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Climate change: Not the time for apathy, not for Trump or Bolsonaro

The United States and Brazilian presidents, Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, are opposed to moving in the right direction on the climate. Regarding their policies, businessman Andrew Yang, a Democratic candidate who hopes to challenge Trump in the 2020 elections, believes that we are already too late to deal with the climate crisis.

 

  Luis Beatón

 

At a recent debate in Detroit, Michigan, the candidate went so far as to say that “even if we were to halt or dramatically reduce emissions, the Earth will still heat up.”

“We are coming to this too late, 10 years too late,” continued Yang, who added that everything possible needs to be done to start moving the climate in the right direction, something which figures such as Trump and Bolsonaro are apparently indifferent to. Researchers have long warned that climate change is a serious issue, which sooner or later will require politicians to set aside their differences and come to an agreement on how to tackle it.

The world is heating up and we can not respond with apathy. What is needed is a global consensus with practical steps centred on protecting the lives of humans rather than corporate interests, the majority of scientific papers suggest.

There is every position on the current political scene, from a president intent on concealing the dire extent of the problem, Trump, to the Brazilian president, Bolsonaro, who is getting ready to open up areas of the Amazon, known as one of article letter published in The New York Times, Rod Schoonover, who until recently was a senior analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department, warned that “climate change will have wide-reaching implications for U.S. national security over the next 20 years.”

“[Last month] the White House blocked the submission of my bureau’s written testimony on the national security implications of climate change to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” wrote Schoonover, regretfully, “The stated reason was that the scientific foundation of the analysis did not comport with the administration’s position on climate change.”

Decades of scientific research has revealed a rise in global temperatures and the acidification of the oceans, both of which have a knock-on effect on a large number of natural processes across all the Earth’s systems, in its atmosphere, oceans, freshwater, soil, ice shelves, permafrost and organisms living in the biosphere.

“With these environmental changes,” Schoonover pointed out, “We should expect disruptions to global water and food security, reduced economic security and weakened livelihoods, worsened human and animal health, and risks to the global supply chain.”

Schoonover’s letter highlights the existence of “a well-established pattern in the Trump administration of undercutting evidence that contradicts its policy positions.” A pattern supported by the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

The president of Brazil could be called a Trump copy-cat. Since gaining power, Bolsonaro has reduced the country’s efforts to protect the Amazon’s tropical rainforest and has supported logging, mining and illegal ranching.

Over the last two decades, Brazil had been a pioneer leading the way in conservation and in efforts to tackle climate change, under the leadership of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

With Bolsonaro in power, the country has considerably shifted its stance, renouncing efforts it once made to limit global temperature rises by preserving the largest tropical rainforest on earth.

During his 2018 presidential campaign, the Brazilian ex-military officer declared that the large protected areas in Brazil were an obstacle to economic growth. He promised to open them up for commercial ends.

Since then, the Amazon has lost more than three thousand square kilometres of tree-covered forest. On this subject, the German minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, on a visit to the South American country, stressed that protecting these lungs is a global imperative.

“Without tropical rainforests there is no way we can resolve climate issues,” Müller warned at an event in Sao Paulo.

Against this sharply polarised backdrop, Trump has found an ally in Bolsonaro as he continues to avert his gaze from the issue which is set to excite strong feelings across the country during the 2020 presidential election campaigns.

This anomaly is of concern to U.S. public opinion, where, during a sweltering summer, the climate crisis has been identified as one of the major global threats.

The fact remains that parties are still split on the danger posed by climate change. Republicans and Democrats find themselves polls apart on how seriously they take the issue.

Among Democrats and voters of left-leaning independent parties, 84% believe that climate change is a significant threat. Among Republicans and those inclined to vote Republican, however, only 27% consider it a problem, one poll revealed. The danger is real. The world is waiting for those remaining apathetic to realise this, otherwise, we can only expect the phenomenon to unleash its nasty surprises. (PL)

(Translated by Elizabeth Dann – Email: elizabethdann@blueyonder.co.uk) – Photos: Pixabay

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