Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: Noam Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm

Posted 6 months ago on March 11, 2014, 6:08 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5763)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Noam Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 11:23 By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Report

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/22390-noam-chomsky-from-hiroshima-to-fukushima-vietnam-to-fallujah-state-power-ignores-its-massive-harm

World-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky traveled to Japan last week ahead of the three-year anniversary of the Fukushima crisis. Chomsky, now 85 years old, met with Fukushima survivors, including families who evacuated the area after the meltdown. "[It’s] particularly horrifying that this is happening in Japan with its unique, horrendous experiences with the impact of nuclear explosions, which we don’t have to discuss," Chomsky says. "And it’s particularly horrifying when happening to children — but unfortunately, this is what happens all the time."

TRANSCRIPT:

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We end our Fukushima anniversary special with the words of world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author, MITProfessor Noam Chomsky, who also traveled to Tokyo last week. Noam Chomsky is now 85 years old. He met with survivors from Fukushima, including families who evacuated the area. Their meeting was filmed by the independent online media channel, OurPlanet-TV. This is Professor Chomsky speaking in Japan.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Particularly horrifying that this is happening in Japan, with its unique, horrendous experiences with the effect of the nuclear explosions, which we don’t have to discuss. And, of course, it’s particularly horrifying when it’s happening to children, who are defenseless and innocent. But, unfortunately, this is what happens all the time. I mean, I had two daughters about—when they were about the age of your daughter, they would come home from school telling us how in school they were taught to hide under desks in case there was a nuclear war. This was right after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world came very close to nuclear war. And children were very upset. I mean, I knew children who were friends of families who were sure they were never going to survive because the world was going to be destroyed by a nuclear war. But the official line was: "Don’t worry; everything is under control." The same was true—again, my daughters, when they were about her age, we stopped feeding them milk, because the scientists, who were concerned, recognized that there was a very high level of strontium-90 in the milk that was coming from atomic explosions the U.S. was carrying out, many open-air explosions. And the government assured everyone that there was no problem, but we just—a lot of people, like us, just stopped feeding the children, gave them only powdered milk, which came from before the explosions.

It happens all the time. So, right now, for example, in Iraq, there is a city, Fallujah, which was attacked by U.S. forces using weapons that no one understands, but they leave a high level of radiation. And there’s studies by Iraqi and American doctors showing a very high level of cancer among children, far higher than before, in the whole neighborhood of Fallujah. But the government denies it. The U.S. government denies it. The Iraqi government doesn’t function. The international organizations refuse to look. So it’s all being carried out by independent organizations and citizens’ groups.

And this is simply everywhere. I mean, in 1961, the United States began chemical warfare in Vietnam, South Vietnam, chemical warfare to destroy crops and livestock. That went on for seven years. The level of poison—they used the most extreme carcinogen known: dioxin. And this went on for years. There’s enormous effects in South Vietnam. There are children today being born in Saigon hospitals, deformed children, and horrible deformations. Government refuses to investigate. They’ve investigated effects on American soldiers, but not on the South Vietnamese. And there’s almost no study of it, except for independent citizens’ groups.

It’s—can add case after case, but it’s a horrifying story, and particularly horrifying for you because you’re suffering from it. But that’s the way governments operate: They protect themselves from their own citizens. Governments regard their own citizens as their main enemy, and they have to be—protect themselves. That’s why you have state secret laws. Citizens are not supposed to know what their government is doing to them. Just to give one final example, when Edward Snowden’s revelations appeared, the head of U.S. intelligence, James Clapper, testified before Congress that no telephone communications of Americans are being monitored. It was an outlandish lie. Lying to Congress is a felony; should go to jail for years. Not a word. Governments are supposed to lie to their citizens.

AMY GOODMAN: Author and MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, speaking during his visit to Tokyo last week. Special thanks to OurPlanet-TV. You can visit our website to see our three days of coverage from Tokyo, Japan, at democracynow.org.

Well, we’re on the road again. Tonight, I’ll be speaking at UMass Amherst, at Bowker Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. On Thursday, I’ll be in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University in Cline Library at 7:00 p.m., Friday in Santa Fe speaking at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. And on Saturday, I’ll be speaking in Denver, Colorado, at 7:00 p.m. Then to St. Louis the following Saturday, on March 29th. Check it out at alldemocracynow.org.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.


Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Three Years Later: Who Is Responsible?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 11:48 By Jessica Desvarieux, The Real News Network | Video Interview

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22394-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-three-years-later-who-is-responsible

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jXu0dUBFws4


Deadly Fukushima Crisis Further Corrodes Viability of Nuclear Energy

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:08 By H Patricia Hynes, Truthout | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/21551-deadly-fukushima-crisis-further-corrodes-viability-of-nuclear-energy


Study: Nuclear Reactors Are Toxic to Surrounding Areas, Especially With Age

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 09:06 By Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22324-study-nuclear-reactors-are-toxic-to-surrounding-areas-especially-as-plants-age

5 Comments

5 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5763) 6 months ago

Banks Seek To Sway Critical GAO Report

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 09:51
By Alison Fitzgerald, The Center for Public Integrity | Report

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22556-banks-seek-to-sway-critical-gao-report

Lobbyists are working hard to get ahead of a critically important report by the government’s internal watchdog that may determine how banks are regulated in the future.

The Government Accountability Office was asked by Congress to determine whether the nation’s largest banks are able to borrow money at lower rates than smaller institutions because of the view that the government will bail out the behemoths or pay off their creditors in a crisis. The study, the second of two related reports, is due out later this year.

The big banks and their lobbyists have been building an arsenal of reports and academic studies that argue recent regulations have reduced their advantage as “systemically important” fiscal institutions and that there is no need for further regulation.

But the big banks will have a rough time arguing that they receive no market subsidy.

Major reports by organizations including the International Monetary Fund have concluded that the market confers a funding advantage of as much as 80 basis points — the equivalent of a 0.8 percentage point discount on a loan — on giant banks perceived to have special protections from their governments.

Bloomberg News calculated that an 80 basis point advantage could add up to an $83 billion-a-year subsidy for the top six U.S. banks that have been deemed systemically important.

The report was requested by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and David Vitter, R-La., who have been pushing legislation that would raise the capital standards for giant U.S. banks to 15 percent from the current 6 percent.

In the past year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have released reports that argue that any cost advantage they had during the financial crisis has shrunk with the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act.

Michel Araten, a JPMorgan analyst until he retired in June, wrote a paper while at the bank that argued the subsidy has shrunk to about 18 basis points since Dodd-Frank passed. This, he said, will likely get smaller because of new regulations that will result in the liquidation rather than the bailing out of major banks in future crises.

Since he left to start his own consulting firm, he wrote another paper that refutes studies that use credit ratings to argue that the market gives a too-big-to-fail advantage.

Araten now consults with nonprofits and with The Clearing House, a nonprofit payments service company owned by the world’s largest commercial banks that has turned to a well-regarded academic economist to make its case.

The Clearing House paid for a study by University of Chicago Economist and former Federal Reserve Governor Randall Kroszner, in which he pokes holes in the major studies that have found a market advantage for big banks caused by the implied government guarantee. Araten, who now runs a consulting firm, also does work with The Clearing House.

The Clearing House, which also has an advocacy and research arm, also launched a series of in-house working papers on touting the value of mega-banks and released a paper detailing what it called “10 Myths” about systemically important banks that reads like a list of talking points.

Bank lobbyists were able to point to only one independent academic research team that has found that the mega-bank market advantage diminished because of Dodd-Frank rules. Ken Cyree of the University of Mississippi and Bhanu Balasubramanian of the University of Akron published a paper in November that concluded that Dodd-Frank "has been effective in reducing, but not eliminating, the size of too-big-to-fail discounts."

Cyree said he gets no funding from the financial industry.

Simon Johnson, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology who advocates breaking up the big banks, argues that banks labeled as systemically important have a market advantage simply by virtue of having that designation.

He warned the Senate Banking Committee in a hearing last week that the GAO would be bombarded with studies from biased sources.

The outcome of the GAO study is crucial because it will have a major influence over future regulations that will determine how much risk the big banks can take on and how much bigger they’ll be able to grow.

Lobbying the GAO is somewhat unusual, and it wasn’t something that the Congress considered when it wrote the rules governing lobbying disclosure. The research agency isn’t even covered by federal disclosure requirements.

