Do We Want to Save Planet Earth?

Answering the Kennedys’ Call


SF Chronicle

President Trump just announced the U.S. will withdraw in one year from the Paris Accord of almost 200 countries that have agreed to significantly limit Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions.

This happened within a day of a report from the Alliance of World Scientists endorsed by more than 11,000 scientists that says the world is facing a climate emergency.

“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”

Is it a coincidence Trump announced the withdrawal from the Paris Accord on the same day satellite data shows that last month was the warmest October on record ?

I think not. Trump’s announcement took the headlines, thereby preempting the far more important climate news to the back pages. The withdrawal is to take effect one day after the 2020 Presidential election.

His administration is full of lobbyists and former executives of the fossil fuel industry in what will ultimately prove to be a vain attempt to further enrich themselves in the face of looming environmental disasters.

The total of 11,253 scientists from 153 countries affirm that” if we do not act or respond to the impacts of climate change by reducing our carbon emissions, reducing our livestock production, reducing our land clearing and fossil fuel consumption, the impacts will likely be more severe than we’ve experienced to date,” said lead author Dr Thomas Newsome, from the University of Sydney.

In fact, “That could mean there are areas on Earth that are not inhabitable by people,” said the report.

How so? Because it is already happening. We know great swaths of North Africa and the Middle East have experienced mass population exoduses from an increasing frequency of droughts that are causing outright civil wars (Syria), and anti-immigrant xenophobia in many countries.

BBC News summarized the report’s recommendations:

  • · Energy: Politicians should impose carbon fees high enough to discourage the use of fossil fuels, they should end subsidies to fossil fuel companies and implement massive conservation practices while also replacing oil and gas with renewables.
  • · Short-lived pollutants: These include methane, hydrofluorocarbons and soot – the researchers say that limiting these has the potential to cut the short-term warming trend by 50% over the next few decades.
  • · Nature: Stop land clearing, restore forests, grasslands and mangroves which would all help to sequester CO2.
  • · Food: A big dietary shift is needed say researchers so that people eat mostly plants and consumer fewer animal products. Reducing food waste is also seen as critical.
  • · Economy: Convert the economy’s reliance on carbon fuels – and change away from growing the world’s gross domestic product and pursuing affluence.
  • · Population: The world needs to stabilise the global population which is growing by around 200,000 a day.

But there’s more. It can cause irreparable economic damage that results in geopolitical unrest; even wars, as countries compete for limited resources. The U.S. Pentagon has been warning of this outcome for years, because it has labeled climate change a direct threat to our national security.

A summary of its latest January, 2018 report to congress showed that it was also harming military preparedness in future conflicts, so much so, that a US News & World Report in 2017 reported, “During his confirmation process for the post as secretary of defense this spring, Gen. James Mattis wrote in the question/response period: “Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.”

From shifting temperatures to desertification, environmental changes have the potential to significantly affect the movement of populations, the availability of resources and the stability of governments. The results can be famine, drought, disease and a rise in global conflict.

Then the question must be asked: Why on earth is the Trump administration denying climate change and withdrawing from the Paris Accord when we now know it is causing  the suffering of millions, and is a threat to our national security?

Harlan Green © 2019

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About populareconomicsblog

Harlan Green is editor/publisher of, and content provider of 3 weekly columns to various blogs--Popular Economics Weekly and The Huffington Post
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