UN Warns of Global Collapse: So How Can We Prevent It?

By Roar Bjonnes

In a recent report, the UN comes with a stark warning: The global capitalist system is on the verge of collapse. Those are the dire implications of a new scientific paper prepared by a group of Finnish biophysicists. The team from the BIOS Research Unit in Finland was asked to provide research that would feed into the drafting of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which will be released in 2019.

The BIOS paper suggests that much of the political and economic volatility we have seen in recent years has as its root cause the global environmental crisis. “We live in an era of turmoil and profound change in the energetic and material underpinnings of economies. The era of cheap energy is coming to an end,” the authors of the paper write. “We face a form of capitalism that has hardened its focus to short-term profit maximization with little or no apparent interest in social good.”

This report comes at an important juncture for humanity, a time when the very foundation of our economic system is questioned. But what is the reason why capitalism has brought us to the brink of global collapse? More importantly, what do the UN suggest as the alternative to capitalism?

The Gifts and Failures of the Greens

One of the main gifts of the environmental movement has been to show us some of the fundamental flaws of capitalism. For example, that true wealth has little to do with profit and more to do with people’s overall wellbeing. The greens have also managed to present a new macro-economic vision where sustainability trumps growth, where consumption for real needs and not mindless consumerism guides economic planning, and, most importantly, they have emphasized the need to establish environmental and resource limits on economic activity.

What the greens have overlooked, however, is the very foundation of capitalism and its power–the alluring and sinister profit motive, the structurally inbuilt growth impulse in capitalism, which will always trump all other visions and needs, unless we restructure the macro-economic system itself. And since the green movement has overlooked this issue, it has most certainly been overlooked by mainstream economists as well as political parties. It is for this very reason we are in this dire predicament: on the precipice of a man-made global disaster.

Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: The Profit Motive

“The most important aspect of capitalism, its objective function, is to maximize profit,” says economist Jaroslav Vanek of Cornell University.1  For this reason alone, capitalist firms do not like environmental regulations; they do not like to be told to add environmental costs to the profit equation. They will fight that possibility at every turn of the way. It is for no other reason than this that greenwashing—when companies spend more money or time advertising they are green than actually being green—is so common. This is also why an unregulated capitalist economy and a democratic and sustainable economy are incompatible. And this is why the very foundation of capitalism—the profit motive–will also lead to its downfall.

Time for Systems Change

With this looming global crisis on the horizon, we have two choices: we can, as we do today, make incremental or half-hearted changes through consumer choices and painstakingly slow legislation. The result of these kinds of policies would result in a Titanic blunder; we would certainly hit the looming icebergs ahead and go down with the global ship.

Our only choice now is to make fundamental changes; to facilitate a democratic but revolutionary change in the economy. This new economy’s objective would not be to maximize profit but to maximize the welfare of people and the environment through better participation and planning.

We must restructure the entire economy, or else the old economic vision will continue to drive economic concerns. We will continue to look at nature as a free lunch and a sink hole to dump our waste in. But rhetoric aside, what is the main problem with the old economy? It is the size and goal of the capitalist market, its inevitable nature to grow and concentrate wealth and compromise human and environmental concerns. This fundamental issue—that it is inadequate to simply reform the capitalist market—has not been compellingly addressed by neither the left nor the green parties, nor the leftist or the environmental movement at large.

Beyond Green Capitalism

It is an understatement to say that our economy is dependent on nature for its survival and continued growth—the economy is part of a living environment composed of nature and humanity, and can only thrive if nature and humanity thrives. As humans we thrive best when living in harmony with nature and human culture thrives in expressing its reverence for nature. But if these qualities are lacking in society then humans suffer another form of poverty—spiritual poverty. With the right economic and environmental policies, it is possible to create an economy that continues to exist and thrive, both culturally and economically, coevolving with nature herself, in virtual perpetuity. Such an economy will be decentralized, restructured, democratic, culturally rich and circular. Here are, in a short summary, a set of comprehensive recommendations that can form the basis of a green economy that is more democratic, equitable and sustainable:

