As the US celebrates Thanksgiving weekend, thousands of residents in California, made homeless by the recent devastating fires, are beginning the tortuous and difficult process of rebuilding their homes and lives.
The human and economic cost of the fires have been devastating. Some 13,000 homes have been destroyed, with the economic damaged put at $1.2 billion. On top of that insurance losses could be nearly $7 billion.
Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, Brock Long, told a news conference that “It’s one of the worst disasters that I’ve seen in my career, hands down.”
Leading climate scientists and experts have pointed out the role climate change played in the fires. But every day the warnings from scientists about our climate crisis gets worse. Yesterday came the news from the World Meteorological Organization that the main greenhouse gasses driving climate change have all reached record levels, with CO2 levels at 405.5 ppm, which is almost 50 per cent higher than pre-industrial levels,
WMO secretary general, Petteri Taalas said: “The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago, when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now.”
He added: “The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”
Indeed some leading climate scientists believe that the opportunity for action is effectively over. We have to take action now. Leading climate scientist, Michael Mann recently tweeted:
“We have ZERO years left to take action. Ten years is (an overly conservative estimate of) when we cross into dangerous territory in the absence of immediate action on climate.”
The disconnect between the need for action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and the views of those in power has never been greater.
Even after personally visiting the fires in California, Trump has been celebrating on Twitter the reduction in the oil price and yet again casting doubt about climate change. Cheaper oil will undoubtedly promote more fossil fuel use and curtail the switch to renewables.
Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018
Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2018
The disconnect between the need for action to reduce carbon emissions and the fossil fuel fantasy-land that Trump lives in, has never been greater, and is not lost on the experts.
Michael Mann, told the HuffPost “This demonstrates once again that Donald Trump is not an individual to be taken seriously on any topic, let alone matters as serious as climate change. He is a clown — a dangerous clown.”
And world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky recently told Democracy Now: “You just can’t find words to describe it. And at the peak of the monstrosity is, in fact, the Trump administration.”
He added: “We have to make decisions now which will literally determine whether organized human life can survive in any decent form … But it’s as if we’re kind of like the proverbial lemmings just happily marching off the cliff, led by leaders who understand very well what they’re doing, but are so dedicated to enriching themselves and their friends in the near future that it simply doesn’t matter what happens to the human species.”
“There’s nothing like this in all of human history. There have been plenty of monsters in the past, plenty of them. But you can’t find one who was dedicated, with passion, to destroying the prospects for organized human life,” said Chomsky.
Meanwhile Trump believes he’s doing a great job. Yesterday on a Thanksgiving call to troops, he was praising himself. He said: “I made a tremendous difference in this country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it and when you see it, we’ve gotten so much stronger people don’t even believe it.”