NASA scientist James Hansen was in an August 3 blunt about the future Washington Post article: “When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988, I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet.
“I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels. But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.
“My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.”
Extreme weather is hitting places all over the world, including big heatwaves in the US, and catastrophic floods in the Philippines and China. Politicians and corporate leaders blindly trying to carry on with business as usual are quick to claim this extreme weather has nothing to do with climate change.
But Hansen says they are dead wrong: “These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.”
As news arrives of unprecedented polar ice melts, it is easy to be paralysed by the sheer immensity of mounting a serious challenge to the climate change crisis — especially as the evidence mounts that the capitalist system is unable to put our common future before its insatiable greed for profit.
Millions of people know things are seriously wrong and in their own way are trying to bring about change. But these efforts are largely atomised. In most countries the people's power movements needed to defeat the powerful vested interests opposed to change seem a long way off.
This is where publications like Green Left Weekly have a critical role to play by regularly reporting on, building and linking the various progressive movements. And we are always organising and training new generations of activists to continue this important task.
Recently we launched Green Left TV and we have expanded Green Left online into a seven-day-a-week digital publication. This not only gets out the message more effectively but also reaches out to and organises more people. We’re committed to promoting all attempts to unite the different groups and individuals working for change.
In the month since the launch of Green Left TV on July 7, it has produced three episodes of the Green Left Report and more than 70 short videos. Many more short films are in the works.
Activists around the country have started making videos and learning to film and edit along the way. An amazing $30,465 has been raised to support Green Left TV. This is half of our $60,000 two-month target. The money raised will contribute to our Green Left Fighting Fund and also help pay for better equipment (cameras, lighting, mics and editing computers) for our enthusiastic Green Left TV crews.
A measure of this enthusiasm was shown when Green Left TV’s Daryl Davies climbed 60 metres to interview tree-sit protester Miranda Gibson — who is in the eighth month of her indefinite campaign to have Tasmania's old growth forests protected from logging. You can follow Gibson on her blog at observertree.org.
You can make a donation online at greenleft.org.au or make a direct deposit to: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 00901992. Otherwise, you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007 or donate on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206.