Policy Suggestions to Avoid Global Collapse

Policies

  • Shift planning away from profit concerns toward economic democracy, and social and environmental responsibility
  • Governments to encourage development of local industrial and agricultural markets—this will also maintain market competition but from the bottom-up, which is an important key to economic democracy, to better wages, to a better local and global environment
  • Create an effective global carbon tax to reduce global CO2 emissions—today individual countries have such taxes, but corporations, such as in the EU, are lobbying to stop or reduce them; this must not be allowed.
  • Divest from the fossil fuel economy and investing in a fossil fuel free economy for the future
  • Move towards zero emission technologies.
  • Increase research and development of environmentally friendly products
  • Enact economic policies based on ethics and sustainability, not profit
  • Educate and do community development to curb consumerism by promoting better lifestyles and non-material sources of happiness. Studies have shown that once people have a good standard of living, increased consumption decreases people’s happiness.
  • Enact short and long term legislation to make all farming practices organic within 10-20 years
  • Reduce subsidies to farming so that prices reflect real cost and thus creating a localized agriculture based on real consumer needs
  • Reduce meat production for sustainability and health—meat production, unless based on free range, grass fed fowl and animal production, is the most wasteful and environmentally unfriendly agricultural method, and its overconsumption has been proven to be the main cause of heart disease, cancer and diabetes
  • Educate on national level on the importance of a more plant-based diet as per the latest science on nutrition and health
  • Increase the production, food processing and distribution of fruits, vegetables, herbs, plant oils and grains for maximum local, regional and national food sovereignty

The main reason why there has been little progress in implementing the kind of environmental policies outlined above is not because we do not have solutions, it is simply because there is no global consensus on what the problem is—that capitalism’s bottom line, profit-driven economy is fundamentally incompatible with a sustainable economy. Hence, in order to avoid irreparable damage to the ecosystem from global warming, and to avoid political instability and widespread poverty from resource depletion, we need not only more reforms, we need economic systems change. There is simply no other alternative.

 

1 Jaroslav Vanek, interview first published in Prout Journal, then republished in New Renaissance Magazine, please see: http://www.ru.org/51cooper.html
UN Warns of Global Collapse: So How Can We Prevent It?
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Making the Unthinkable the New Norm

By Tim Shanks

The unthinkable

If a politician a few years ago had been overheard saying that he could get away with touching a woman’s private parts because he was famous, that would have made him unelectable. Not any longer.

In spite of numerous profanities, lies and vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with him, or simply stands in the way of his objectives, Donald Trump is as popular as ever with his supporters. In a drastic departure from established politics, it seems that these vile outbursts increases the intensity of his support.

One reason for this shift in perception might be that, for a change, people see in Trump a person that talks and acts much like they do, not as a politician. For many people, when they get angry, it is common to simply say what’s on their minds, damn the consequences. There is something very American in that frankness of spirit. So when they see Donald Trump do the same thing, they can identify with him and see in him a different person from the glib, hypocritical politicians they are used to listen to.

The new norm

More than being an isolated phenomenon, Donald Trump has spearheaded a shift in the civic discourse in America, if not the world. Ideas that were previously unspeakable are now expressed openly, and political acts that were unthinkable before are becoming the new norm. Restraint and efforts to be diplomatic and polite seems no longer to be in vogue. To be moderate and respectful of those with a different view is now a liability. To be aggressive, nasty and abrasive has become a political virtue.

Down a slippery slope towards dictatorship

The foundation of all great civilisations has been to have a common goal and the cooperation between its people. The more inclusive a society is, the greater the chance it has to prosper. Similarly, all democratic societies are built upon the principle that everyone’s views are to be respected, even if we do not agree with them. Modern history has taught us that when this tolerance is absent or breaks down, democracy is unable to grow and dictatorial leaders, such as Pinochet in Chile and Somoza in Nicaragua, can easily consolidate their power.

People who supported Hitler in the early 1930s could hardly have imagined him as a dictator unleashing unthinkable horrors, not only in Germany, but in the whole world. In hindsight, we now know that his supporters helped him in legitimizing hate and intolerance. And, thus, in 1933, Hitler outlawed all non-Nazi political parties and forced the Reichstag to abdicate its democratic responsibilities.

