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Climate change is “an existential national security risk” that “threatens the premature extinction of … intelligent life.” (a repost from 12/11/19.)

2020-11-10

I came across this article in “Futurism” today.  It’s dated June 3, 2019, which is several months ago, but it just appeared to me today.  I’ve been following the “Apple” news feed since last spring, when I got a new phone, which happens to be an Apple XR.  So I don’t know why I wasn’t alerted to this sooner, but it doesn’t make any difference because it’s already too late.

Quoting from the article, again: “A distressing Australian climate change analysis has some bad news: human civilization is set to collapse by 2050 if [we] don’t grapple with the imminent threat of climate change.”  By “grapple” the author means “take effective (and drastic) action to reverse the increasing level of CO2 (and methane) in the air.”

As you may (or may not) know, CO2 concentrations in the air have been going up since roughly 1750 or 1800, and as a result, average temperatures have been going up since the early part of the twentieth century.  Before humans, CO2 levels in the air varied between about 200 and 280 parts per million (ppm) for the last couple of million years.  Never, at least in the last 800,000 years, has CO2 gone above 280 ppm.  CO2 levels have been closely related to average temperatures; low CO2 means colder averages, and higher CO2 means hotter temperatures.  Sea levels have also gone up and done in close relation to CO2, with very low levels resulting in freezing more ice at the poles and lowering sea levels; now the sea is rising and swallowing coastal areas.

Average temperatures have gone up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last couple of hundred years, and now it seems that every year sets a new record for the hottest average in human experience.  People are noticing.  There are droughts on land, especially near the Equator, and people are leaving those areas because they can’t successfully farm.

Human movement is experienced as “refugee crises”.  The government, especially the US government, has reacted negatively to these movements.  Our president has made his reputation as a cruel proponent of limiting migration.  On top of his attempts to prevent illegal immigration, he has drastically limited legal migration.  A few years ago, it was common to allow 100,000 people a year to legally (after years of delays and red tape) enter the US; this year, the president has set a goal of 18,000 legal refugees.  Because of increased “vetting”, he may succeed in reducing that number simply by delaying processing.

But all that is beside the point.  Even if the president were the greatest humanitarian in the world, he/she would not be able to achieve a significant improvement in the overall status of the human race.  Even if he were to wake up tomorrow with a changed heart, he would still not be able to change the minds of the one-third of the American public who don’t believe that climate change is even happening, much less that we should do anything about it.

He’d have to start by changing Fox News, which daily spouts malicious propaganda against the scientists who have been warning us for the last fifty years.  He’d have to change the hearts of at least fifty-three senators who follow the Republican party line that insists oil is good for us and coal can somehow be made “clean”.

Worst of all, the only really effective measures are so drastic that it seems unlikely that a democratic society could enact them.  The most likely nation to be effective, if they were to join in battle against the climate apocalypse, is the totalitarian society of China (People’s Republic of).  That is because they have, first, a long-term view of their existence that clearly countenances the challenge of climate change.  There is no short-termism in Chinese politics because the government has eliminated term limits for their leader (the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, among other titles he holds).  The leader is relatively young and has plenty of close relatives to be concerned about, so he is more likely to think about survival past 2050.

The second reason that the Chinese have a better chance than we do is because they have a highly developed propaganda apparatus along with an intense censorship system– thus, they are more likely to be able to shape public opinion about the necessity for drastic changes.  I’m not saying this is a “good” thing, but I am saying that it is more likely to lead to survival for a larger number of Chinese people and a larger proportion of Chinese civilization relative to “Western” civilization.

The third thing the Chinese have going for them is an intense focus on manufacturing in their economy.   The “free trade” agreements enacted over the last thirty years have stimulated Chinese manufacturing and led to an export-oriented economy.  One of the things we will need a great deal of is certain manufactured goods: electric cars, photovoltaic cells (that convert sunlight directly to electricity), and the infrastructure that will distribute that electricity.

So, in conclusion, the future looks bleak.  Especially for Western freedoms, which under these circumstances look like the freedom to starve, roast, and drown as a result of climate change.  China will take over the world and force everyone to live under a system of totalitarian government.  Places that don’t adapt to Chinese control will be in continual conflict with the Chinese or will simply be wiped out.

I don’t like this prediction.  I like freedom, the freedom to express your own opinion, the freedom to do things that  you want to do, the freedom to be sad or upset or frustrated or just plain depressed.  But freedom in this situation is simply the freedom to become extinct.

In order to survive, we must be “gung ho”– a Chinese or Japanese expression which means “work together”– literally “gong”: ‘work’ and “he”: ‘together’.  Currently the phrase has the American meaning or “overenthusiastic” or “overzealous”.  According to Wikipedia, gung ho is a shortened version of “gōngyè hézuòshè ” which means “Chinese Industrial Cooperatives”.  Wikipedia says that the term is an Americanism, borrowed from the Chinese during WW II by the commander of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Major Evans Carlson.  He used the term to refer to the working spirit of the Chinese during their defensive war with Japan, when they made up for a lack of equipment and machinery by using human-power.  He tried to imbue the same spirit into his troops and used it as a sort of battle-cry: “Gung ho!”

Perhaps we should say, “We are free to criticise and discuss issues up to the point where a final decision has to be made.  After that, we need to work together and avoid propaganda and lies that prevent us from seeing our challenges clearly.”  That’s not how the Chinese government sees it, but we don’t have to agree with them.  We do, however, have to adapt to survive or we will be dead, permanently, replaced by a people controlled by a totalitarian government that tells everyone what kind of car they have to drive and what kind of light-bulb they can use.

Seriously– can you believe that the right-wing propaganda outlets and the president himself are trying to reverse decisions made by the previous administration to promote vastly more efficient, and hugely longer lasting light-bulbs?  The promotions were not unconstitutional nor a pinch on anyone’s freedom to waste money on inefficient, short-lived incandescent light bulbs.  It gets worse– can you believe that the president is trying to reverse standards on flush toilets that reduce the amount of water wasted with each flush?  “Because you have to flush ten or fifteen times.”

And worst of all: and this is not made-up, it is a direct quote from our unloved leader’s lips: “The noise from windmills causes cancer.”  At this point, every human with an eighth-grade education should be able to stand up and say: “That’s utterly ridiculous and an obvious lie.  What other lies is our so-called president telling us?”

Update: this post was written before the pandemic.  Now we know that: The president-elect must first suppress the virus with a vaccine and masks, plus contact-tracing by RNA sequencing (an essential innovation not previously widely discussed.)  Then he must face the global warming crisis that is still ongoing– possibly without the help of the Senate.  Stay tuned for further discussion.

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