*Despite our planetary climate emergency, the first and third largest economies on the globe are moving at the speed of light to extract and burn all available fossil fuels. The consequences are hideous.
China’s One Belt One Road, a 21st century Silk Road, is linking 71 countries with rapid rail-lines and new supertanker ports. China is spending $1 trillion on its infrastructure to add an additional $2.5 trillion to its 11 trillion GDP thereby narrowing the gap on the European Union, the second largest economy.
This plan requires mega zettajoules of fossil fuel energy. It’s an expansion of the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent, with 1,600 new coal power stations in 62 countries. Chinese subsidized corporations are building or planning to build 700 of those coal stations domestically and internationally. Currently, some of those countries burn little of no coal whatsoever.
The fossil fuel-backed Trump administration is not sitting still nor is it willing to relinquish its coveted world leading consumptive economy.
On January 7, 2014, the Met Bureau added deep purple, a new color to the weather map indicating a record temperature range of between 125.6 and 129.2F.”
Across America, a major second wave of U.S. fracking is about to be unleashed upon the planet. Humongous Alaskan and west Texan oil deposits will supply 80 percent of the new global demand for the next 36 months. By 2023, the U.S. intends on delivering 17 million barrels daily to the world, an increase of nearly 30 percent.
The single largest planetary degradation to fresh water, the Alberta tar sands, was fearful they would miss this Oriental fossil fuel demand bubble. So the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, used taxpayer monies and purchased the 60 year oldTrans Mountain Pipeline for $4.5 (CND) billion from Houston-based Kinder Morgan.
Canada’s new pipeline will supply 890,000 barrels a day to 34 supertankers each month at the port of Vancouver, British Columbia.
All of this “black gold fever” madness comes at a time when Nature, our life support systems, is collapsing from unprecedented fossil fuel heat.
In Africa, iconic baobabs expired from prolonged heatwaves and relentless droughts. 9 of the 13 oldest and five of the six largest baobabs died between 2005 and 2017. The oldest ancient one was more than 2,500 years old. These masterpieces evolved to contend with high heat, but even they, too, have a maximum temperature threshold, which was exceeded.
Crucial nesting habitat for birds, food for elephants, primates, giraffes and materials for baskets, hats and soap for people are gone. No habitat, no food, no animals, no shade and soon, no people.
In the southwest of Queensland, Australia, a beekeeper is hand feeding his hives because there is no forage. An eight-year drought means the plants cannot flower. There’s no nectar or pollen for the bees. The last substantial rainfall took place in 2010.
While Africa’s trees and Australia’s bees were smothered in deadly heat, the South Pole is melting at an unprecedented rate. 200 billion tons of land ice is draining annually into the Southern Ocean. Ice loss has almost tripled within a decade, which means that the oceans are rising faster than worst-case models predicted. A team of 80 scientists also found that the acceleration of ice loss began around 2002.
“If you compare 1997-2002 to 2012-2017, the increase is even larger, a factor of more than 5!!” Wrote professor Beata Csatho of the University of Buffalo, NY.
Meanwhile across the West, large wildfires are scorching the drought-stricken Southwest. Hot, dry conditions are fueling fast moving huge wildfires in 12 states, including Texas and Florida. No continent, life forms or corals are spared from the wrath of 300 zettajoules of fossil fuel heat infused into the oceans. The oceans drive the climate.
This is devastating news coupled with a recent study on vegetables. Led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, researchers found that rising temperature could reduce vegetable and legume yields by almost one third.
Pandering to the corrupt fossil fuel oligarchs and proceeding with One Belt One Road coal and the new world fracking will see civilization crumble within decades. This is insanity.
We have the technology, the work force, the money and the blueprint to obviate this disastrous endgame. It’s a no-brainer: reduce fossil fuel emissions now and end the annual $5.3 trillion fossil fuel subsidies forthwith.
Earth is our only home. We must protect her by reducing the man-made fossil fuel heat now!
Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.