According to the US National Climatic Data Center, the odds of all this record-breaking heat being a random event unrelated to climate change are 1 in 1.6 million. At this rate the Midwest is going to have a Mad Max lookin quality for the grandchildren of This American Life listeners, all cracked earth, thirst, and road rage. Sort of hellish (but how cute would Ira Glass be in bondage gear on the back of a motorbike). We have the evidence. We’ve had it for decades. What we still don’t have is the collective agency, the social power, to do anything about it (the Prius, the reusable water bottle, and the “green” detergent are balms for the consumer conscience, nothing more). With Canada and the province of Alberta driving us into this scorched, tar-fueled future at breakneck pace, Canadian scientists marched on Parliament today to denounce the Conservative government’s attacks on scientific research.
Here’s a compilation of American reporting on the extreme weather that’s nearly indistinguishable from the opening sequence of a disaster movie. Notably, amidst the wringing of hands, no one notices that the engine of our unfolding disaster, capitalist growth, is precisely the point of consensus among leaders of every political stripe — from left-Keynesian to Randian libertarian and all the “pragmatic” stops in-between. All are committed to kicking capitalist growth into higher gear (actually a rather difficult task at the moment, we can agree).
A more global perspective with Christian Parenti, author of Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, below.
Extreme weather from Texas to Somalia may indicate that a new era of climate war is upon us. Just this month, massive floods have shut down two nuclear power facilities in Nebraska. In New Mexico, the nation’s top nuclear weapons lab in Los Alamos is being threatened by an uncontrolled wildfire. Meanwhile, the United Nations warns the Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought in 60 years, affecting more than 10 million in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda. We speak with award-winning journalist Christian Parenti, who argues in his new book that global warming is leading to social and environmental catastrophe. “The weather associated with climate change, extreme weather such as the drought, punctuated by flooding in East Africa, is adding to this. Climate change very often doesn’t just look like bad weather, it looks like ethnic violence or religious violence or banditry or civil war,” says Parenti