Mort Rosenblum / Reader Supported News & World Beyond War – 2018-12-09 23:51:44
By Now, Climate Denial Amounts to Mass Murder
Mort Rosenblum / Reader Supported News
“Sometimes it seems as if I’ve banged out
a trillion words over the last half-century
in news dispatches, books and assorted screeds.
None, I believe, are more important than these.”
PARIS (December 6, 2018) — Let’s be clear before it is too late. Any government leader or corporate executive who flouts irrefutable evidence of climatic shifts is complicit in murdering the human race.
Nobel laureate Paul Krugman called willful denial of climate change “depravity” in a New York Times essay on heedless greed and hubris. That’s not the half of it.
Bill McKibben, in The New Yorker, outlined in devastating detail what he has watched closely since sounding the alarm 30 years ago. Yet as fire, flood and famine steadily worsen toward Endgame, the world dithers.
“It’s now reasonable to ask,” he wrote, “whether the human game has begun to falter — perhaps even to play itself out.”
As people obsessed on a flash of street mayhem in Paris, few noticed wise old David Attenborough speak gravely in Poland: “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
Crocodiles and cockroaches will survive as temperatures rise, but humans will be among the first to go. When? Does it matter?
In the worst case, babies born today may need Dune suits to distill their sweat for a drink of water. Millions already besiege northern borders as crops fail and fishing nets come up empty. The poorest will go first, but the rich will follow.
Sometimes it seems as if I’ve banged out a trillion words over the last half-century in news dispatches, books and assorted screeds. None, I believe, are more important than these.
Back in 1981, the Associated Press gave me a sizeable budget and free rein to prowl the planet in search of underreported crises that matter. I wrote story after story about climate. Most papers routinely spiked them.
I asked Ben Bradlee at The Washington Post for advice on how to interest editors. “I’ll put environmental stories on the front page when water is up to my ankles in the newsroom,” he replied, only half joking. That was, if I remember correctly, on the third floor.
In 2013, I talked about my book, Escaping Plato’s Cave, to students at Georgetown University, describing what I’d seen from a hilltop in Tobago: Mud from Venezuela’s Orinoco River turned the blue Caribbean brown, and blowing African dust tinged the once-clear air beige.
Some smug kid raised his hand. “I don’t think so,” he said, presaging an era of alternate facts. Ten minutes online provides anyone validation to form an opinion on anything, regardless of observable reality.
Then in 2015, I covered that crucial Paris meeting. Delegates lauded non-binding accords that fell far short of what was needed. The UN “Convention of the Parties” is known as COP. But COP-out is closer to it.
Another COP, number 24, is now meeting with scant news coverage in Katowice, a polluted city in a country that burns carbon for 80 percent of its energy. In a grotesque sideshow, the United States is promoting “clean coal” — an unproven, hugely expensive process to capture emissions.
China, now the worst carbon polluter, limits damage at home by fouling environments elsewhere. It exports coal power plants to poor countries, strip-mines, clear-cuts forests, and loots endangered global fisheries.
But principal blame falls on Americans, who allow an amoral, immoral president, supported by corrupt congressmen, to ignore what is happening before our own eyes and plunder as if there were no tomorrow.
A fresh report from 13 US federal agencies foretells calamity. Donald Trump tried to bury it over the Thanksgiving break. Then he offered his view: “I don’t believe it.” He is, he said, too intelligent to accept findings based on four years of analyzing hard science.
In American fashion, the report emphasized the dollar costs of delay. These, of course, are incalculable. McKibben cites a 2017 report by 90 scientists: Arctic warming could mean $90 trillion in economic losses within this century.
In the end, money counts for nothing when oceans flood coastal cities and islands while unsupportable heat kills off us homo sapiens.
We know how we got here. ExxonMobil and its predecessors hid their own findings since 1977 that fossil fuels were poisoning the planet. Since then, Big Oil has spent hugely to con the public and buy legislators. Now we know better, yet sales of monster trucks and Chevy Subdivisions (a Dave Barry coinage) spike whenever gas prices dip.
Alternative energy is already much cheaper than burning carbon, even without factoring in the trillions that fire and flood will inevitably cost. But effective action must be long-term. Elected leaders, needing votes and campaign funds, seldom think beyond two, four, or six years.
As Trump the con artist knows, people resist sacrifice in the short run for future gain. Yet without firm concerted action that transcends all borders, we are cooked. Humanity is rushing headlong toward extinction.
Trump is a godsend to plunderers like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who calls climate change a Marxist plot and is itching to send bulldozers into the Amazon rainforest. Big and small nations alike are fast reneging on their Paris commitments.
As McKibben wrote in that New Yorker piece, which should be required reading before anyone is allowed near a voting booth, world leaders in Paris drew a line in the sand, then watched a rising tide erase it.
Here’s a thought: If that 2015 UN conference didn’t provide an answer, consider Paris today. A quarter-million people across France put on yellow vests and showed Emmanuel Macron the limits of presidential power.
It comes down to this. At the rate we are going, we are stealing our children’s world. No leader, elected or otherwise, has a right to poison their air, burn their forests, destroy their croplands or empty their ocean.
Those climate stories we once ignored are now so ubiquitous that most of us simply tune them out. Like taking too small a dose of antibiotics for too long, we’re immune. But what we don’t know is killing us.
Mort Rosenblum has reported from seven continents as Associated Press special correspondent, edited the International Herald Tribune in Paris, and written 14 books on subjects ranging from global geopolitics to chocolate. He now runs MortReport.org.