One may argue, of course, that intolerance and incivility has always been the norm in politics. Speeches that have sounded politically correct on the surface have simply been a smooth veneer of politeness hiding the grossness and manipulations underneath. While the tone may be courteous and the outer expressions civilized, greed, corruption and hypocrisy is often hiding just beneath the surface. Politicians mostly say one thing and do another. As Shakespeare said in the Merchant of Venice, “The world is still deceived by ornaments.” In a recent article Roar Bjonnes points explains how the Democratic Party has often paid lip service to their progressive causes of increasing wages and improving health care for those on Main Street, while most of their actions have increased inequality and favoured the rich on Wall Street. This is a good example of the hypocrisy that underlies most politics.

Under Trump, the nature of the discourse has changed. He is not worried about political correctness. He actually says what’s on his mind. This does not mean, however, that Donald Trump openly speaks what he really believes. Rather, he expresses what he feels will help him at that moment, which is a very different thing. When the circumstances change, or, perhaps, when his mood changes, he does not mind contradicting himself. As in George Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth constantly rewrote history to fit the momentary views of the government, Trump also rewrites history according to his own shifting moods.

But is it not better to speak one’s mind than to think inhumane and uncivilised thoughts while hiding one’s real intentions under a veneer of civilised expression? On one level, the answer is yes. But on the other hand, outer decorum does matter.

If someone lies in secret, one may eventually be able to expose the lie, and the person will have to back down. But when someone lies openly, does not care the slightest if anyone finds out, and not only that, when nobody else cares either, then the entire fabric of civil society has been torn apart. When lying and hate speech has become legitimized, as it has today, then the previous standard for civil discourse has been radically altered.

What we sorely need today are honest political leaders who are not afraid to say what they think, and who do not conceal their true intentions behind polished speeches. But being frank is not enough. If they are selfish or support special interest groups, this virtue turns into a vice.

So the qualities we need from our leaders are twofold.

First, they must have the correct aspirations and convictions. We need leaders who are prepared to protect our planet for future generations, and to ensure that all people have a chance to a decent life. This would mean creating a sustainable society working with nature instead of against it; reducing inequality; and create a reward system where people are rewarded for their real contributions to society, and not by how much they manage to steal by clever financial manipulation.

Secondly, the leaders must be honest, outspoken and transparent. They must tell the truth and not be afraid of controversy as they pursue their goals. Like Donald Trump, they must not be afraid to break with the past and not be worried about political correctness. But unlike Donald Trump, they must do this out of love for humanity, for the betterment of all people and the survival of humanity, and not for personal gain and fame.

Making the Unthinkable the New Norm
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How the Democrats Handed Trump the White House

By Roar Bjonnes

Today, almost two years after Donald Trump became the 45th President of the USA, many ask themselves these questions: Why did white blue collar workers—who have very little in common with the super-rich—vote for a real-estate tycoon like Donald Trump? Why didn’t these hardworking laborers vote for a Democratic candidate instead? After all, the Democratic Party has historically been the party of the working class, so why did a privileged leader of the Republican Party receive so much support from the poor?
According to some left-leaning pundits, Trump received all this unprecedented support from the working class because an entire industry has been devoted to convince poor white Americans that elitist Democratic liberals do not understand them, even look down upon them. So, because of this ingrained, cultural scorn, Trump won the contested election.
This right-wing media industry, the story continues—headed by the loud voices of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson at Fox News, radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, as well as alt-right ideologue Steve Bannon—has brainwashed Appalachian miners and Midwestern auto workers to believe that Trump was the only candidate who could bring them back their jobs and their dignity.
There is definitely some truth in this political warfare and scare-mongering scenario, but it’s not the whole story. The main reason for Trump’s populist rise to the top started a long time before Bannon, Jones and Carlson became household names in America and the rest of the world. Trump’s rise to power is mainly the fault of the Democrats themselves.

The Democratic Betrayal

The main reasons for Trump’s win are many, and they are complex, but the important lesson is that many poor and middle class voters feel betrayed by the Democratic Party. And not without reason. Over the past decades, the Democratic Party has done more to look after the interests of big business than the average voters they are supposed to stand up for. While much of their rhetoric has been pro-labor, their actions have mainly supported the corporate sector.
Trump was therefore not the only upset during the last presidential election. Bernie Sanders was another. He also challenged Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment. Describing himself as a democratic socialist, the 74 year old Senator from Vermont received 47% of the votes during the Democratic primary. Sanders’ major theme was strong and clear: the country has been rigged in favor of big corporations, Wall Street and the super-rich.
The reason for both the independent Sanders’ and the right wing Trump’s rise in popularity is thus ironically the same: the Democratic Party’s lack of support for the working class.

