As of this writing, Mar-a-lago has been shut down because of Hurricane Irma. Mar-a-lago is one of Donald Trump’s golf course properties where he has reportedly spent almost 1 month out of his 7 ½ month presidency (at huge expense to US taxpayers of course). Oh the irony! The man who once called climate change a Chinese hoax and who withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement – as we reported in our June 2017 newsletter – last year applied for a permit to build a sea wall to protect his property in Ireland.
Photo : climate central
Reason mentioned for the permit: global warming and rising sea levels.
2016 was the hottest year on record, breaking all kinds of records. 2017 has not been kind either. There has been a heat wave and drought in southern Europe. In Siberia the permafrost is melting, challenging its very name: ‘perma’frost. Nothing is permanent anymore. This is the new normal. There is no normal.
This year, after fatal landslides in Sierra Leone, South Asia has been devastated by
monsoon floods, which have killed more than 1200 people in India, Nepal and
Bangladesh. This is 3 times the amount of Rohingya Muslims killed in the tragic ethnic massacre going on in Myanmar right now. All these meaningless deaths are a travesty, every life snuffed out, every person displaced is a tragedy. JA sends its solidarity across the oceans and mourns every life lost.
These deaths have been politicized by being depoliticized. In the US, newscasters report on extreme weather events without mentioning climate change, because they don’t want to ‘politicize’ the issue. But the hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, the flooding in SouthAsia, the continued drought in the Horn of Africa, are all highly political. ‘Don’t say we didn’t tell you this’, say climate scientists. Why is this a continued surprise? These impacts have been predicted by scientists for decades. Ignoring the causes of these disasters should, therefore, be a continued criminal act. “It leaves the public with the false impression that these are disasters without root causes, which also means that nothing could have been done to prevent them (and that nothing can be done now to prevent them from getting much worse in the future)”, says Naomi Klein in The Intercept.
Scientists have known about these impacts for decades. So has Exxon. Just last month, researchers released a report which confirms that dirty energy corporation Exxon has known about climate impacts but lied about it for about 40 years.
Meanwhile the fight against dirty energy is ongoing. Ireland’s movements got the
government to completely ban fracking in July. South Korea’s government says they will give no more licences to coal power plants. August marks one year of victory since Australian movements made the Victoria state government ban fracking. Sri Lanka’s new energy plan has also ruled out coal. After campaigners sued to stop Indonesia’s Cirebon coal fired power plant, the courts struck down the environmental permit of the power plant. Friends of the Earth Togo just launched a campaign against off-shore oil exploitation. JA’s staff has visited the fishing communities in Togo which would be affected by the oil extraction.