Catastrophic Climate change
Many liberals and progressives underestimate the dire consequences of climate change. Climate destabilization could extinguish the human race and all complex life forms before the end of the current century. Virtually all climatologists “are now convinced global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.” Climate scientists and the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change use the term “uninhabitable” to describe the possible consequences of runaway global warming. Climate scientist Kevin Anderson says that by 2060, only 43 years from now, the earth’s temperature will likely rise by 7 degrees Fahrenheit (4C) and only 10% of humanity will be alive. This was before NASA recent release that the global temperatures grew well over .5F in just three years, a staggering surge which may signal an accelerated era in global warming. At the very least we are playing Russian roulette with the lives of our children and grandchildren
Because of the current build-up of greenhouse gases, the length of time it takes for them to dissipate and the presence of positive feedback loops, the scientific consensus is that we are near or may have already passed the tipping point, the line when the worst consequences of climate change become inescapable. The ecosystem could rapidly deteriorate and our children could well face an apocalyptic future.
Alarm bells and warning lights too numerous to recount: an unprecedented 102 million dead trees in California, the Eastern forest fires last year and now vast fires in Chile; massive coral die-off devastates ocean life; an iceberg the size of Delaware spitting from the Antarctic, the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melting faster than expected. The Arctic Ocean is virtually ice free while Arctic temperatures are 20-30 degrees above normal, sending polar vortexes south creating unusually cold and unstable weather. The monsoons in India are delayed and deficient, endangering the food supply for billions. Obviously the Trump administration will only speed us toward the devastation, given its foundation in climate change denial.
Such news is surreal and practically unfathomable which contributes to the lack of popular action. With the mass die-off still decades in the future, most of us continue to live our lives as if we have a viable future. The political right aided and abetted by fake science and sponsored by powerful oil and gas corporations, has successfully created widespread doubt. Climate scientists are called irresponsible for such dire predictions, and they routinely receive death threats. The new base of the Democratic Party, the professional class, prospered under neo-liberal economics, is seduced by the cyber world, and unfortunately has done little to save the planet.
Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, says it is too late for individual action (i.e. recycling) and people must mobilize in the streets to force a political solution. Only an immediate and full-scale transition to renewable energy combined with a major reduction in fossil fuels has any chance of slowing the devastation. While technological remedies might be possible, they also have potentially catastrophic unintended consequences and will have best effect if combined with substantial carbon reduction.
Renewable energy has broad public support and the technology is expanding exponentially while costs plummet, potentially ushering in a renewable energy revolution. The massive transformation of our energy system is expensive but doable and would create millions of high-paying jobs.
It is difficult to imagine a stronger moral imperative than acting to prevent climate genocide. We must utilize our intelligence and take advantage of the massive grassroot mobilization opposing Trump. This is the best hope for saving humanity and the planet.
This is not normal. The Trump administration’s open racism, misogyny, homophobia and concentration of big business leaders creates something approaching American Fascism. Tumpism does not yet qualify as fascism as it lacks the party organization, widespread popular support and has not used wide-spread political violence or a para-military force. Given the Trump’s encouragement of violence during the campaign, the far-right’s hate rhetoric on the radio and internet, their frequent use of death threats, and the alliance with white supremacists groups, the threat of fascism is ominous.
Trump’s war on the media further reveals the authoritarian nature of his regime. The use of fake news is a classic tactic of totalitarian regimes in an effort to discredit legitimate news and sow chaos and confusion, Trump brazenly lies, defining reality on his own terms. Trump’s alliance with the dictatorial Vladimir Putin further reinforces the picture of a potential fascist.
Trump successfully played on the fears and frustration of the white working class who saw their jobs shipped overseas and who see themselves as losing ground to minorities. The threat of foreign terrorism aggravates xenophobic tendencies while Trump refuses to disavow the hate groups who flock to him. Trump’s sustained attack on President Obama’s birth status must be described as racist. Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, is quickly consolidating power in the White House; Bannon is openly alt-right and is described as racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic.
Russia’s role in Trump’s election combined with the FBI release of damaging information damaging to Hillary Clinton immediately prior to the election further undercuts Trump’s legitimacy. Charles M Blow writes in the New York Times: “The fact that a hostile foreign government executed a plan to influence, and therefore irrevocably damaged, the bedrock of democracy is unfathomable.”
Donald Trump claims climate change is a hoax. He is the only head of state in the world to make such a contention.
To be sure, mainstream Democratic leaders helped create the current crisis by joining with Republicans to dismantle the manufacturing sector and ship jobs overseas under the banner of neo-liberal economics. Porous borders further depressed wages. While the working class does not deserve blame for trying to change their situation, they can be blamed for voting for Donald Trump. Further, Democrats helped create the national security state with mass surveillance and incarceration. The National Defense Authorization Act authorizing indefinite military detention of any US citizen without due process was signed by Barrack Obama and is now handed to a brittle, narcissistic authoritarian.
Trumpism is, at best, populism, anti-free trade and anti-immigration, and at worst: racist misogynist, bigoted, xenophobic and vulgar. Trump himself is an anti-constitutional authoritarian and a narcissistic serial liar. His main tactic is causing chaos and he is so clearly out of his depth as president. He may, in fact, simply be a blunt tool of the alt-right. America cannot move forward with President Trump and his removal from office must be the highest priority of progressives across the globe.