“It’s a sharp strategy, if you know what you’re doing,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist on government ethics at Public Citizen. GAO auditors are experts in their field, Holman said, so “a lobbyist who can speak their language — such as providing accurate numbers — can influence their findings and research.”

The financial industry spends more on federal lobbying than any other, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics. Financial firms, including banks, hedge funds, mortgage lenders and insurers, last year spent $87.5 million on lobbying from January to through September, the most recent available records show.

GAO reports are considered a gold standard of nonpartisan analysis: the agency’s findings wield great influence because of the perception that it is not subject to outside lobbying and influence.

The GAO hasn’t even completed its methodology for the study, said Lawrance Evans, the director of financial markets at the agency. He declined to say what studies he’s been provided and by whom, but said he fully expects to hear from all the financial institutions that could be affected by the report.

“There’s a significant amount of interest in this particular GAO report,” he said.

Several bank lobbyists declined to say whether they had provided reports directly to the GAO. However, two lobbyists who asked that their names not be used said their organizations were ensuring the reports were well-publicized so they were certain to be noticed by Evans’ and his team.

Evans, in an interview, said GAO economists will conduct their own empirical analysis of the market conditions for big bank borrowing, in addition to analyzing the research that’s already been done.

“When we get information from different parties, we’re aware of the conflicts of interest,” he said.

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing last week, Brown urged Evans to be mindful of the sources of the research he uses for his study.

“We need to sort out sensible analysis from sophisticated lobbying,” he said.

This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, independent investigative news outlet. For more of its stories on this topic go to publicintegrity.org.

 This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.
[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5763) 6 months ago

Sri Lanka Bans Monsanto Herbicide Citing Potential Link to Deadly Kidney Disease

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:29
By Sasha Chavkin, The Center for Public Integrity | Report

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22563-sri-lanka-bans-monsanto-herbicide-citing-potential-link-to-deadly-kidney-disease

Concerned the chemical may be linked to a kidney disease killing agricultural workers, Sri Lanka this week ordered a ban on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide Roundup.

The move comes weeks after publication of a new study in Sri Lanka suggesting glyphosate as the leading culprit for the illness. The paper did not provide new scientific evidence, but laid out a detailed theory that the use of glyphosate in areas with heavy metals in the drinking water is causing the chronic kidney disease. Roundup is the top selling herbicide in the world, and Monsanto said the newest study is built upon untested theory rather than hard data.

“Glyphosate acts as a carrier or a vector of these heavy metals to the kidney,” said Dr. Channa Jayasumana, the study’s principal author.

For more than two years, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has examined a mysterious form of kidney disease that has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. The malady is suspected by scientists to be caused by a combination of factors including chronic dehydration from hard labor in tropical heat and exposure to toxins such as pesticides, but its origins have yet to be fully uncovered.

Wednesday’s announcement by Sri Lanka was the most dramatic measure taken to date to combat the illness. The legislature in El Salvador approved a ban on dozens of agrochemicals including glyphosate last September, but the proposal has so far not been signed into law.

“An investigation carried out by medical specialists and scientists has revealed that kidney disease was mainly caused by glyphosate,” Special Projects Minister S.M Chandrasena told reporters in Sri Lanka. “President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the immediate removal of glyphosate from the local market soon after he was told of the contents of the report.”

Roundup is used all over the world, including in countless areas that do not suffer from this distinct form of kidney disease.

“There are no epidemiologic studies suggesting that exposures to glyphosate-based products are associated with renal disorders either in Sri Lanka or elsewhere,” said Monsanto spokesman Thomas Helscher. “The paper presents a theory, the theory has not been tested, and there are a significant number of publications supported by data that make the Jayasumana hypothesis quite unlikely to be correct.”

Sri Lanka’s ban represents a triumph for Jayasumana, a researcher who has long insisted that pesticides and the heavy metals arsenic and cadmium are responsible for the disease.

While he has transformed in Sri Lanka from a resented outsider — a government official once denounced his theories as “arsenic terrorism” — to a respected voice in official policy, some scientists question the evidence behind the pesticide theories, considering them plausible but largely unproven.

Jayasumana’s study does not include laboratory or field tests, and appeared in a little-known “open access” journal in which publishing fees are paid by the authors.

