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Rosenblum writes: "Let's be clear before it is too late. Any government leader or corporate executive who flouts irrefutable evidence of climatic shifts is complicit in murdering the human race."

A woman looks over the devastated waterfront in Tacloban, Philippines on November 24. (photo: Odd Anderson/Getty)
A woman looks over the devastated waterfront in Tacloban, Philippines on November 24. (photo: Odd Anderson/Getty)

By Now, Climate Denial Amounts to Mass Murder

By Mort Rosenblum, Reader Supported News

06 December 18

“Sometimes it seems as if I’ve banged out a trillion words over the last half-century in news dispatches, books and assorted screeds. None, I believe, are more important than these.”

ARIS – Let’s be clear before it is too late. Any government leader or corporate executive who flouts irrefutable evidence of climatic shifts is complicit in murdering the human race.

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman called willful denial of climate change “depravity” in a New York Times essay on heedless greed and hubris. That’s not the half of it.

Bill McKibben, in The New Yorker, outlined in devastating detail what he has watched closely since sounding the alarm 30 years ago. Yet as fire, flood and famine steadily worsen toward Endgame, the world dithers.

“It’s now reasonable to ask,” he wrote, “whether the human game has begun to falter – perhaps even to play itself out.”

As people obsessed on a flash of street mayhem in Paris, few noticed wise old David Attenborough speak gravely in Poland: “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Crocodiles and cockroaches will survive as temperatures rise, but humans will be among the first to go. When? Does it matter?

In the worst case, babies born today may need Dune suits to distill their sweat for a drink of water. Millions already besiege northern borders as crops fail and fishing nets come up empty. The poorest will go first, but the rich will follow.

Sometimes it seems as if I’ve banged out a trillion words over the last half-century in news dispatches, books and assorted screeds. None, I believe, are more important than these.

Back in 1981, the Associated Press gave me a sizeable budget and free rein to prowl the planet in search of underreported crises that matter. I wrote story after story about climate. Most papers routinely spiked them.

I asked Ben Bradlee at The Washington Post for advice on how to interest editors. “I’ll put environmental stories on the front page when water is up to my ankles in the newsroom,” he replied, only half joking. That was, if I remember correctly, on the third floor.

In 2013, I talked about my book, Escaping Plato’s Cave, to students at Georgetown University, describing what I’d seen from a hilltop in Tobago: Mud from Venezuela’s Orinoco River turned the blue Caribbean brown, and blowing African dust tinged the once-clear air beige.

Some smug kid raised his hand. “I don’t think so,” he said, presaging an era of alternate facts. Ten minutes online provides anyone validation to form an opinion on anything, regardless of observable reality.

Then in 2015, I covered that crucial Paris meeting. Delegates lauded non-binding accords that fell far short of what was needed. The U.N. “Convention of the Parties” is known as COP. But COP-out is closer to it.

Another COP, number 24, is now meeting with scant news coverage in Katowice, a polluted city in a country that burns carbon for 80 percent of its energy. In a grotesque sideshow, the United States is promoting “clean coal,” an unproven, hugely expensive process to capture emissions.

China, now the worst carbon polluter, limits damage at home by fouling environments elsewhere. It exports coal power plants to poor countries, strip-mines, clear-cuts forests, and loots endangered global fisheries.

But principal blame falls on Americans, who allow an amoral, immoral president, supported by corrupt congressmen, to ignore what is happening before our own eyes and plunder as if there were no tomorrow.

A fresh report from 13 U.S. federal agencies foretells calamity. Donald Trump tried to bury it over the Thanksgiving break. Then he offered his view: “I don’t believe it.” He is, he said, too intelligent to accept findings based on four years of analyzing hard science.

In American fashion, the report emphasized the dollar costs of delay. These, of course, are incalculable. McKibben cites a 2017 report by 90 scientists: Arctic warming could mean $90 trillion in economic losses within this century.

In the end, money counts for nothing when oceans flood coastal cities and islands while unsupportable heat kills off us homo sapiens.

We know how we got here. ExxonMobil and its predecessors hid their own findings since 1977 that fossil fuels were poisoning the planet. Since then, Big Oil has spent hugely to con the public and buy legislators. Now we know better, yet sales of monster trucks and Chevy Subdivisions (a Dave Barry coinage) spike whenever gas prices dip.

Alternative energy is already much cheaper than burning carbon, even without factoring in the trillions that fire and flood will inevitably cost. But effective action must be long-term. Elected leaders, needing votes and campaign funds, seldom think beyond two, four, or six years.

As Trump the con artist knows, people resist sacrifice in the short run for future gain. Yet without firm concerted action that transcends all borders, we are cooked. Humanity is rushing headlong toward extinction.

Trump is a godsend to plunderers like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, who calls climate change a Marxist plot and is itching to send bulldozers into the Amazon rainforest. Big and small nations alike are fast reneging on their Paris commitments.