Bill Clinton: The Betrayer in Charge

The Democratic switch away from the working class toward the corporate sector started to increase dramatically in the 1990’s, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, when the Democratic Party moved strongly to the right. Clinton’s rhetoric was pro-labor, but all his deeds where pro-corporation. His “welfare reform bill,” for example, has been devastating for millions of American families. Twenty years after he scrapped the Aid to Families with Dependent Children in favor of the right wing’s underfunded and more punitive vision, the number of poor American children has exploded.
President Clinton’s presidency was characterized by financial deregulation, which in many ways set in motion the excessive lending practices leading up to the 2008 finance crisis. One of his free-wheeling capitalist strokes was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Depression era regulations that had held the economy in check. He also signed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which exempted credit-default swaps from regulation. According to Columbia Journalism Review, Clinton was responsible for “damaging financial deregulation—and thus, for the [2008] financial crisis.”
Clinton’s Presidency also helped destroy America’s manufacturing base by promoting and passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in 1993, with Mexico and Canada, when Democrats controlled Congress. “NAFTA signaled that the Democratic Party—the ‘progressive’ side of the U.S. two-party system—had accepted the reactionary economic ideology of Ronald Reagan,” wrote Jeff Faux, on the Economic Policy Institute’s blog.
While NAFTA sent 700,000 US manufacturing jobs to Mexico, the agreement also devastated the Mexican small farm economy, creating a massive flow of illegal migration into the US. A problem, which turned into one of Trump’s main stump speech topics: his populist cry for building a wall on the US/Mexican border—thus to stop illegal immigrants from taking American jobs and reduce crime– and to abolish NAFTA—thus to return jobs back to American workers. These ideas spoke directly to the needs and interests of many poor and middle class workers.
The deregulatory and free-trade legacy started by Bill Clinton was continued under the leadership of both George W. Bush and Barak Obama. Both of these administrations promoted corporate and financial interests above those of the workers.

Barak Obama: The Progressive Who Sold the Farm to Pay the Bills

Barak Obama started his presidency with the highest popularity rating in modern times, and with extremely high expectations. To many, he was seen as a Progressive who could change the course of America and improve the lot of the American workers, especially that of minorities—African-Americans and Mexican-Americans.
But when Obama’s policies were analyzed by the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, his policies came out to the far-right of the Norwegian Right Wing Party. Hence, during the first six years of Obama’s Presidency, we saw many more hits to the middle-class in the form of decreased pension guarantees from companies, less job security, and more volatility in financial markets that made retirement planning challenging. Indeed, in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, the Obama administration did very little to help the middle-class other than to make sure that the banks stayed open by shoring up Wall Street and the rest of the finance system.
Simply put, Obama’s policies helped the rich banks and their investors while the bill for the massive bail out after the finance crisis was handed to the tax payers. This cowardly act has not gone unnoticed and has helped fan the flames of middle class discontent. According to economist Emanuel Saez, the one percent did much better under Obama than it ever did during Republican President George W. Bush’s time. That might not have been much of a political issue if the average voters also had seen greater income gains under Obama, but they did not.

Obama did not have a choice in having to save the broader economy. But he did have a choice in how to do it. He chose to bail out the big banks instead of the people. He could have done what they did in Iceland: let some of the big banks fail and instead bail out the people.
Under Obama, when the finance crisis caused a 1 million dollar home to fall in price to $400,000, he let the owner lose the house and go bankrupt. He bailed out the banks instead. If, on the other hand, the government had absorbed the amount of debt on the house that was in excess of market value, many of those who lost their homes could have kept them, re-mortgaged the lower value, and be able to pay their monthly payments. This would not have cost any more money than bailing out the banks, while at the same time it would have put more spending money into the pockets of people and thus the real economy would have recovered much faster.
Since the 1970s, income inequality has been increasing in America. Most importantly, the purchasing power of the middle class has been in decline as well. During the last election, Trump cleverly promised to undo the mess created by the elitists in Washington, whom many people felt had betrayed the average voters.
As history has taught us, when times are tough, the winds of the populist right will flicker strong in the nationalist flags and demagogic leaders like Trump will prominently enter the political fray. So, what now, America? What now, Democratic Party? Will you move further to the right? Or will a new, more progressive wind blow your way?