"Banning of pesticides is to be supported under the precautionary principle, since they may be potentially related to CKD," said Dr. Catharina Wesseling of the Program on Work, Environment and Health in Central America (SALTRA). "However, although beneficial for worker's health, we should not expect that this will solve the epidemic in Central America."

Jayasumana’s article contends that glyphosate, which forms powerful chemical bonds with heavy metals, enters into compounds that persist in drinking water until they break down in people’s kidneys. It is the combination of heavy water and Roundup or other glyphosate products, he argued, that places the population at risk.

“I think we can explain the geographical distribution as well as the time problem with our hypothesis,” Jayasumana said, in reference to the epidemic’s unusual geography and its surge in all of the affected regions during the 1990s.

Jayasumana contends Monsanto failed in its obligations to warn the public of the health risks posed by glyphosate when used in areas with heavy water. Glyphosate was originally patented as a chelating agent — a substance useful for its ability to form strong chemical bonds with metals — so Monsanto was aware of these properties, Jayasumana said.

“I don’t see any warnings on the bottle or on the label,” he said. “I feel it’s a fault by Monsanto.”

Official studies in Sri Lanka have found heavy metals and pesticides including glyphosate in the environment of affected areas and in urine samples of kidney patients. One study published last August by Sri Lankan health officials in partnership with the World Health Organization found that urine samples of sick patients had elevated levels of cadmium, and that 65 percent of patients’ urine samples also had traces of glyphosate.

El Salvador has also identified traces of heavy metals in a small number of affected communities, and glyphosate is used widely in the country. Dr. Carlos Orantes, the director of El Salvador’s national research program into the epidemic, said his team is working on developing a map of areas with hard water within El Salvador’s borders.

“Our primary principal is to protect human lives,” said Orantes, a proponent of banning pesticides including glyphosate in El Salvador.

This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, independent investigative news outlet. For more of its stories on this topic go to publicintegrity.org.

 This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.
[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5763) 6 months ago

Rachel Maddow | Oil Companies Dumping Radioactive Waste in North Dakota

Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:29 By Rachel Maddow, MSNBC | Video Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22445-rachel-maddow-oil-companies-dumping-radioactive-waste-in-north-dakota

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5763) 6 months ago

Accounting for a Decade of Global War

Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00 By Vincent Warren, Truthout | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/22438-accounting-for-a-decade-of-global-war

The United Nations will be reviewing US compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights today and tomorrow. US arguments to the contrary, its record includes violations that must be sanctioned.

Organizers in Iraq have been gathering reports from areas exposed to US weapons containing depleted uranium. In Fallujah, the levels of highly toxic materials are reportedly so high that Iraqi parliamentarians debated in 2011 whether such attacks with these lasting effects constituted genocide. A doctor at a Fallujah maternity hospital reported last year that the rate of deformities is so high that up to a dozen babies or fetuses die every month because of missing organs. In Basra alone, the estimated volume of scraps of depleted uranium from the 1991 and 2003 invasions combined was 46,000 tons, with warnings that the metal and contamination have spread.

Today and tomorrow, the United Nations will review the United States' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which requires signatories to respect individual rights to (among others) life, due process and fair trials. The review comes as the Obama administration weighs its options for winding down the war in Afghanistan and in the long wake of the president's acknowledgment last spring that "a perpetual war [will] alter our country in troubling ways." The truth is, the United States has already changed in profound ways as a result of a decade-plus of global war, and US war-making has profoundly altered the lives of those outside of our country. We cannot simply end the "war on terror"; we must grapple with the world it has created.

The Center for Constitutional Rights reported to the UN Human Rights Committee on US compliance with the ICCPR in key areas that relate to our work, urging the committee to hold the United States accountable for its failures. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has yet to address the far-reaching and multi-generational public health crisis resulting from toxic weaponry and waste; it has failed to accurately calculate the number of casualties, both civilian and combatant, that independent estimates suggest are approximately 1 million; and it has ignored the heightened effects of war on children, including the fact that 60 percent of casualties caused by unexploded submunitions in Iraq were children under 15. And yet, the United States insists the ICCPR does not apply outside its territory - a position the UN Committee previously rejected. It would be an anemic covenant that required a self-proclaimed superpower to respect individual rights only within its own borders.

