Virtually buried under the avalanche of stories on the post-Trump-Putin summit fallout is this gem by journalist Somini Sengupta in today’s New York Times – Summers are becoming so hot in South Asia that people are already dying in big numbers, and soon cities may be too hot to remain livable for hundreds of millions of inhabitants. The story notes that “the science is unequivocally worrying. Across the region, a recent World Bank report concluded, rising temperatures could diminish the living standards of 800 million people.” And not merely living standards, but life itself.
With President Trump’s summit flub, his myriad foes smell blood in the water, so it’s unlikely that the “Russia-Russia-Russia-Putin-Putin-Putin” clamor will subside any time soon. The shoot-from-the-lip U.S. president has somehow managed to survive a steady stream of racist-misogynistic-xenophobic-Islamophobic-autocratic invective dating back to his campaign; perhaps this at last – the “treasonous” sucking up to Russia’s election-tampering leader – will, opponents pray, mark the start of his much-deserved downfall.
Maybe so, maybe not. But Trump or no Trump, the existential threat of rapid global warming, and, more broadly, massive climate destabilization, is all too real, all too urgent, and won’t go away because mainstream media choose to ignore it. An important question we should all be asking is, why do they? The house is burning down, as it were, and our self-appointed “watchdogs of democracy” choose to focus on flaws in the living room wallpaper.