Opinion | The apocalypse becomes the new normal

The images arrivals from Australia last week are terrifying: walls of flames, skies, stained red, residents crowded on the beaches, trying to escape the hell. F

Opinion | The apocalypse becomes the new normal

The images arrivals from Australia last week are terrifying: walls of flames, skies, stained red, residents crowded on the beaches, trying to escape the hell. Forest fires have been so intense that have generated the “whirlwinds of fire” with power enough to dump heavy trucks. The problem is that the summer fire australian is but the last of the chain of weather events catastrophic that occurred last year: the floods in the american midwest, a heat wave in India that elevated temperatures up to 50 degrees, another heat wave that caused temperatures that are unusual in much of Europe.

And all these disasters are related to climate change. Note that I said “related” not “caused by” climate change. It is a distinction which has puzzled many over the years. Any event weather concrete has multiple causes, and that is one of the reasons that the media avoided mentioning the possible influence of climate change on natural disasters. However, in recent years, climate experts have tried to cut a path between all this confusion by using the “attribution of extreme events”, which focuses on the odds: you can't necessarily say that climate change caused a heat wave in particular, but yes you can ask how much it has influenced the global warming on the probability that this heat wave occurred. And the answer is, usually, much: climate change makes extreme weather events are much more likely.

climate change makes extreme weather events are much more likely to

And although there is a huge randomness in the results weather, this randomness makes sure that the climate change is much more harmful in its early stages of what most people believe. If we maintain our current trajectory, all of Florida will end up being engulfed by the sea, but long before that happens, the sea level rise will become the surges in common. A good part of India will become uninhabitable, but the heat waves and droughts, deadly charge will be many lifetimes before we reach that point.

let's Put it this way: while it may take generations before the consequences of climate change are manifested with all its fullness, by the way will take place many disasters, temporary and localized. The revelation will become the new normal, and it is something that is happening in front of our eyes. The big unknown is whether the proliferation of climate-related disasters will end up being enough to overcome the opposition to the action.

There are some hopeful signs. One is that the media are much more willing to talk about the influence of climate change on weather events. Not long ago it was very normal to read articles about heat waves, floods and droughts that seemed to make great efforts not to mention climate change. I have the feeling that reporters and editors have been overcome by the end that lock. Also the public opinion seems to be paying attention, and the concern for climate change has increased significantly in recent years.

environmental policy is the worst thing that Trump is doing to the world. And voters should know

The bad news is that growing awareness regarding climate change is taking place mainly among democrats; the republican base in its vast majority remains unmoved.

And the extremism antiecologista of conservative politicians has become, if anything, even more intense as your position is intellectually untenable. The right used to pretend that there was an intense controversy among scientists regarding the reality of global warming and its causes. Now the republicans, and the Government of Trump in particular, have become directly hostile to science in general. Perhaps the scientists are not actually part of the deep State?

Is more, this is not just a problem in the us. Even while Australia burns, his current administration is reaffirming the commitment to the coal and threatens to turn into a crime boycotts to companies that destroy the environment. The sad irony of the current situation is that the antiecologismo becomes more extreme, it is precisely now that the prospects of a decisive action should be better than ever. On the one hand, the dangers of climate change there are already predictions about the future: we can see the damage now, though it be no more than a small taste of the horrors that await us. On the other, the drastic reductions of the emissions of greenhouse gases now seem to be extraordinarily easy to achieve, at least from the economic point of view. In particular, there have been so many technological advances in alternative energy that the Government of Trump is desperately trying to prop up the coal industry against competition from solar and wind.

what will Influence environmental policy in the elections of 2020? The democrats, in their majority, seem unwilling to turn it into an important matter, and I understand why: historically, the threat posed by the environmental policy of the right seemed abstract, distant and difficult to sustain compared to, say, the attempts by republicans to dismantle the health agenda of Obama. But it is possible that the wave of climate-related disasters is changing the political calculus. I'm not an expert in electoral campaigns, but it seems to me that the campaigns could gain ground with ads that show the recent fires and flooding, and point to the fact that Donald Trump and his friends do everything they can to create more disasters of this type. Because what is certain is that the environmental policy is the worst thing that Trump is doing to the united States and the world. And voters should know it.

Paul Krugman is a Nobel prize winner in Economics.

© The New York Times, 2020.

Translation of News Clips.

Updated Date: 05 January 2020, 18:00

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