Commentary: No nation is immune to climate danger

Spin your globe, as fast as you can. Stop it with your hand, wherever you want.

This photo provided by SDIS 33, the firefighters of the Gironde region, shows a firefighter at work during a forest fire in La Test-de-Buch, France, on Monday evening. France rushed to find more water bomber planes and hundreds more firefighters to fight the spread of wildfires, fueled by the hot, swirling winds of a heat wave that scorched a large part of Europe. SDIS 33 via access point

This is probably the week of your life when you can look at any place on the globe under your thumb – or closest to it – and feel like you know what the people living there are talking to each other at that exact moment.

“The heat apocalypse” is what French officials called it. “Burning planet”, headlined The Guardian in Great Britain, where no one is ever hot. “Floods” in China.

The weather – it’s pretty much the same all over the world. Bestial heat in the northern hemisphere. Here in the United States, triple-digit temperatures were warping roads, twisting rails, scorching land and breaking local records.

Tragically, this heat wave that amazingly enveloped our planet was proving deadly for thousands of people who were not born into air-conditioned lives.

Any day now, politicians and polluting special interests all over our planet will start explaining to you, yet again, why they are not to blame for what we are all now realizing is the increase rapid temperatures that threatens to make large parts of our planet unlivable. But of course they are.

Many of us have forgotten how things were – and how gullible many of us were – in far milder times. Scientists in the United States and around the world have warned that our planet is warming due to fossil fuel emissions that are creating heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Initially, it was a problem that Republicans and Democrats recognized and pledged to fix. President George HW Bush once said, “Those who think we are powerless to do anything about the greenhouse effect are forgetting the White House effect.”

But when President Barack Obama’s White House effect was to lead a global effort to forge an international reduction in emissions from coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, some Republicans turned it into a matter of political convenience.

A wealthy New York City real estate developer and surreal TV personality has started using Twitter to show the depth of his awareness of the issues. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese to make American manufacturing uncompetitive,” Donald Trump tweeted on Nov. 6, 2012. His view has been shared over 104,000 times.

Meanwhile, the Obama White House has coordinated a nationwide effort to prepare all federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local government officials, for the new set of problems and potential crises that global warming predicts. would create.

Reading the Obama administration handbook used by participants in the 2014 Regional Workshops on Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience leaves you feeling like you just read a 2022 weather forecast for the catastrophic heat wave. that engulfed the planet last week.

A section titled “FUTURE CONDITIONS (2021-2100)” stated: “A global temperature increase of 4°C (7.2°F) could make normal activities such as growing food or working outdoors in areas impossible. many areas where people currently live…. ”

Last week’s global headlines reported fires in Europe, floods in China – and record high temperatures in both. Drought has endangered parts of Africa and in South America fire has endangered the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.

But in 2014, when Obama administration officials were hosting these workshops that prepared federal, state, and local officials to deal with the perils posed by global warming, Trump tweeted this concise analysis: “This very costly GLOBAL WARMING (expletive ) must stop.”

That was enough for Republicans and then for American voters in 2016 – and Trump is still the party frontrunner in the polls.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addressed representatives from 40 countries who were in Berlin to discuss the global climate crisis. “Half of humanity is in the danger zone of floods, droughts, extreme storms and wildfires,” Guterres said. “No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our addiction to fossil fuels. …

” We have the choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It’s in our hands. »

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