Summary: Our human world faces two existential threats: nuclear war and global warming. Yet the public and elected officials fail to take climate devastation seriously. Health justice through financing reform has no meaning in the context of a destroyed world environment. Thus, job #1 is electing dedicated stewards of a human-amenable planet.
Noam Chomsky: Humanity Faces Two Existential Threats. One Is Nearly Ignored.
July 13, 2022
Interview by C.J. Polychroniou
Humanity is facing two existential threats that could end civilization as we know it — as well as other life on Earth. Yet, in the case of both global warming and nuclear weapons, international cooperation is sorely missing.
“Human agency has not ended,” Chomsky points out.
Chomsky: Some of the most careful and sophisticated studies of public opinion on major issues are carried out by the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication. Though climate is the main focus of their concerns, the studies range much more broadly.
The most recent study, just released, poses 29 major current issues and asks subjects to rank them in terms of significance for the upcoming November election. Nuclear war is not mentioned. The threat is severe and increasing, and it’s easy to construct all-too-plausible scenarios that would lead up the escalation ladder to terminal destruction. But our leaders and “celebrated political scientists” assure us, either directly or implicitly: “No need for concern, take our word for it.”
What is omitted from the study is terrifying enough. What is included is hardly less so. “Of 29 issues we asked about,” the directors of the poll report, “registered voters overall indicated that global warming is the 24th most highly ranked voting issue.”
It is only the most important issue that has ever arisen in human history, alongside of nuclear war.
It gets worse on a closer look. Republicans may well take Congress in a few months. In the Yale study, moderate Republicans ranked global warming as 28th among the 29 options offered. The rest ranked it 29th.
The two most important issues in human history, issues of literal survival, may soon be off the agenda in the most powerful state in human history.
We need not be passive observers, content to be mere instruments in the hands of the powerful. That is a choice, not a necessity.
The great powers will find a way to cooperate in addressing today’s critical problems, or nothing else will matter.
How One Senator Doomed the Democrats’ Climate Plan
The New York Times
July 15, 2022
By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman
Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who took more campaign cash from the oil and gas industry than any other senator, and who became a millionaire from his family coal business, independently blew up the Democratic Party’s legislative plans to fight climate change.
“It seems odd that Manchin would choose as his legacy to be the one man who single-handedly doomed humanity,” said John Podesta.
Mr. Manchin’s refusal to support the climate legislation, along with steadfast Republican opposition, effectively dooms the chances that Congress will pass any new law to tackle global warming for the foreseeable future — at a moment when scientists say the planet is nearly out of time to prevent average global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
That is the threshold beyond which the likelihood of catastrophic droughts, floods, fires and heat waves increases significantly.
Comment by: Don McCanne
We can hardly wait until we have a single payer health care system that will provide comprehensive, affordable, equitable and publicly administered health care for absolutely everyone, but that will hardly be possible in an environment destructive of life through human neglect of controllable extremes of the environment, or by deliberate unleashing of nuclear weapons. A civilized health system would mean little in the presence of utter chaos.
What is missing here? We have a responsibility to select stewards of our government who are believers in humanity and a just society, which requires a shared belief in and worship of Mother Earth. We, the people, have to meet our political responsibilities first since leaving the control to others with more hedonistic views has resulted in us being where we are – our literal survival being threatened just to satisfy the transient greedy interests and egos of the military-industrial complex, their corporate and private equity partners, and the other self-wealth-building interests in society.
So let’s take a firm stand on behalf of health justice for all by first taking the essential moral stand on our very survival, which means we cannot escape the politics required in building a just society.