New Direction for the Democratic Party?

As political activist and former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader once said, there is only one party in America, the Corporate Party, and it has two wings, the Democratic wing and the Republican wing. There is much truth in this. As the Democratic Party has lost touch with its progressive roots and the middle class, it has moved to the right and in support of policies that has increased inequality and reduced pay and security for the middle class. It has also failed to safeguard the environment against exploitation by corporate business. However, there may be hope for change.
Columnist for the Guardian George Monbiot thinks that a “new revolution” has started in America. This new revolution is headed by Bernie Sanders and the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young leftist woman who recently beat establishment Democrat Joseph Crowley in the New York Primary election. These Justice Democrats, according to Saikat Chakrabarti, one of their core organizers, aim to “take their seats in Congress…” and to “legislate the hell out of everything, like the Republicans do … proposing the boldest, biggest ideas on Day One”.
America needs a new, bold vision for the future. The old American Dream has faded and failed; it has turned into a self-serving, corporate, finance empire out of touch with ordinary people and in a war against the environment.
Will the new Democratic leadership stand up and create a new American agenda for and by the people? Will we see the formation of a new American dream that will demand and demonstrate that taxes on wealth and carbon pollution will not stifle the economy? Will they stand up against the lies and hateful rhetoric spewed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones and Fox News?
If that will be the case, I would agree with George Monbiot: a new revolution will indeed have entered American politics.
Roar Bjonnes is a researcher and writer with the Prout Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has written numerous articles and essays on economic and environmental issues for books, journals and newspapers. He is the author of two books, Growing a New Economy and Principles of a New Economy. His website: www.growinganeweconomy.com

How the Democrats Handed Trump the White House
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Global Reality Check: How Is Our Planet Actually Doing?

California is going up in smoke. Scandinavia, which includes some of the coldest countries on the planet, has been hotter and dryer this summer than ever before. One billion people are living in extreme poverty, while the rest are using up non-renewable resources at an unprecedented rate.

The impression we often get from the mainstream media, and perhaps even more from the progressive media, is that the world is not only in trouble, it’s actually getting worse. But is that truly the real state of the world? Aren’t we doing better than 150 years ago when kids in Dickens’ London worked 12 hour days and lived in squalor?

To find out how we are actually doing as a human society, I consulted an expert fact finder, namely Hans Rosling, the Swedish author of the book Factfulness.

To understand where we are at as a species compared to some decades ago, let’s start off with a quiz taken from Rosling’s book. Write down your answers and compare them to the correct answers below. You may be in for a surprise.

  1. Where does the majority of the world population live?
    1. Low-income countries
    2. Middle-income countries
    3. High-income countries
  2. In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has
    1. Almost doubled
    2. Remained more or less the same
    3. Almost halved
  3. What is the life expectancy of the world today?
    1. 50 years
    2. 60 years
    3. 70 years
  4. There are 2 billion children in the world today, aged 0-15 years old. How many children will there be in the year 2100, according to the United Nations?
    1. 4 billion
    2. 3 billion
    3. 2 billion
  5. How many of the world’s 1-year-old children have been vaccinated against some disease?
    1. 20%
    2. 50%
    3. 80%
  6. How many people in the world have some access to electricity?
    1. 20%
    2. 50%
    3. 80%

(This is just half of the quiz, but it will do just fine for our purposes.)

Ready? Here are the real facts: 1-b, 2-c, 3-c, 4-c, 5-c and 6-c.

If you got more than two correct answers, you should be proud. Most people score worse than if they had made a random guess, which, on average, would have given two correct answers.

Yes, the situation is still bad

Presently humanity faces many problems, including a systemic financial crisis, a rise in inequality, global warming, the rise of neo-fascism, and an increased risk of world war. It would be foolish to disregard these enormous threats and challenges and pretend that things are just good and rosy. Especially with the threat of global warming and climate change, we are facing the risk of destroying life on planet earth as we know it. Have no doubt about it, the human predicament is serious.

