“Let us not speak falsely now”, said the joker to the thief in the song penned by Bob Dylan and immortalised by Jimi Hendrix. “The hour is getting late.”
Too late, to be sure, to mince words with those who refuse to acknowledge the horrors in wait as inescapable consequences of the logic of capital accumulation, under conditions of private ownership of wealth creation, in the age of monopoly based imperialism.
Too many polysyllabic words? Tough.
Yesterday I posted Chris Hedges on one of the two greatest nightmares: the inbuilt drive to war of the US economy; a drive now moving, more relentlessly than at any time since the atom was split, to an endgame we’ve feared else shied away from all our lives. That the US empire is in decline is beyond doubt. That those who rule it, beneath a fast thinning veneer of democracy, will risk everything to preserve its – and their – power is scarcely less so.
Now read Media Lens on the other great nightmare.
‘There Is No Way To Fool Physics’: Climate Breakdown And State-Corporate Madness
In the terrifying opening to his 2020 novel, ‘The Ministry for the Future’, Kim Stanley Robinson depicts an intense heatwave in India. In an ‘ordinary town’ in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, people are struggling to cope with unbearable heat and humidity. It is the combination of the two, measured by the so-called ‘wet-bulb temperature’, that is potentially fatal. When it approaches the core body temperature of 36C, sweat cannot evaporate and humans can no longer cool themselves down. Dehydration rises to dangerous levels. Vital organs become seriously stressed, especially the heart. Unless the body temperature is reduced, death follows in a matter of hours …
… It is a nightmare vision of what may lie ahead for humanity in the very near future.
This month, an intense heatwave did indeed hit northern India with temperatures reaching a record high of 49.2C in parts of Delhi, the fifth heatwave in the capital since March.
Last month was India’s hottest April in 122 years and Pakistan’s for 61 years. Jacobabad hit nearly 50C with night-time temperatures often staying above 30C. Exhausted and dehydrated birds fell from the sky, an apocalyptic portent if ever there was one. A UK Met Office study has concluded that global warming makes record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely.
Meanwhile, the highest daily level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere was recorded. On 11 May, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, measured 421.37 parts per million of carbon dioxide. The previous record of 418.95 ppm was set in May 2021.
‘It is very concerning, extremely worrisome,’ Peter Tans, senior climate scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Financial Times.
‘This last decade, the rate of increase [of carbon emissions] has never been higher, and we are still on the same path. We’re going in the wrong direction at maximum speed.’
Scientists are warning that the 1.5C global heating limit set by governments is about to be breached. The probability of one of the next five years surpassing the limit is now 50 per cent. This is up from 20 per cent in 2020 and zero per cent in 2015 …
... On top of all that, climate scientists recently reported that global warming could cause the most cataclysmic extinction of marine life in the past 250 million years.
Her Majesty’s ‘Opposition’
If the news media were not owned by, and run for, the benefit of state-corporate elites, all this would be huge headline news – day after day, month after month. There would be vigorous debate across all the main media outlets, building pressure on governments to implement the urgent radical changes required to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis.
But instead the general population is being held captive, caught in a tight death grip by powerful forces masquerading as our benefactors and protectors …
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