Jan 14, 2018
For two weeks, bitter cold swept over the eastern United States all the way down to Florida, leading to a “bomb cyclone,” which moved up the east coast, spewing freezing rain, ice and snow.
Some people say, “global warming” can’t be real if we have such cold weather. In fact, this cold weather can indeed be attributed to human-caused “global warming,” that is, climate change.
The average temperature of the earth has risen, and that means greater moisture in the air, which translates into heavier rain. Higher temperatures also mean higher sea levels and higher storm surges and more flooding. These changes have an effect on the Jet Stream, making this important air current less stable and more “wobbly” – meaning that cold air can more easily spill down from the Arctic, while warmer air can move up from the South and take its place. And sure enough, Alaska is experiencing record warm weather today.
Yes, in the past, earth’s climate has changed, getting warmer than it is now, as well as colder. But those changes developed over tens of thousands of years. Today’s rapid changes have been squeezed into just over 100 years – 100 years when unfettered capitalism organized production to maximize profit, letting worker safety and the earth’s atmosphere both suffer.
One hundred years! A change that rapid demands a rapid response and reorganization from society. But the bankers and industrialists who run this capitalist system will not jeopardize their profit by rearranging how energy is produced, how transportation flows, where people live, how food is produced. They are not going to pay to rebuild coastal areas so homes and cities can withstand the more extreme events that hit more often. And ordinary working people, with nowhere else to go, are the ones who will disproportionally suffer from extreme wind storms, hurricanes, heat, cold, fires...
Capitalism’s drive for profit blocks the attempt to deal with the climate change that it has brought about. If humanity is to survive – if all life as we know it is to continue on this earth – it is up to the working class to sweep capitalism aside.