But we have made many improvements

We are often so inundated with negative news about global problems that we neglect to recognize the progress made in the past 50 years, not to speak of in the past 100 years.

If we look at history, we’ll realise that if the situation is bad now, life on average was much worse in the past. One reason for this oversight is our tendency to romanticise the past as the “good old days,” but they were often not so good. Maybe our expectations have increased, and this is naturally a good thing. But in order to create a better future, we need to have a more objective understanding of the past and appreciate all the good that already has been achieved.

Here are some undisputable facts: Poverty has decreased; there is far less starvation; more children go to school; fewer people die in natural disasters; and though there has been an explosive population growth, it is already slowing down. From an average of 5 children born per woman in the 1960s, there are today 2.5 births per woman globally. And the trend is going further downward. If this trend continues, the population of the planet will cap at around 11 billion people. This fact seems to be of special interest for people who have followed the writings of P.R. Sarkar, since he predicted this trend decades before it became an obvious fact.

In addition, when it comes to human values, there has also been progress. Slavery, suppression of women, exploitation of children, intolerance and many other terrible things still exist today, but are not as commonplace as in the past. Even more importantly, we openly discuss these human problems and most people denounce them.

Will the improvements continue?

So where does this leave us? Is the future guaranteed to be rosy? Unfortunately not.

Just because things have been improving in the past 100 years, it does not mean that the trend will continue. The earth is reaching the limit of pollution and greenhouse gases it can absorb without a catastrophic rise in temperatures. There are signs of a shifting movement toward intolerance. Fascistic strongmen are rising up in all parts of the world and the risk of conflict and war are also increasing. With the amount of sophisticated weapons at our disposal, a Third World War could kill more people and create more environmental and material destruction than ever before.

Power is also shifting. Corporations, whose main interest is to make money, are often more powerful than nations. Will this trend continue? And with the rise of the extreme right, will Neo-Nazi groups come to power in some countries? The expanded global cooperation that made the many improvements humanity made possible should not be taken for granted.

What about the gains in health care, improved literacy and reduction in poverty? To a large extent these improvements have been made due to increased food production and various scientific innovations, but with climate change looming and global warming a stark fact, the amount of arable land will reduce and our capacity for food production and increased material progress will decrease.

We must therefore realise how fragile our gains are, how global our problems are, and how little it would take to reverse all our gains. Worse, with atomic weapons at our disposal and global warming looming as an unpredictable crisis, we could potentially destroy life on earth as we know it, something which previous generations did not have the capacity for.

What Kind of Future Awaits Us?

It is common knowledge that we must envision the future we want. Gloom and negative projections will certainly not save humanity. We must therefore be confident and positive that a better future awaits us. A world where the gains of the past are safeguarded, and where the Proutist goal of guaranteeing the minimum necessities of life to all can be realised in a sustainable way.

But given the enormity of the problems that face humanity, we must also not be complacent. The right attitude is that if we all join in our efforts and work hand in hand for change, we can build on the past and create a beautiful and just society for all people, and avoid the pitfalls of nuclear destruction, environmental catastrophe, and massive human suffering. But if we take progress for granted and just allow the present course to move on, a bleak future will certainly await us.

The future is indeed in our hands. Which path will we choose?

Global Reality Check: How Is Our Planet Actually Doing?
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Wait No More! Global Warming is here

It is not uncommon to encounter people in the United States believing that ice bears roam the streets of Stockholm. If they actually did, these polar bears would have had an uncomfortable last few months, with summer temperatures exceeding 30° Centigrade and relative humidity reaching 92%. The situation has been so bad that major hospitals have had to cancel operations because the climate was too humid.

These temperatures, in relatively cold Scandinavia, are higher than the average temperature in the hottest month in many tropical countries near the equator. For example, in Lagos, West Africa, the warmest month of the year is February, and the average temperature is “only” 29°. In Manila, Philippines, the hottest month of the year is May, when the average temperature reaches 30°.

As a result of the heat, the forests have been dry. Thus this year, all Swedes will have to be without their popular harvest of wild blueberries, lingonberries and mushrooms.

But it is not only Sweden that has been hot. There has been a heatwave in the whole of Europe, and in many places beyond. In early August temperatures in Spain reached close to 50° C, one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe. In the UK and Australia it has been so hot that asphalted roads have literally melted, turning some roads into sticky black glue.  In many countries, the crops have failed catastrophically, and the number of forest fires globally have dramatically increased in past years.

