I’ve always thought 350.org founder Bill McKibben was a bit off, but with this op-ed in the Guardian, he’s really made the case for it.
The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn’t care
In the cloud of toxic dust thrown up by the Kavanaugh hearings last week, two new Trump initiatives slipped by with less notice than they deserve. Both are ugly, stupid – and they are linked, though in ways not immediately apparent.
In the first, the administration provided the rationale for scrapping President Obama’s automobile mileage standards: because Trump’s crew now officially expects the planet to warm by 4C . In the environmental impact statement they say it wouldn’t make much difference to the destruction of the planet if we all keep driving SUVs.
The news in that statement is that administration officials serenely contemplate that 4C rise (twice the last-ditch target set at the Paris climate talks). Were the world to actually warm that much, it would be a literal hell, unable to maintain civilizations as we have known them. But that’s now our policy, and it apparently rules out any of the actions that might, in fact, limit that warming. You might as well argue that because you’re going to die eventually, there’s no reason not to smoke a carton of cigarettes a day.
This will, of course, get steadily worse in the years ahead – every climate forecast shows deserts spreading and water evaporating across the region. And of course more migration will follow, in every corner of the world. The World Bank predicts we may see 140 million climate migrants before long, and given the chaos that even a million people fleeing the (partially drought-fueled) crisis in Syria created, we better come to grips. Some of that migration will be internal – perhaps six million people will abandon their coastal property in Florida alone, according to recent reports. And much of it will be international, as people flee because their lives depend on it.
Telling people to stay home is not an option – when there’s no water, or when the floods come each year, or when the sea rises into your kitchen, people have to leave. Period.
And telling people to stay home is not a moral option, either. Because the climate chaos setting off waves of refugees is born above all from the unconstrained migration of carbon dioxide molecules from America over the last century. No wall can prevent the exhaust from our armada of oversized cars from raising the temperature in Mexico; if Guatemala could ship its changed climate back north it doubtless would, but it can’t. We have to realize that global warming stems from the fact that we are a world without atmospheric borders, where the people who have done the least to cause the problem feel its horrors first and hardest. That’s why, over the last half-decade, the environmental and migrant-rights movement have grown ever closer.
The Trump years are a fantasy land where we pretend we can go on living precisely as in the past, unwilling even to substitute electric SUVs for our gas guzzlers, and able to somehow insist that the rest of the world stay locked in place as well. It’s impractical, it’s unfair, and when it ends up with camps for kids in the desert it’s downright evil.
Full story here