Friday, February 22, 2019

Forget the Border Wall Climate Change is the Real Emergency

American president Donald Trump is ignoring the real crises while exploiting the emergency powers of the executive branch to create fake ones. Trump is flouting the Constitution by seeking to finance a border barrier without the approval of congress. The effort is a political stunt to appease his base. There is no threat from illegal immigration and any weaknesses that do exist will not be solved by building a border wall.

As explored in a GMO post at the beginning of this year, climate change is the real emergency border walls are a ruse that threaten both flora and fauna. While the fear being generated around the caravans of migrants is fabricated, the evidence supporting the existence of the climate crisis is clear and irrefutable.

The Trump administration says that erecting border walls justifies declaring a state of emergency, however they don't appear to know what the word means. Emergency is defined as, "a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action." By the president's own admission his border walls do not meet the definition of an emergency. While there is no need for a border wall the urgency of the climate crisis cannot be overstated.

Climate communications specialists argue that people will turn away from the facts if the truth is too scary. However, we can no longer deny that the repercussions of global warming are horrifying and we just don't have time for a soft sell. As explained by Greta Thunberg, "If you have a child that is standing in the middle of the road, and cars are coming at full speed, you don’t look away because it is too hard to see, you run out and get that child away from there."

The task before us is daunting, we must engage in wide ranging climate action and we must do so at scale. The fact that we are rapidly running out of the time makes the climate crisis a real emergency requiring urgent action. As revealed by the climate clock our window of opportunity is closing fast. The most recent IPCC report tells us we have less then 12 years to act. Simply put we no longer have the time to coddle people's fear.

The facts are undeniably frightening, but we must confront the truth and we must do it soon. Only then can we marshal the resolve necessary to move forward with scalable solutions.

Climate change is an existential threat. The truth about climate change is more terrifying than most people realize. At best there will be food shortages and wars, at worst we will see cataclysmic flooding and the planet will cease to be able to support life as we know it. Books like "Uninhabitable Earth," by David Wallace are beginning to tell the horrifying truth.

Runaway climate change is the stuff of nightmares. Violent hurricanes, deadly heatwaves, prolonged drought, increased flooding, water shortages, agricultural losses, mass starvation, war, unprecedented migrations, mental health issues, and the widespread transmission of infectious diseases, are among the impacts of climate change.

Make no mistake about it climate change augurs mass extinction. Around 252 million years ago climate change caused an extinction event that wiped out 70 percent of all vertebrate species and 96 percent of all marine species. The Great Dying as it is known took place in the Permian-Triassic period.

We are a savagely destructive species. Human activity is on track to wipe out half of all wildlife on Earth. People are far from immune they will also suffer and die. In fact millions are already dying from air pollution and climate change.

A World Health Organization report, released at COP24, concluded that at least seven million people a year die prematurely because of pollution, and millions more become ill. As reported in an Intelligencer article, a hundred million people could die from air pollution, and another hundred million could be made homeless by climate change.

People are dying and the situation is destined to get far worse as the planet continues to warm. People are beginning to rise up and demand that governments declare a climate emergency. Organizations like the Extinction Rebellion are among those that are making such demands. Others are helping to organize. Climate Mobilization has collaborated with Anya Grenier to create a document called, Blueprint for a Climate Emergency Movement.

Many people have been circulating climate emergency petitions and some cities and counties have already declared climate emergencies. These cities and counties are part of the Citizens’ Universal Declaration of Climate Emergency which calls for urgent action. At least 40 cities and counties have already declared such a state of emergency. This includes:

UNITED KINGDOM
  • LONDON
  • BRADFORD
  • BRIGHTON-HOVE
  • BRISTOL
  • CORNWALL
  • FOREST OF DEAN DISTRICT
  • FROME
  • KIRKLEES
  • LAMBETH
  • LANGPORT
  • LEICESTER
  • MACHYNLLETH
  • MILTON KEYNES
  • OSWESTRY
  • OXFORD
  • POWYS
  • SCARBOROUGH BOROUGH
  • STROUD
  • TOTNES
  • TRAFFORD

UNITED STATES
  • HOBOKEN, NJ
  • MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD
  • BERKELEY, CA
  • HAYWARD, CA
  • LOS ANGELES
  • NEW BRITAIN, CT
  • OAKLAND, CA
  • RICHMOND, CA
  • SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA
  • CITY OF SANTA CRUZ, CA

AUSTRALIA
  • BALLARAT
  • BYRON SHIRE
  • DAREBIN
  • GAWLER
  • MORELAND
  • VICTORIA PARK
  • VINCENT
  • YARRA CITY

CANADA
  • HALIFAX
  • VANCOUVER
  • EDMUNDSTON

Such declarations are intended to unleash concrete actions in the form of aggressive efforts to achieve zero-carbon goals. This includes everything from retrofitting buildings to electrifying transportation infrastructure.

Recently US Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon announced plans to introduce a resolution to declare a national climate emergency. On Twitter Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar called on the next president to do the same.

When sane leadership returns to the White House it is possible perhaps even likely that we will see the declaration of such an emergency. As explained by Dan Farber, professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, this could give a future president the power to pause fossil fuel extraction and limit the use of vehicles with an internal combustion engine. The president could even use these powers to extend loan guarantees to quickly scale critical energy infrastructure. These are only some of the ways that the president could respond as Farber points out a national emergency affords nearly 150 special powers.

If the declaration of a climate emergency is sufficiently widespread we may be able to avert the worst of the climate crisis. This will save countless life forms including humans.

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