After joining blood-stained fossil fuel tyrants from Saudi Arabia and Russia to weaken the scientific report at the COP 24 climate meetings in Poland, U.S. representatives, for the second straight year, used the gathering to promote the very industries that threaten Earth with degraded living conditions.
Profits over pollution – and the people who suffer from it. DeSmogBlog reports that Drilled “investigates the crime of the century – the creation of climate denial.” According to DeSmog, “It tells the story of the special interests that launched campaigns against evolving climate science and the momentum created by this science, starting in the late 1980s and sustained through the 2000s….
“Drilled exposes the campaign of climate denial as a successful public relations endeavor undertaken by the fossil fuel industry and allies.” And, remember, these are companies whose own research identified the perils of global warming as early as the 1970’s – research they kept under lock and key.
Josh Gabbatiss of the Independent cites the obvious, “The overwhelming majority of qualified experts agree that coal, oil and gas must be rapidly and completely phased out if the world is to stand a chance of meeting its ambitious climate targets and avoid catastrophic environmental consequences.” Those consequences have arrived.
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis contributed to The Lancet/Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change. Evidence, IIASA notes, “shows that rising temperatures as a result of climate change are already exposing us to an unacceptably high health risk… “…The report also states that ambient air pollution resulted in several million premature deaths from ambient fine particulate matter globally in 2015.”
Among the report findings are:
“157 million more vulnerable people were subjected to a heat wave in 2017 than in 2000, and 18 million more than in 2016.
“153 billion hours of work were lost in 2017 due to extreme heat as a result of climate change.
“Heat greatly exacerbates urban air pollution, with 97 percent of cities in low- and middle- income countries not meeting (World Health Organization) air quality guidelines.
Hugh Montgomery, co-chair of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change and director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance, University College London says: “Heat stress is hitting hard – particularly amongst the urban elderly, and those with underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
“In high temperatures, outdoor work, especially in agriculture, is hazardous. Areas from Northern England and California, to Australia are seeing savage fires with direct deaths, displacement and loss of housing as well as respiratory impacts from smoke inhalation.” Note the present tense: “is hazardous.” The dangers are here right now and conditions will only worsen under dirty, greed-first policies being pushed by Trump and the Republicans.
Rachel Cleetus, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, according to Gabbatiss, said considering the urgent warnings to cut emissions, the Trump administration’s ongoing promotion of coal “stands in stark contrast with this climate reality”.
Matt McGrath of the BBC caught climate think-tanker Camilla Born, observing, “Climate science is not a political football.”
As Aldous Huxley observed, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)