By Joe Rothstein
Editor, EINNews.com and author of the new political thriller “The Latina President…and The Conspiracy to Destroy Her” now on sale at Amazon.
It’s really hot where I live, in Washington, D.C. Today’s temperature is near 100 degrees. The heat index this week has been bumping 110. After every outdoor foray I can hardly wait to get into my air conditioned apartment and take a cooling shower. It’s not only hot in Washington, but hot all over planet Earth. July marked the 15th consecutive month of record global temperatures.
On July 22, Basra, a Iraqi city of 1.5 million people, recorded a temperature of 129 degrees. Fujairah, located on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, experienced a combined heat and humidity index of more than 140. How much more? No one knows. Gauges are not made to track beyond that level.
In the Middle East, even where war has not compromised all utilities, making air conditioning expensive, intermittent and unreliable, not everyone can hop into a cooling shower. Instead, the rivers are the main point of relief. Even polluted rivers, many of them sources of typhoid and other deadly conditions. Unusual weather? Yes. But this is the second consecutive summer of off-the-charts heat in the Middle East. If the unusual becomes the normal, and crops continue to die, creating food shortages, and commerce falters, because people can’t go to markets without feeling their faces are on fire, and sickness and death spread because of pollution and heat prostration, what do you think happens?
People leave these conditions, that’s what happens. Just as millions have been displaced by the wars in Syria and Iraq. Then, the domino effect. Refugee crises feeding anti-immigrant sentiment, contributing to the British decision to leave the EU, political destabilization in Germany and elsewhere. Even contributing to the rise of a demagogue like Donald Trump in the U.S.
If climate forecasters are anywhere near correct, what we see now in the Middle East is only the beginning of dangerous global changes triggered by a warming Earth. Hundreds of millions forced to leave coastal cities inundated by rising seas will add to mass migrations of those escaping from no-longer habitable heat-scorched lands.
The Syrian conflict began with food and price riots resulting from drought that cost farmers their land and livelihood. That was a match that helped ignite an already volatile social crisis.
A dozen years ago the Pentagon released an internal report assessing the national security threat posed by global warming. That report said climate change could be a threat to the world “greater than terrorism” — complete with mega-droughts, widespread famine, and rampant rioting.
Last year the Pentagon published its latest take: “We are already observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities, including in the United States, and in the Arctic, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America. Although DoD and the Combatant Commands cannot prepare for every risk and situation, the Department is beginning to include the implications of a changing climate in its frameworks for managing operational and strategic risks prudently.”
The Pentagon knows that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also knows that it is facing rising demand for disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.
In a letter to Congress, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, “We see recurrent flooding today, and we are beginning work to address a projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years. Politics or ideology must not get in the way of sound planning,”
This is a column about all things politics. And very clearly politics and ideology HAVE been getting in the way of sound planning. The latest outrage: the Republican Congress may vote after the August recess to muzzle more than a dozen state attorneys general trying to determine whether Exxon has been hiding the truth about climate science from the public and Exxon investors for decades. A Congress that should be working with President Obama to mitigate the climate-driven crisis is more interested in protecting those who have been denying it.
With U.S. and global temperatures setting new records year after year, the truth is ever harder to hide. Those deeply invested in continuing the charade that the science of global warming is in doubt are going to lose this battle because they are battling nature itself. The only question is how long will it take before all of the political and economic resources of the U.S. become fully engaged in saving the planet.
If Donald Trump is elected president, that day will be a long way off. In one of his more memorable tweets, Trump laid out his position on global warming:
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” said Trump.
Trump’s denial of the obvious would be hilarious, except for the fact that Trump could finish first and will finish no worse than second in the race for the most powerful office on an ailing Earth.
(Joe Rothstein can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) – World News report via EIN News
By Joe Rothstein