Make no mistake, that a sexual predator has just been confirmed and sworn to the Supreme Court of the United States is deeply and justly concerning. But not even a thing as appalling as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh means anything at all if we have lost our planet. On Monday the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a stark warning that world governments must make “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society to avoid disastrous levels of global warming.” The panel warns that the planet will reach an average temperature increase threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030.
In characteristic infelicitous fashion, the Mollusk-in-Chief responded, “It was given to me. And I want to look at who drew it. You know, which group drew it. I can give you reports that are fabulous and I can give you reports that aren’t so good.” Whatever all that means. But while we don’t doubt Trump will “look at” the IPCC report (or do we?) it is unlikely that a man who has probably never read a book in his life with anything approaching actual understanding will ever read it.
Anthropogenic climate change is established science. It is no longer a controversy nor has it been for many years. People and institutions who oppose the findings of the world’s climate scientists do so with the same absent credibility and exhibitionistic ignorance of a Flat Earther or Moon Hoaxer. That many in the mainstream media continue to lend credibility to climate science deniers by dignifying their stupidity with equal airplay is a disgrace. We are running out of time and the urgent language of the IPCC report reflects this.
It isn’t enough that we must get rid of the indolent idiot in the Oval Office, he must also be replaced by a man or woman who understands how vital to our survival as a species these current climate science findings are and what they portend for our immediate future. Of course we should also worry about and fight for racial and gender equality, and against the runaway corruption in the Trump “presidency.” We can multitask. But time is running out on our planet, and if we don’t start taking that seriously as well then we are rearranging the proverbial furniture on the Titanic.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.