ANDREW GLIKSON. Greta Thunberg . ‘You lied to us’

May 29, 2019

The first law of humanity is not to kill your children” (Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, EU chief climate scientist).   

Following a nuclear reduction agreement in the Eighties, workers of a US nuclear Ftriggers factory went on strike over job reductions. In January 2017 British atomic weapons workers protested over pension conditions ―assuming they will reach retirement age notwithstanding their destructive products. In a similar vein, in May 2019, Queenslanders were deceived to vote for political and business promoters of coal, the very factor underlying the drought, fires and floods which have ravaged them recently. At the current level of near-560 parts per million CO2-equivalents (CO2+methane+nitric oxide), with land temperatures rising above +1.5 degrees Celsius (above pre-industrial temperatures), the threshold of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is surpassed, committing sea levels to rise bymany meters later this and next century. Presided on by billionaires and their mouthpieces in the media and in governments, the children and grandchildren of populations are being led to their demise.

There is no escape from the basic laws of physics. As calculated originally by Svante Arrhenius emissions from human industry might bring a global warming. In the early 1960s Charles Keeling found the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was rising fast, with subsequent identification the gas plays a crucial role in climate change and the rising level could gravely affect our future. In 1988 James Hansen, then NASA’s chief climate scientist, told a US congressional hearing he could declare with 99% confidence that a recent sharp rise in temperatures was a result of human activity.

According to Hansen et al. (2013) “Burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows. The palaeoclimate record and ongoing climate change make it clear that the climate system would be pushed beyond tipping points, setting in motion irreversible changes, including ice sheet disintegration with a continually adjusting shoreline, extermination of a substantial fraction of species on the planet, and increasingly devastating regional climate extremes”. Thirty years later he is still sounding the alarm issuing a fresh warning that the world isfailing miserably to deal with the worsening dangers.

 Betrayal is everywhere

If the story of life on planet Earth during the 20th and 21st centuries will ever be told, the so called ‘conservatives’ (an Orwellian newspeak term) pyrrhic victories could only be reached in an information-free vacuum created by cover-ups and the denial of science by vested interests-dominated mainstream media. With this background, it is not too hard to find what are each of the political parties’ plans to do, or not do, about the existential crisis posed by global warming, extreme weather events, sea level rise and the growing threat of nuclear war.

The pro-coal ideology of ‘conservatives’, including newspeak terms such as ‘clean coal’, ‘feeding the poor’ (in parts of the world ravaged by floods and fires under >50 degrees Celsius), taking no account of the consequences in a 4 degrees Celsius world.  Nor do the social democrats have a solution as, while talking a lot about climate change and science, they hardly listen to what climate science is saying, their plans hardly mentioning coal and gas exports. Australia being the largest coal exporter, where combined domestic combustion and export of fossil fuel contribute approximately four percent of global CO2 emissions. Even a 50 percent reduction in domestic emissions would contribute little to avert the global climate calamity. Lately a social-democratic State government is urgently seeking fast track approval for one of the world’s largest coal mines.

The Greens, well intentioned, have been spreading their policy targets thinly, aiming to become a multi-purpose left wing party, inevitably at the expense of their original focus on global warming and environmental destruction. Had they listened to the evidence they would have leant that, at the current level of ~560 ppm CO2 equivalent, amplifying feedbacks are being triggered and that, in addition to abrupt cuts of emissions, global efforts need to be undertaken to draw-down atmospheric greenhouse gases. Nor are these parties keen to help climate scientists communicate the reality of the climate crisis to the public.

The Sixth mass extinction of species is underway. According to the WWF “the number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats

 When democracies become subject to untruths and vote-buying, the concept is emptied of its meaning. With encroaching global devastation, the rise and rise of fascist movements and regimes and a growing threat of nuclear war, no wonder many are despairing. It takes a child in ‘the emperor’s new cloth’ to cry ‘the king is naked’ and a girl like Greta Thunberg to tell the world “you did not act in time, you lied to us”.

Only the children seem to know.

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