As McKibben wrote in that New Yorker piece, which should be required reading before anyone is allowed near a voting booth, world leaders in Paris drew a line in the sand, then watched a rising tide erase it.

Here’s a thought: If that 2015 U.N. conference didn’t provide an answer, consider Paris today. A quarter-million people across France put on yellow vests and showed Emmanuel Macron the limits of presidential power.

It comes down to this. At the rate we are going, we are stealing our children’s world. No leader, elected or otherwise, has a right to poison their air, burn their forests, destroy their croplands or empty their ocean.

Those climate stories we once ignored are now so ubiquitous that most of us simply tune them out. Like taking too small a dose of antibiotics for too long, we’re immune. But what we don’t know is killing us.

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Mort Rosenblum has reported from seven continents as Associated Press special correspondent, edited the International Herald Tribune in Paris, and written 14 books on subjects ranging from global geopolitics to chocolate. He now runs

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+2 # Inspired Citizen 2018-12-06 14:31
+9 # moreover 2018-12-06 14:41
Very sobering because true. If this were Game of Thrones we'd be gathering an army...
+18 # Elroys 2018-12-06 15:30
All political and business "leaders" who deny, refute or otherwise impede urgent ACTION on climate change should be jailed and tried for "genocide" against all current and future generations.

Unfortunately, we are living in a very sick, delusional and predatory economic and social system that actually showers these kinds of criminals with millions and billions of dollars.
As Krishnamurti once said:
"it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society" .
Climate denial in 2018 is the sign of a very sick and dangerous society.
+3 # sriskin 2018-12-06 16:28
Denial, the earth being the sun's favorite son, is nothing less than Treason Against the Solar System
+10 # janie1893 2018-12-06 16:35
The irony is the only species on the planet with the intellect to understand the problem is the species that is also creating the problem and the ultimate extinction of the species.

+2 # indian weaving 2018-12-09 10:01
The Gods are crying for all life that humans are destroying due to their species' overwhelming greed. If the Gods had any power, they would kill all humans now for the sake of all other life on this planet.
+11 # tedrey 2018-12-06 17:03
"Any government leader or corporate executive who flouts irrefutable evidence of climatic shifts is complicit in murdering the human race."

Now if that government official or CEO knew ahead of time that if the temperature figures and/or the fatality rates reached the certain level experts had predicted, that decision maker would automatically be indicted for multiple murder (preferably with no plea bargaining permitted)-- might it not inhibit their selfish decision making early on?

How do we arrange that?
+12 # chrisconno 2018-12-06 18:48
Intentional ubiquitous environmental degradation is indeed mass murder. It is a crime against humanity and it is suicide. I guess asking how stupid can we be has been taken as a challenge not to clean up our acts, but to prove just how monumentally stupid the most intelligent species to cover the earth can be.
+13 # Jaax88 2018-12-06 19:18
Your notion of murder by deniers of climate change in power or for profit has long been on my mind. Thanks for saying it out loud. Apparently people are or have become like lemmings and will follow even a criminal leader over the cliff. Your conclusions need to be shouted out over and over.
+6 # jazzman633 2018-12-06 21:56
Indy race cars get 1-2 mpg. NASCAR vehicles, 3-4. And there are hundreds of races, plus jetskis, snowmobiles, private planes, and boats, boats, boats. No society that is even remotely serious about climate change and greenhouse gases burns fossil fuels for amusement.
+3 # economagic 2018-12-07 20:22
Yes, and just why do we find any of that stuff so amusing? What on God's green earth does any of that do to improve the human condition or even that of the participants, much less to make us wiser? We are as wild and untutored children, tearing up fine gifts that our elders have bestowed upon us and calling it fun. As advanced as we are technologically , we are comparably immature spiritually, especially we in the West and ESPECIALLY we in this small part of the West.

And as Neil Postman said, in "Amusing Ourselves to Death," Orwell got it wrong; Huxley had it right. We do it to ourselves, "getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." (Worsworth)
+6 # sashapyle 2018-12-07 11:59
Trump and his ilk are sure to burn in hell. Unfortunately, the rest of us will too. I keep telling people, this HAS to be your number one issue. Because whether your fight of choice has traditionally been economic inequality, social justice, prison reform, organic food production, health care or race relations, none of it will get any easier when the world’s coasts are flooded, everywhere is on fire, we live under martial law, tens of millions of refugees swarm the earth, and the handful of billionaires who control everything are exploiting disaster capitalism to tighten their grip on every resource including water. I also feel like Cassandra, saying the same message for decades while I watch people just drive around all day buying plastic crap.
+3 # NAVYVET 2018-12-08 22:12
Supporting in any way (propaganda lies, business interests, failure to report real evidence, etc.) the polluters who rape the earth of its treasures and spew the fossil fuel wastes into inner cities and mining villages ought to be a criminal offense, with the charge of criminal murder.

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