics related to climate change and capitalism during her talk, which wrapped up with a Q&A session. She touted recent successes on the national level, such as President Obama vetoing the Keystone pipeline bill, and the local level, like Maui voters passing a ballot measure to place a moratorium on GMO farming despite seed companies spending millions of dollars to defeat it.

Klein has been serving as the Dai Ho Chun distinguished chair in Arts & Sciences at UH Manoa. Her speech centered on the theme of new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate,” another bestseller.

Her speech is expected to be aired multiple times on Olelo Community Media TV stations.

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