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As the summer moves on, the world is literally burning under intense heat due to ever worsening climate change, mainly as a result of government impotence under corporate sway. Areas near Tokyo have just experienced a record temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41.1 Celsius), with beleaguered residents fleeing to avoid the sun. Across Japan, this unprecedented heat wave has already killed dozens of people.
Nor are the searing temperatures being restricted to southerly climes. In northern Siberia, temperatures of over 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 Celsius) were recorded on 5 July. The heat wave in sections of Siberia’s far north, more than double the normal temperatures expected, has astonished meteorologists. It also raises dire concerns that billions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane, for centuries locked in frozen permafrost, will be released into the atmosphere and thereby further accelerate climate change. This is a major concern for scientists who note with growing alarm the unchecked temperatures even within the Arctic circle.
In other northerly landmasses – Canada for example – scores of people are estimated to have died this month, with the huge province of Quebec experiencing particularly severe heat. Montreal, the most populous municipality in Quebec, endured record breaking temperatures early this month of almost 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.6 Celsius).
Scandinavia is also undergoing blinding heat, with parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland recording temperatures almost twice the average; slightly above or below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking previous records. Last week, in the urban area of Bardufoss in Norway’s far north, a record was compiled of 92.3 degrees Fahrenheit (33.5 Celsius). For weeks Sweden has been been battling dozens of forest fires, which have destroyed about two million square meters of woodland – with almost $70 million worth of damage inflicted.
While these temperatures have been broadly reported over the previous weeks, the root causes are almost invariably overlooked or downplayed. Since records began in the mid-19th century, 17 of the hottest 18 years have occurred since 2000. Unless government policies drastically alter, this trend will continue as the years advance.
Oil price decreases in recent times have been widely heralded by the corporate press in the West. It represents another surreal moment in human history. In reality, the media has been lauding the impending destruction of the planet along with that of their children and grandchildren’s futures. Jubilant headlines regarding falling oil prices have long been declaring under such lines that,
“It gives consumers more money and cuts manufacturing costs”, when instead they should read, “Let’s accelerate the destruction of the human species and incinerate the earth”.
The price of oil in the US market is too low, and should instead be placed at a higher cost as it is in Europe. The higher price discourages the continuing use of fossil fuels, which is wiping out the environment, and a driving factor behind planet-altering climate change. Should the dependence on non-renewable resources like oil continue, it will prove another significant blow to the globe.
With not a reference of the threat to the earth, economic policy analyst Stephen Moore, a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and other publications, wrote in late 2016 that,
“The greatest stimulus to the US economy in the past two years has been the steep decline in oil prices… Think about the boon to American consumers… The blessings of low oil prices are doubly felt in the US because we still import hundreds of billions of oil a year. The big losers from low energy prices are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, ISIS and OPEC. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people”.
Unmentioned by Moore is that Saudi Arabia has been a major US ally for the past 75 years, continuing with enormous support under president Donald Trump. Indeed Moore himself, a Republican Party member, acted as a key economic adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. Perhaps it is little wonder that Trump subsequently pulled his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement, another blow to the planet.
With regard coal, a lethal and increasingly defunct fossil fuel, Trump has said in the preceding months,
“We have ended the war on American energy – and we have ended the war on beautiful, clean coal”.
On a separate occasion Trump said that,
“Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business. There is a thing called clean coal. Coal will last for 1,000 years in this country”.
Should current policies persist, there may not be a United States as we know it in 100 years, let alone a thousand years. After all, burning of coal is the largest contributor to human-engineered carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere; humans’ use of coal has long been a key factor in the ongoing warming of the planet.
It is a strange spectacle witnessing policies being continued that are pushing the human race closer to the cliff’s edge. In Bangladesh, a small country in southern Asia, scientists forecast that up to 25 million of its people will be forced to flee within the next generation. This is due to rising sea levels as a result of melting ice sheets and glaciers, along with other severe weather events. Migrant crises in which tens of millions are expected to depart will be far more serious than the exodus of recent years, which was primarily as a result of people fleeing wars waged or supported by Western governments.
Bangladesh’s chief climatologist Atiq Rahman believes that,
“These migrants should have the right to move to countries from which all these greenhouse gases are coming. Millions should be able to go to the United States”.
Indeed, over nine million Bangladeshis have already left their homeland, departing because of worsening climate change allied to the country’s dismal poverty.
Across the world temperatures are already becoming increasingly intolerable, mostly affecting the poor. In Iraq, the thermometer is this week set to read 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius), having previously reached a staggering 129 degrees Fahrenheit (54 Celsius) in the Iraqi city of Basra in 2016. With temperatures to continue breaking records as the years go by, states like Iraq who have suffered so much will become desolate, uninhabitable places.
As the Himalayan glaciers melt, clean water for many in southern Asia is becoming a rarer commodity. This is already a major issue in India, a nuclear weapon state, with tens of millions of the country’s inhabitants having no access to clean drinking water.
Elsewhere, even small and seemingly insignificant countries like Ireland are now bearing a serious global responsibility. Ireland – a rich nation dogged by inequality – has long held company with the worst climate culprits in Europe, and in 2018 has the second worst climate change record among EU states (Poland is last). It is a remarkable fact that Ireland, with a population well under 10 million, produces more carbon emissions than over 5% of the global human population.
John Sweeney, Ireland’s leading climate scientist, writes that
“when it comes to getting our own greenhouse gas emissions in order, it is among the worst laggards in the developed world. We emit more greenhouse gases than the poorest 400 million people on the planet. Almost unique in the EU, Ireland is failing to meet its obligations and is increasing its greenhouse gas emissions”.
Such is the price that countries pay for surrendering to corporate power, as compromised governments act with ongoing impotence.
The general populations of the rich states mostly responsible for unbridled climate change are largely unaware of how serious the problem is. Much of this is due to the gross underreporting of this earth-defining issue. The business-run media, acting under the Orwellian title of “the Free Press”, are irrevocably chained to powerful vested interest groups, as are their governments above them.
The corporate grip upon media would undoubtedly start slipping were serious reporting of climate change (and nuclear weapons) to be undertaken. Instead, as the world burns, the press is largely focused on such issues as “Russian meddling in the US election” – a subject which must have people collapsing in laughter and bewilderment in Latin America, Asia and so on, regions all too familiar with what American interference in domestic affairs truly entails.
In Europe, the unending Brexit negotiations have been regular front page news for about two years. Meanwhile, the far more important topic of climate change either goes unreported, or relegated deep into the inside pages. As a result of their inaction, the mainstream media are contributing to the growing threats facing the earth.
In the US, over half of Americans do not believe “global warming will pose a threat in their lifetime”, according to a Gallup poll from March this year. Yet the reality is that climate change is already posing a serious threat to the American mainland, as seen by the increasingly destructive droughts in California and Nevada – and elsewhere by massive hurricanes battering America in recent years, like Harvey, Sandy and Katrina, inflicting tens of billions of dollars worth of damage.
Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
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