The hardened global warming deniers argue that this is just part of fluctuating weather patterns and mere anecdotal evidence. They ask for hard statistics. Well, the hard statistics have arrived.

According to a new study released by the American Meteorological Society on August 1, 2018, the years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 were the four hottest years in recorded history. 2018 is already on course to beat all previous years. Thus the trend continues.

Just as the destruction of the ozone layer was related to chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere, the heating of the earth is caused by increases in CO2 in the atmosphere. The levels have risen by 30% since 1960, and are now the highest the earth has seen in at least 800,000 years.

Proving Theories

Technically speaking, scientific theories can never be proven. Instead scientists try to disprove a theory, and if, after much testing, the theory cannot be disproven, it is assumed to be correct.

In particular, a theory should have predictive value. That is, with the help of a theory we are supposed to be able to predict an event in the future. If the theory consistently makes accurate predictions that cannot be explained in any other way, the theory is considered valid.

If there is any doubt about the theory of global warming, its stellar performance in predicting the future should be enough to convince any rational minded person. Current events—such as higher temperatures, changing weather patterns, melting ice caps, and so on—were all predicted years ago.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity was accepted in 1919 when, contrary to prevailing ideas, it correctly predicted the positions of stars near the sun. Similarly, global warming has also been scientifically accepted, except by the diehard global warming deniers who are using this phenomenon to promote various fringe political or scientific conspiracy theories.

A Hot, Dry Future

So where does this leave us? As P. R. Sarkar predicted, the world is likely to face severe water problems in the coming decades, when water might become scarcer than oil in some areas. The United States, India and China are some of the countries that will be severely affected. Temperatures are bound to keep increasing. It is predicted that North East China, which includes Beijing and is home to some 400 million people, will be so hot by 2070 that it will be practically inhabitable. The heat and humidity will be so severe that only a six hour exposure will be deadly.

Sea levels will rise, making much of low laying areas in risk of being lost to the sea. According to a study by Cornell University, one of five people on the planet (around 2 billion people) could by 2100 be forced to leave their homes, becoming refugees due to rising sea water.

Since much of earth’s arable land is in coastal areas, our ability to feed an ever increasing population will be severely compromised. But even without this loss of land, global warming is creating unpredictable weather patterns—draughts in some places, flooding in others. Agriculture require predictable weather, the right proportion of sun, heat and rain. Without this predictability crops will fail. Given the trend of unstable weather and the impact it will have on food production, we may, within a decade or so, notice shortages of food, even in well stocked supermarkets in rich countries.

A Proutist View

The second principle of Prout states that “there should be maximum utilisation and rational distribution of the crude, subtle and causal resources.” There are obviously many ways we can utilise the resources around us. When nature has been given to us to utilize for free, we can either assist nature to help provide more, or we can leave her alone to do her work. But instead of doing this, we have chosen a path of systematically destroying the free systems nature provides us to sustain life on earth.

In 2005, the United Nation’s Environmental Project published the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment which stated that “human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of the Earth that the ability of the planet’s ecosystem to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.” With the recent changes in weather patterns, maybe we are getting a first taste of what this implies.

To destroy the ecosystem is the worst possible use of the planet’s resources. We need to change our behaviour and look beyond what is profitable for business in the short term. Instead we must find solutions that can benefit humanity and all life on earth into the distant future. There might still be a chance to do that, but if we wait much longer, the opportunity may have ceased—the heating trend will be become irreversible. We must therefore realise the urgency of global warming and act now.

In retrospect, Donald Trump’s greatest crime against humanity may be his insistence that global warming is a hoax. Due to his idiotic position, he has taken a series of actions that are guaranteed to speed up global warming. Some examples: pulling out of the Paris accord to limit CO2 emissions; promoting the coal industry, which is one of the worst emitters of CO2 gases; attempting to use federal power to prevent California to control vehicle emissions; and the total gutting and destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency, to mention just a few. As a result, hundreds of millions, or maybe billions of people, may suffer and perish. The possibility that he might have colluded with Russia to win the election is, in comparison, a rather trivial issue.

Wait No More! Global Warming is here
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