THERE is a tendency in Britain to look contemptuously upon the US political system. And nowhere are the deficiencies of the “shining city on a hill” more glaring than its sidelining of climate change — “the missing issue” of the 2016 US presidential campaign, reported the Guardian. According to the US writer Bryan Farrell, the topic was discussed for just 82 seconds during the 2016 televised presidential debates, which was actually an improvement on the 2012 debates, when it wasn’t mentioned at all. Tragically, this omission was mirrored in the recent general election here. “The issue of #climatechange was completely marginalised during the #GE2017 media coverage,” Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Communication and Culture tweeted about its election analysis. This absence, the media watchdog Media Lens noted, is “the great insanity of our time.” Why? Because climate change is arguably the most serious threat the world faces today. In January 2017 writer Andrew Simms surveyed over a dozen leading climate scientists and analysts and found none of them thought global temperatures would stay below 2°C — the figure world leaders agree we cannot exceed if we wish to stop dangerous climate change. Last year, top climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson told the Morning Star the pledges made by nations at the 2015 Paris climate summit would likely lead to a 3-4°C rise in global temperatures. Frighteningly he also told the author George Marshall that it’s hard to find any scientist who considers four degrees “as anything other than catastrophic for both human society and ecosystems.” Surveying the environmental policies of the main parties just before June 8, Friends of the Earth scored the Green Party top with 46 points, followed by Labour on 34, the Liberal Democrats on 32 and the Conservatives trailing last with a poor 11. The environment and climate change did not play a significant role in the Labour Party’s hugely successful election campaign. And though Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn himself rarely mentioned the topic on the campaign trail, the manifesto was a pleasant surprise to many.
Morning Star 12th July 2017 read more »