The post-9/11 crimes committed by the United States did not occur only in recognized war zones, such as Iraq and Afghanistan; US policy now treats anywhere and everywhere in the world as a potential battlefield. Nasser Al-Aulaqi lost his 16-year-old grandson, Abdulrahman, to a US drone as a result of President Obama's targeted killing program, just as thousands of families in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere have similarly lost their loved ones. One hundred fifty-five men remain arbitrarily detained at Guantanamo, 77 of whom have been cleared for release for years and many of whom continue to be subjected to solitary confinement, force-feeding and other degrading treatment, such as genital searches before and after being moved for attorney meetings and family phone calls. Guantanamo persists, despite Obama's recommitment in May 2013 to closing it. And, despite lifting his self-imposed ban on transfers to Yemen more than eight months ago, Obama has yet to transfer anyone from Guantanamo to Yemen. Nearly two-thirds of the remaining detainees are Yemeni citizens; the prison is devolving into a detention facility that exclusively holds men of Yemeni descent.

Here at home, the United States essentially has abandoned its veterans to post-deployment psychological trauma and service-related illnesses. If that weren't enough, the United States is replicating some of the same abuses found at Guantanamo and abroad when prosecuting Muslim defendants under its domestic criminal justice system.

This post-9/11 global war paradigm flouts the ICCPR and other international laws designed to protect against the worst human rights abuses. By claiming that it is not bound to respect basic human rights when acting abroad, while simultaneously claiming it is wartime anywhere and everywhere in the world where it targets terrorism, the United States attempts to render torture, crimes against humanity and war crimes untouchable.

If we are ever to move beyond perpetual global war, we cannot simply declare it over. Nor can we limit ourselves to ending current abuses. We must grapple with - and provide accountability for - past abuses. The ICCPR hearings this week are a chance to do that, and the US likely will be asked some very tough questions. The ICCRP has reprimanded the United States before, and yet Iraqis and Afghanis continue to suffer from the fallouts of battle; veterans have yet to receive what they need to heal from multiple traumas; Guantanamo is still open for business; and the president remains committed to targeted killing wherever he deems fit. If we are ever to end this war and fulfill our human rights obligations, the United States must begin to take its international obligations seriously, and the international community must begin insisting that it does.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5763) 6 months ago

Developed Nations Give Up on Stopping Climate Change, Turn to Mitigating Impact, Largely Abandoning Third World

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 09:18 By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Review

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/22399-developed-nations-give-up-on-stopping-climate-change-turn-to-mitigating-impact-largely-abandoning-third-world

In Windfall: The Blooming Business of Global Warming, environmental author McKenzie Funk pulls off the nearly impossible task of covering the most cynical of profiteering (making money off of the Earth's catastrophic reconfiguration because of climate change), while penning a captivating read that avoids being funereal. Even while being aware of the dangers at hand, Funk regularly acknowledges the droll ironies of a society that can even make money off of its own self-destruction.

In his journey of profiling those who plan to make fortunes off of the Earth's unraveling, he interweaves the scope of the disaster that awaits, as in this passage:

In the Arctic [in 2012], 97 percent of Greenland's ice sheet was observed melting on a single day. Sea ice shrank to a dramatic new low, surpassing the 2007 melt by another 300,000 square miles, another Texas. ... Global emissions has just jumped 3.1 percent. ... The concentration of carbon in the atmosphere was soon to hit a milestone four hundred parts per million, and another round of aimless UN climate talks was slated for Qatar, which has the highest per capita emissions in the world - but it was a party.

Funk uses wordsmithing finesse to tell a riveting story while anchoring it in detailed examples. He understands that:

As the world changes into an environment at least as foreign to many of us as Alaska was to a Louisiana tug captain, some of our smartest are developing staggeringly complicated plans to deal with what essentially a problem of basic physics. Add carbon, get heat. We should remember that there is also genius in simplicity. We should remember that we rarely recognize hubris until it is too late.

Funk allows the future profiteers their say without being derisive. Nevertheless, he is inherently skeptical of disparate efforts to adapt to (at a profit) -- not prevent -- the dramatic change to the planet's ecological balance.

Of historical periodic attempts to privatize, for example, firefighting (including the retention of expensive fire "protection units" in drought-stricken California today), Funk concludes that such a system of privatization of catastrophe prevention is ultimately unworkable: "The libertarian dream was a logistical nightmare." Now, it is turning into a global nightmare.

