FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Grim Predictions for the Future Have Arrived

Northern Harrier, Columbia River marshlands. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

When confronted with the escalating threats to the Earth’s fragile environment, politicians love to promise to take action in the future — say 2030 or 2050. By then, they say, we can “phase out” fossil fuels and thus save the planet from becoming an inferno.

But starting last week, massive global protests, led by young people joined by millions and millions of people from all ages and walks of life, had one unified message for their politicians — “our world is on fire” — and the long-predicted impacts from global warming are undeterred by phony promises to do something “in the future.”

For those who may still believe the drivel spouted by Trump that global warming is a “Chinese hoax,” perhaps the release of the latest study showing bird populations in North America have plummeted 29 percent in the last 50 years. In real numbers, that means there are a stunning three billion fewer birds in the U.S. and Canada than the 10 billion that were here in 1970. While insecticides and large-scale habitat destruction for extractive industries are identified as the major cause, the changes wrought by human-caused global warming are also responsible for this unconscionable destruction of the world’s avian population.

The documented sharp decline in bird populations may seem like “the canary in the coal mine,” but the reality of the impacts are far more widespread. Massive die offs of coral reefs are occurring planet-wide. The oceans are warming and becoming more acidic. The ice caps are melting at an astounding rate, raising sea levels, inundating island nations and increasingly threatening major coastal populations. No sea ice means polar bears and the seals they rely on for existence may not make it to “the future.”

And as the droughts get worse and the temperatures get higher, the world really is on fire. Massive, unprecedented wildfires ripped across the planet from Alaska to Siberia. That the rain forests of the southern hemisphere are also burning is a clear indicator of the extent of the planet’s heat-caused trauma.

Yet, in the face of the undeniable evidence of human-caused global warming, Trump is doing just the opposite of what desperately needs be done. As recently reported by the New York Times, Trump has “rolled back” 85 environmental regulations. The result is that “the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions and lead to thousands of extra deaths from poor air quality every year, according to a recent report prepared by New York University Law School’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center.”

Today the United Nations’ “climate summit” is taking place and U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said, “I told leaders not to come with fancy speeches, but with concrete commitments. We are losing the race against climate change. Our world is off track.”

Only those nations that have actual goals to reduce greenhouse gases — about 60 — will be allowed to address the U.N. Assembly. But Trump has no plans to reduce global warming and is instead suing California for reaching an agreement with major car makers to achieve higher mileages and cleaner vehicle emissions. Consequently, and to our shame as a nation, the U.S. will not be speaking.

There will, however, be thousands marching in the streets outside the U.N. and in Washington, D.C. They will be demanding action to stop the destruction of the Earth’s climate and they will be in no mood to hear phony promises from politicians to do something in the future — because for them, and all of us, the future has arrived.

More articles by:

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 14, 2019
Laura Carlsen
Mexico’s LeBaron Massacre and the War That Will Not Cease
Joe Emersberger
Oppose the Military Coup in Bolivia. Spare Us Your “Critiques”
Ron Jacobs
Trump’s Drug Deal Goes to Congress: Impeachment, Day One
Paul Edwards
Peak Hubris
Tamara Pearson
US and Corporations Key Factors Behind Most Violent Year Yet in Mexico
Jonah Raskin
Love and Death in the Age of Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Climate Confusion, Angst, and Sleeplessness
W. T. Whitney
To Confront Climate Change Humanity Needs Socialism
John Feffer
Examining Trump World’s Fantastic Claims About Ukraine
Nicky Reid
“What About the Children?” Youth Rights Before Parental Police States
Binoy Kampmark
Incinerating Logic: Bush Fires and Climate Change
John Horning
The Joshua Tree is Us
Andrew Stewart
Noel Ignatiev and the Great Divide
Cesar Chelala
Soap Operas as Teaching Tools
Chelli Stanley
In O’odham Land
November 13, 2019
Vijay Prashad
After Evo, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia
Charles Pierson
How Not to End a Forever War
Kenneth Surin
“We’ll See You on the Barricades”: Bojo Johnson’s Poundshop Churchill Imitation
Nick Alexandrov
Murder Like It’s 1495: U.S.-Backed Counterinsurgency in the Philippines
George Ochenski
Montana’s Radioactive Waste Legacy
Brian Terrell
A Doubtful Proposition: a Reflection on the Trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7
Nick Pemberton
Assange, Zuckerberg and Free Speech
James Bovard
The “Officer Friendly” Police Fantasy
Dean Baker
The Logic of Medical Co-Payments
Jeff Mackler
Chicago Teachers Divided Over Strike Settlement
Binoy Kampmark
The ISC Report: Russian Connections in Albion?
Norman Solomon
Biden and Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam to Defer to Uncle Scrooge
Jesse Jackson
Risking Lives in Endless Wars is Morally Wrong and a Strategic Failure
Manuel García, Jr.
Criminalated Warmongers
November 12, 2019
Nino Pagliccia
Bolivia and Venezuela: Two Countries, But Same Hybrid War
Patrick Cockburn
How Iran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over Iraq
Jonathan Cook
Israel is Silencing the Last Voices Trying to Stop Abuses Against Palestinians
Jim Kavanagh
Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage
Susan Babbitt
Fidel, Three Years Later
Dean Baker
A Bold Plan to Strengthen and Improve Social Security is What America Needs
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Trump’s Crime Against Humanity
Victor Grossman
The Wall and General Pyrrhus
Yoko Liriano
De Facto Martial Law in the Philippines
Ana Paula Vargas – Vijay Prashad
Lula is Free: Can Socialism Be Restored?
Thomas Knapp
Explainer: No, House Democrats Aren’t Violating Trump’s Rights
Wim Laven
Serve With Honor, Honor Those Who Serve; or Support Trump?
Colin Todhunter
Agrarian Crisis and Malnutrition: GM Agriculture Is Not the Answer
Binoy Kampmark
Walls in the Head: “Ostalgia” and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later
Akio Tanaka
Response to Pete Dolack Articles on WBAI and Pacifica
Nyla Ali Khan
Bigotry and Ideology in India and Kashmir: the Legacy of the Babri Masjid Mosque
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail