No scientist would dare link this dry, endless summer to climate change, but we are sweltering in the heat of figures which provide overwhelming evidence.
Amid the sheer outpouring of grief stemming from the ongoing Catalan debacle, I have witnessed several references to climate change, one of the biggest issues that has been otherwise tossed aside by these long and tortuous proceedings. While this whole episode will blow over, the disastrous consequences of global warming will continue to stifle our children and grandchildren for centuries to come. These days, details of greenhouse gas emissions are just published to fill space in newspaper columns, but the journey of the former Catalan president in no way warrants more attention than the vectors leading us to the destruction of civilization as we know it.
Unfortunately, depraved and irrational centrifugal forces are capturing the attention of the public (which is obviously following a road map for idiots), while we’re allowing ourselves to be dragged downhill by some visceral excess logic. Reality undoes and reconstructs itself as some nationalist and religious myth, and while all of this takes place, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has just reached an all-time high.
No scientist would dare link this dry, endless summer to climate change. But we are sweltering in the heat of figures which provide overwhelming evidence. And yet here we are, discussing old-fashioned borders and fantasy cultural identities. Yesterday, Sandra León discussed the ‘opportunity cost’ from an economic point of view, which measures what you lose when you don’t do something, and which highlights one’s short-sightedness by focusing on the obvious but ignoring the important.* Opportunity cost. The economists are ready.
Politicians and American entrepreneurs alike, not only in the Obama era but also under Bush, have historically taken climate change very seriously. However, now that the Trump administration has destroyed the general consensus among such groups, many people feel pessimistic about the United States’ emissions policy, and by extension, the policies of the rest of the world. We no longer even have Paris, because we have been left so humiliated at the summit, like with predecessor summits in Kyoto and Copenhagen. We all know what needs to be done, but nobody has the power to execute it. Once the American giant has betrayed the world, what’s left for us to be able to impose energetic rationality?
China, idiotic. And also Germany, the only sensible power that the West can offer today. That is the new green axis, and the hope for the world.
*Editor’s note: Sandra León is a political scientist who teaches at the University of York in the United Kingdom.