How the Rich Plan to Rule a Burning Planet

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1959 ... December 23, 2019

How the Rich Plan to Rule a Burning Planet

James Plested

The climate crisis isn’t a future we must fight to avoid. It’s an already unfolding reality. It’s the intensification of extreme weather -- cyclones, storms and floods, droughts and deadly heat waves. It’s burning forests in Australia, the Amazon, Indonesia, Siberia, Canada and California. It’s melting ice caps, receding glaciers and rising seas. It’s ecosystem devastation and crop failures. It’s the scarcity of resources spreading hunger and thirst. It’s lives and communities destroyed, and millions forced to flee.

This crisis is escalating at a terrifying rate. Every year, new temperature records are set. Every day, new disasters are reported. In Australia, we’re living through a summer of dust and fire. Hot winds from the desert are sweeping up dirt from the parched landscape and covering towns and cities hundreds and thousands of kilometres away. Creeks and riverbeds are being baked dry. Our cities are shrouded in smoke from fires burning for weeks on end, while on the hottest and windiest days the flames... grow, devouring everything in their path.

Do our rulers -- the political leaders and corporate elites who, behind the facade of democracy, make all the important decisions about what happens in our society -- understand the danger we face? On the surface they appear unconcerned. In September, after millions of school students participated in the global climate strike and Greta Thunberg gave her "How dare you!" speech at the United Nations, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded by cautioning "against raising the anxieties of children." And when, in November, hundreds of homes were destroyed and four people killed by bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland, he told the ABC there was "no evidence" that Australia’s emissions had any role in it and that "we’re doing our bit" to tackle climate change.

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