Thursday, November 29, 2012

Into the Frying Pan

Trey Smith

What if the leaders of the United States -- and by leaders I mean the generals in the Pentagon, the corporate executives of the country’s largest enterprises, and the top officials in government -- have secretly concluded that while world-wide climate change is indeed going to be catastrophic, the US, or more broadly speaking, North America, is fortuitously situated to come out on top in the resulting global struggle for survival?

I’m not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but this horrifying thought came to me yesterday as I batted away yet another round of ignorant rants from people who insist against all logic that climate change is a gigantic fraud being perpetrated, variously, by a conspiracy of the oil companies who allegedly want to benefit from carbon credit trading, the scientific community, which allegedly is collectively selling out and participating in some world-wide system of omerta in order to get grants, or the world socialist conspiracy, which of course, is trying to destroy capitalism), or all the above. (God, whenever I write anything on climate change these people hit me with flame-mail like mayflies spattering a car windshield in mating season!)

What prompted me to this dark speculation about an American conspiracy of inaction was the seemingly incomprehensible failure of the US -- in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Earth is heating up at an accelerating rate, and that we are in danger of soon reaching a point of no return where the process feeds itself -- to do anything to reduce either this country’s annual production of more atmospheric CO2, or to promote some broader international agreement to slow the production of greenhouse gases.

It seems insane that this nation’s leaders, corporate and political, would even now still be deliberately refusing to take action to protect the Earth, which of course they and their children and grandchildren will also have to live on, and yet almost to a one they are on the side of the deniers or the delayers. The business leaders for example overwhelmingly provided campaign funding to the Republicans -- a party that makes jokes about global warming and openly urges more burning of coal.
For the record, I don't think this notion is that unthinkable. Within the past few weeks, I've read that both the World Bank AND the Pentagon have issued reports that treat climate change as a given. It is more than obvious that a lot of the world's leading capitalists are aware that climate change is real and coming our way soon, but this acceptance has been met with idle yawns. 

So, it stands to reason that they must see a huge profit angle to the crisis. If you are certain that you will make money hand over fist, why would you not hasten it along? The sooner it arrives, the sooner you strike oil.

As Lindorff writes, how else can one rationally comprehend this seeming reticence to impending calamity?

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