Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — If any subject in the world were to be looked at through a single lens, the scientific lens, putting political ideologies and Capitalism’s economic beliefs aside, this would be the subject of climate change.
Many years ago, scientists began to warn us about climate change which was drawing near, as a consequence of man’s actions, only worried about financial returns, without taking measures to reduce the damage they cause to nature, just because these measures implied an expense and reduced profits.
Many countries, including Cuba, have taken this issue very seriously and are taking measures to reduce the effects of this phenomenon, which is now inevitable and different signs are becoming apparent, such as an increase in the global atmosphere’s temperature, long periods of drought in some places and intense rain with floods in others, great hurricanes and typhoons.
Rising atmospheric temperatures could bring about and are leading to polar ice caps melting and sea levels rising as a consequence, which could lead to island nations disappearing and many cities built on low coastal shores sinking underwater.
The United Nations has been trying to reach an agreement with all of its member states for years now, so that much-needed measures could be taken so as to prevent temperatures rising above two degrees centigrade and if possible, that it doesn’t reach this figure so as to prevent great natural catastrophes.
So as not to mention previous protocols, which had very little or no weight when it came to tackling climate change, I will only mention the latest efforts with regard to this issue, which was the meeting in the capital of France and resulted in the so-called “Paris Agreement”, which was signed by all attending countries, including the most polluting, which are the most developed nations, of course.
The Paris Agreement doesn’t stipulate the maximum that needs to be done in order to stop global warming, but it does outline positive steps towards achieving this. The United States, currently the second most polluting country in the world, took some measures during President Barack Obama’s government; however, the current US government under Donald Trump has reversed any progress made and has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, a condemnable attitude, in both political and scientific terms, as the survival of humankind is on the cards.
It’s not just me saying it, scientists are saying this themselves and to prove so, I will quote biologist Reese Halter, who has stated the three main factors that will lead to mass extinction on Earth: human beings, their greed and fossil fuel use, and says: “Each year 5.6 trillion dollars globally is being spent subsidizing the biggest, wealthiest polluters – the fossil fuel companies.”
Halter offers some figures which should make all world politicians sit down and take a long and hard think: between 1970 and 2014, 50% of all wildlife has disappeared. “Now we are being told that by 2020, in three years, 66% of all of the planet’s wildlife will be lost. In 2020! We have a huge problem.”
We’re destroying all life. There’s a crisis of epic proportion. Let’s save nature, please!”
Finally, with regard to US budget cuts in environmental matters, Halter expressed his perplexity: “Water is used for our food and people to drink. Why are coal corporations polluting the water that is the life blood of Earth? And should we remove the Clean Water Act? What the frack!”
This biologist’s anger and impotence in the face of US government policy, which ignores scientists’ appeals and warnings that life on Earth is disappearing, and that we human beings won’t be exempt from this, can clearly be seen in these words.
It would seem like a joke, but it’s our sad reality. The Natural Resources Conservation Service at the US Department of Agriculture has banned its employees from using the term “climate change” and has instead replaced it with the concept “weather extremes”, as if they can exorcize this serious danger that humankind faces by not mentioning it. This is the ostrich’s way, who buries its head in the sand in the face of danger.