Funk's view is that given the human disposition to profit, there will inevitably be those - as there have been throughout history - who will attempt to make large monetary gains from the misfortunes visited upon others. He doesn't know it the human drive toward avarice can be changed, but he knows that disaster awaits if it isn't.

There is also something particularly bothering Funk as he is propelled by the thrill of a journalist chasing a fascinating story: It is the injustice of global warming. "Climate change is often framed as a scientific or economic or environmental issue, not often enough as an issue of human justice," Funk writes.

"The hardest truth about climate change is that it is not equally bad for everyone," Funk writes in a statement that some would consider underemphasizes the likely severity of global warming for even the wealthy northern nations. (Just consider that in the worst-case scenarios, most of the cities on the East and West coasts of the United States eventually could be floating in several yards of ocean water. National Geographic published possible scenario maps of just such a United States with its coastal urban areas underwater.)

But he is onto something in that the developed countries are largely now not sincerely attempting to reduce climate change: They are aiming merely to mitigate its damage to the wealthy nations that primarily have caused it.

That is what appears to be behind President Obama's proposed "climate resilience fund," which according to the Christian Science Monitor, "will include $1 billion to help communities deal with the effects of climate change."

Funk, from an overall perspective, has nailed a significant point: With investors poised to profit from global warming largely created by the developed world - and with impact reduction technology being planned mostly for only already prosperous nations - the degradation of our atmosphere will not affect the peoples of the Earth equally. Just consider all the underdeveloped nations in the tropics and subtropics that would experience unbearable heat as temperatures warm.

"The imbalance between rich and north and poor and south - inherited from history and geography, accelerated by warming - is becoming even more entrenched," Funk declares. He argues that the industrialized nations most responsible for the destructive impact on our environment are best prepared to withstand its coming onslaught - on a relative basis. "Many people will wall themselves off from the worst effects of global warming," he asserts, "while others remain on the wrong side."

That raises the question of what will happen to those individuals who cannot survive in heat that might reach 150 degrees in the tropics. Will a wall be built around Europe such as the ones built along the US-Mexican border or in Israel? Will undocumented immigrants be left outside "safe zones" to die?

And what of food? Funk documents how investors are buying up arable land to grow produce on in the future, betting that the cost of staples such as corn and rice will rise sky high as more and more crop land becomes unusable because of increasing droughts. In fact, Funk notes, global warming is opening up formerly frozen land as fertile soil in areas such as Siberia - and investors are buying up huge lots to farm in cooler climates (with freshwater sources) around the world as cultivatable land becomes scarcer in other areas.

And what of island nations such as the Maldives - that despite their investment in seawalls - are expected to disappear from the map because of rising ocean waters?

In November of 2012, BuzzFlash at Truthout penned a commentary, "It's Not Just That Corporations Are Ignoring Global Warming, They Are Profiting From It," based on a news story in The New York Times on the same topic that Windfall covers:

In fact, on September 19 (2012) The NYT ran a candid account of the riches to be made off of global warming titled "Race Is On as Ice Melt Reveals Arctic Treasures."

The NYT dispassionately informs us:

"Here, as well as in Alaska, Canada and Norway, oil and gas companies are still largely exploring, although experts estimate that more than 20 percent of the world’s oil and gas reserves are in the Arctic. Warmer weather has already extended the work season by a month in many locations, making access easier. ...

At current rates, Arctic waters could be ice-free in summer by the end of the decade, scientists say."

The stakes are high, involving military build-ups, the wooing of previously ignored nations by superpowers, and the battle over extraction rights. But, according to The NYT, "experts say boundary disputes are likely to be rapidly resolved through negotiation, so that everyone can get on with the business of making money."

Yes, global warming is leading to a whole new profitability frontier: as islands are threatened with extinction due to rising waters, hurricanes and tornadoes run amuck, and temperatures become increasingly volatile, the vulture capitalists see dollar signs amidst the calamitous ruin.

Funk understands the dire implications of climate change, but he manages to never lose sight of the immense capacity of the human species to engage in the folly of its own self-destruction blinded by wearing eye patches of greed.

Copyright, Truthout.