Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the Co2 Crisis?

By David Ray Griffin | Go to book overview

13
POLITICAL
FAILURE

“The response to climate change … is the greatest political failure the
world has ever seen.” – George Monbiot, 2010

“The key challenge is the unprecedented degree of political polarization
that has paralyzed both houses of Congress.” – Rob Stavins, March 2013

British journalist George Monbiot’s statement, quoted above, was a response to economist Nicholas Stern’s well-known statement, “Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen.”1 In Chapter 11, we looked at the folly of the fossil-fuel corporations, especially ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, in preventing climate legislation by launching an enormous disinformation campaign. In Chapter 12, we documented some of the media’s folly in aiding this campaign. Of course, as also emphasized in Chapter 12, the foolish activities of the fossil-fuel corporations and media have also been criminal – unprecedentedly so.

The present chapter, building on William Marsden’s Fools Rule: Inside the Failed Politics of Climate Change, looks at some examples of how “the greatest political failure the world has ever seen” has resulted from the fact that “fools rule” in the global politics of climate change – fools who are responsible for the greatest crime ever.2


The Global Record: Warnings and Responses

Science, says Marsden, tells us that climate change is “the defining challenge of our time.” This description reflects U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s 2007 statement at the climate conference in Bali, “Climate change is the defining challenge of our age.”3 However, the political world has not risen to this challenge.

In 2012, Bill McKibben, pointing out that scientists have said for 30 years that continuing business as usual will lead to catastrophe, wrote:

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Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the Co2 Crisis?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Table of Contents 5
  • Preface 8
  • Part I - Unprecedented Threats 9
  • Introduction 11
  • 1 - Extreme Weather 24
  • 2 - Heat Waves 33
  • 3 - Droughts and Wildfires 40
  • 4 - Storms 54
  • 5 - Sea-Level Rise 68
  • 6 - Fresh Water Shortage 80
  • 7 - Food Shortage 94
  • 8 - Climate Refugees 106
  • 9 - Climate Wars 118
  • 10 - Ecosystem Collapse and Extinction 134
  • Part II - Unprecedented Challenges and Failures 151
  • 11 - Climate Change Denial 153
  • 12 - Media Failure 181
  • 13 - Political Failure 200
  • 14 - Moral Challenge 227
  • 15 - Religious Challenge 244
  • 16 - Economic Challenge 264
  • Part III - What Is to Be Done 301
  • 17 - The Transition to Clean Energy 303
  • 18 - The Abolition of Dirty Energy 362
  • 19 - Mobilization 391
  • 20 - Conclusion 421
  • EndNotes 425
  • Acknowledgments 503
  • Index 504
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