Earth Over the Brink
World Beyond War
(December 5, 2018) — Glacier National Park is drip-drip-dripping into a puddle.
People and companies and governments are cutting down trees to burn them to save the planet from global warming, mixing the sacrificial trees with oh-so-clean coal, and in Detroit with tires, and in North Carolina with chicken shit.
Others are hacking down old forests to grow marijuana where itâ€™s least likely to be found: another great benefit of drug prohibition.
Over 95% of Californiaâ€™s wild game was mercilessly slaughtered between 1865 and 1890.
Ted Turner is liberating the remnants of the bison in the American West on the model of the liberation of Baghdad: they end up $18 a plate.
Ranchers are luring wolves with sheep carcasses and tracking wolvesâ€™ radio collars like a Saudi hit squad tracking a journalist, before playing American Sniper.
Endangered species are being hunted just as viciously by lobbyists.
Pine beetles, not planted by the nefarious Chinese, but by the warming temperature understood by the national jackass in chief to be a Chinese lie, are costing such magnificent creatures as the grizzly bears the pine nuts they need. Nuts. Giant grizzly bears need little nuts, while puny humans devastate the planet raising livestock to feed their appetite for bloody flesh.
Water is rapidly being drained away from the ground and from the rivers to produce the bloody-flesh junk-food.
People are putting their bodies in the tops of trees, facing chain saws and sleep-deprivation that lead to plummeting.
People are swinging from the rafters of auditoriums and clinging to the outsides of buildings to break through the corporatespeak.
Trees and boats and houses are being sent flying in vicious storms; city blocks are being obliterated with only indirect assistance from the Pentagon.
Actual human beings are knowingly spraying the wreckage of Hurricane Harvey with pesticides, and then rebuilding in the path of the next storms as well as of the self-poisoning.
Yearsâ€™ worth of rain is being dumped quickly on one part of the United States, and not a drop for years on other parts.
Forests out west are burning like Japanese cities, while logging companies are beginning immediately to rip out more trees on the basis of the claim that what has created the crisis will alleviate it.
An explosion of oil gushed like Niagara Falls being put through a garden hose out into the Gulf of Mexico for months on end, repaired with basically air freshener consisting of deadly poison.
Dolphins are lured into a bay in Japan and massacred by the hundreds, turning the sea to blood.
Oceans are running out of fish, and mega-fish-processing operations are going bigger, not smaller, seeking for their owners and the rest of us the same fate visible in the sea mammals clinging to the softening ice.
A nuclear bomb was used in the Bering Sea, collapsing half an island; hundreds of dead puffins found with their legs driven through their chests; sea lions miles away with their eye balls blown out. Why? It is not ours to wonder.
Las Vegas is sucking its water dry with greater waste in proportion to diminishing supply, as if it will survive on the model of Monticello, where Jefferson drank the well dry but then forced enslaved people to haul water from streams.
Petro-chemical and nuclear plants are ravaged by storms. Oil tanks rupture. Refineries flood. Water sources are ruined for eternity.
The absolute height of all human incompetence, recklessness, and corruption is intensely concentrated around the industries of nuclear power (and waste) and nuclear weapons by a species doing its best imitation of Mr. Magoo on crack.
Whole cities are poisoning themselves with lead while investing their tax dollars in waging wars on distant lands their citizens cannot name.
Military bases pockmark the Land of the Free that they supposedly â€œserveâ€ with disaster sites and carcinogenic chemical zones.
Cancer epidemics not seen before all this progress now rage across the â€œcivilizedâ€ world.
A ranch outside Los Angeles is filling the atmosphere with methane.
Actual wars bring hell to North Africa and Western and Central Asia, killing the planet, not just the local populations, much less just the no-longer-wanted dictator against whom each war is typically launched.
Ammunition dumps, open-air burns, cluster bombs, land mines, and depleted uranium do their part in each sociocide that builds toward the terracide.
The tops of mountains are being hacked off and removed for good to get at a bit of coal to help destroy the atmosphere.
A majority of the sixth-graders in a school nearby a deceased mountain in the One Indispensable Nation are ill and clearly deemed dispensable.
Nuclear waste is eternally stirred, like a memorial flame eternally burned, albeit eternally stirred in cracking and leaking pots the size of human arrogance.
People are standing up to water cannons and chain saws, dangling 150-feet up in a swirling storm to save a tree, chaining themselves to machinery, jumping into the ocean with knives in their teeth to save sea creatures from nets, throwing themselves in front of police-soldiers, and otherwise distinguishing themselves from the vast majority of people who are watching sports on television.
This apocalyptic hell is real and now; the soothing tranquility on the TV news is imaginary. The video of Barack Obama bragging to a crowd in Texas of his great increases in fossil fuel production is part of a grand fictional enterprise in which eliminating humanity is praised by portions of humanity. Academia is a drug-induced dream. Bob Dylan is a journalist.
â€œIâ€™ve walked and Iâ€™ve crawled on six crooked highways
Iâ€™ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
Iâ€™ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
Iâ€™ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And itâ€™s a hard, itâ€™s a hard, itâ€™s a hard, and itâ€™s a hard
Itâ€™s a hard rainâ€™s a-gonna fallâ€
Other journalists are Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank whose book The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink brought to my mind most of the images above.
Read this book. It examines the environmental collapse in a deeply-informed and entertaining manner, naming names without political favor, and providing no typical environmentalist waiver or immunity to militarism.
If the book has any fault, itâ€™s in the occasional cries for revenge against the corporate polluters, but given how much time we have left, perhaps itâ€™s just not realistic to imagine our society fully outgrowing that deepest of evil tendencies.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.