Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — For several decades now, scientists and other clear headed people have been warning about the consequences of climate change which is upon us, and the need to take measures to prevent global warming from increasing the planet’s temperature by 2 degrees, which would bring about a catastrophe of huge proportions.
It is no secret to anyone that the main cause and perhaps the only cause for global warming is industrialization, and the consequent burning of fossil fuels, without taking effective measures to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, measures which would incur extra costs and increase production costs, which capitalist businessmen logically oppose, even though the benefits would be much greater than the costs in the long run.
The United Nations, worried about the real danger that is threatening our planet, has held several summits with the aim to get countries to commit to reducing environmental pollution. That’s how it managed to get the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997, which would enter into effect in 2005 and extend until 2020, although it hasn’t done much.
In 2015, another summit was held in Paris, France and agreements were made, and while it wasn’t what the UN wanted or what they expected, it was a small step forward along the long path that we must walk to save humanity.
In the Paris Agreement, every industrialized state member, including the United States, which is the second greatest polluter on the planet, committed themselves to taking specific measures to reduce the emission of pollutant gases. Clearly, every sensible leader in the world is beginning to get worried and is accepting the fact that they need to act on this subject.
For some inexplicable reason, the new US president, Donald Trump, who became president on January 20th, has announced that he is withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord and is taking measures which go against this, authorizing the use of carbon as an industrial fuel, the most polluting of them all, oil extraction via “fracking”, with the ensuing pollution of underground waters, to just mention the two of the most dangerous.
As if this weren’t enough, provocative military maneuvers on the Korean peninsula have put the world on the brink of a nuclear war, which could well end human existence on the planet. More recently, the Fourth Fleet has been carrying out maneuvers in Barbados, extremely close to Venezuela’s territorial waters, which could be interpreted as a threat to this country’s territorial integrity and a trouble spot in our continent.
On the other hand, when military expenses in the world seemed like they were still being cut, in the US state budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal budget, in spite of the huge budgetary deficit which has become chronic, military expenses have been increased to 54 billion USD, which would suppose cutbacks in other budgets, including the social sector.
The most optimistic of us will hope that this budget faces strong opposition in Congress. Luckily, there are still some sensible people in the most powerful country in the world in military terms, and some of them are members of its Congress and other stratums of the system, if this were not the case, we would have no idea where our world was headed.