Tropical Storm Sandy is the violent face of climate change.
Over 100 people have now perished due to this storm. Many more would have done so had it not been for good weather forecasting.
We can expect many more of these otherwise 'once in a lifetime' events as climate change intensifies. Anybody in the non-human induced climate change sceptic club should be having second thoughts about now. After all, even former US president George W. Bush reluctantly changed his views on the subject as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
I say this because after 200 years of intensive industrial activity, fired by mass industrial capitalism, one massive weather event after another is hitting the planet. All those greenhouse gases sitting in the atmosphere have accumulated to such a dangerous extent that they are now posing a risk to our ongoing collective future. In the last year alone, we have witnessed unprecendented flooding in Thailand and Australia, massive winter storms in New Zealand and the Northern Hemisphere, and boiling summers in the United States and Russia.
All these events should be persuading politicians of the need to collectively act on climate change. However, if anyone remembers the shambles of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, we're not likely to get action anytime soon - that is without popular, mass based action.
We must remember that politicians are hostage to the big business/capitalist lobby which holds that the unfettered exploitation of both people and resources must go hand in hand. As a left-wing social democrat, I concede that there must be some industrial development but that this must be environmentally friendly and clean. We need to foster new, high tech, clean industries that produce goods that we need more than goods that we don't. We must also adopt fair trade practises to enable workers and small businesses in developing nations to sell their products in foreign markets at fair prices, thereby halting the excessive exploitation of both people and resources. Furthermore, we need both a people and planet-friendly international climate change agreement to succeed Kyoto and one which, in fact, goes beyond it.
A change in the way we live and do business is fundamental if we are to slow down and (eventually) halt climate change. Otherwise, there will be other, far more powerful Sandy's lurking around the corner.
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