Extreme Temperature Diary-October 30, 2018/ Topic: The Case Against Right Wing Nationalism

Tuesday October 30th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊.

The Case Against Right Wing Nationalism

The world has become a smaller place, particularly just before World War I broke out in 1914, so major events that happen in what is now Slovakia, for example, affect people in the United States, Russia or China. No place is now an island being immune to world events from the other side of the planet. There has been, to my mind, a very disturbing trend in the course of recent global politics since around the year 2015…the rise of populist nationalism.

Some pundits would write that the current worldwide populist nationalism movement is like old style 20th century fascism, but I’ll state, being a student of history, that what we are witnessing is more like pre World War I nationalism with a dash, in some places of white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Regardless, what we are witnessing in society is a big, dangerous setback that may lead to many more problems besides intensified climate change. I could write War and Peace on the subject of populist nationalism and facism, but for brevity’s sake, let’s stick to how this brand of politics relates to climate change mitigation.

So, why would right wing nationalism be so dangerous to the climate? We have already seen what Trump, the poster child for right-wing populist nationalism, has done to global politics behind stemming global warming. This one man, once history has been written shortly after 2020, may be responsible for sinking the Paris Climate Accords. By pulling out the United States may signal to other nations that it is also O.K.  not to adhere to mitigation prescribed and agreed to in the 2015 accords  thereby unravelling the whole, tenuously built agreement. Usually when the U.S. leads other nations follow. The Paris Accords in the opinion of many climate scientist like Dr. Michael Mann remains the planet’s last hope and defense to avoid more than +1.5C degrees of warming above preindustrial conditions, preventing dangerous climate change from higher averages.

I’m writing this post not in response to my own country, the United States, but the news coming out of Brazil this week. My young up and coming climatologist/meteorologist friend, Edgar, has these new fears:

Disaster has struck planet Earth. The Amazon rainforest will pay dearly because of this election. They will clear cut the thing down with no regard for human or animals life.
Children who think they are adults.

Reposting most of this article:

Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil on Sunday evening. The far-right candidate received more than 55 percent of valid votes. His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, received less than 45 percent. In a country with compulsory voting, almost 29 percent of adults preferred to annul or not cast their ballot.

Across Brazil, city streets echoed with fireworks, shouts, and car horns as preliminary election results came in. Thousands of supporters, many dressed in green and yellow, assembled outside the president-elect’s beach-front residence in Rio de Janeiro. On São Paulo’s main street, Avenida Paulista, police used tear gas to separate Haddad and Bolsonaro voters.

Bolsonaro, who has taken aim at the media throughout his campaign, chose to make his first statement after the election via Facebook Live, rather than a press conference. “We could not continue to flirt with socialism, communism, populism, and the extremism of the left,” he said. The broadcast was picked up by major TV networks, but repeatedly froze due to connection issues. “All of the promises made to political groups and the people will be kept,” he added.

Soon after, he stepped outside, made a brief statement to the media, and asked a key supporter, Sen. Magno Malta, to lead the group in prayer. He then read a prepared statement and took questions from a representative of the press.

The Workers’ Party originally ran former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as their candidate, and he was the clear favorite in the polls. However, they were forced to swap him out at the last minute for Haddad, a former mayor of São Paulo who had failed to win re-election in 2016, after Lula was sent to prison on a questionable corruption conviction, and it became clear that higher courts would not overturn the sentence. Hindered by a late start and the lack of a national profile, Haddad struggled to gain name recognition and failed to distance himself from public perceptions that linked his party to corruption and the status quo. Nonetheless, with the strong base of the Workers’ Party and the message, “Haddad is Lula,” the 55-year-old academic was able to scrape his way through the first round of elections on October 7, taking 29 percent of the vote in a 13-way contest.

This year’s elections were particularly fraught, marked by dramatic polarization, political violence, and massive disinformation campaigns on social media, in a country that has been roiled by years of social, economic, and political crises. Since 2013, millions of people of all political stripes have repeatedly taken to the streets in protest; Brazil has struggled to climb out of the worst recession in history; massive corruption scandals have destabilized political institutions and major economic players; former President Dilma Rousseff (also from the Workers’ Party) was impeached on dubious grounds; her successor, President Michel Temer (the most despised leader in Brazil’s democratic history), has pushed through a series of unpopular austerity measures; and Lula was jailed, a process that has exposed the judiciary to relentless criticism for perceived partisanship.

In short, every major political institution has been increasingly discredited as Brazil has spiraled deeper and deeper into a dark void. And from the abyss emerged a former army captain and six-term congressman from Rio de Janeiro, Jair Bolsonaro, with the slogan “Brazil above everything, God above everyone,” and promises to fix everything with hard-line tactics.

Seven years ago, Bolsonaro was a punchline for the political humor program CQC, where he’d make outrageous statements. A former presenter, Monica Iozzi, said they interviewed him multiple times “so people could see the very low level of the representatives we were electing.” Now, it’s Bolsonaro who is laughing, and Iozzi says she regrets giving him airtime. Riding the wave of public discontent, Bolsonaro campaigned against the Workers’ Party, corruption, politicians, crime, “cultural Marxism,” communists, leftists, secularism, and “privileges” for historically marginalized groups. Instead, he favored “traditional family values,” “patriotism,” nationalism, the military, a Christian nation, guns, increased police violence, and neoliberal economics that he promises will revitalize the economy. Despite his actual political platform being short on specific proposals, the energy around his candidacy was enough to win the presidency and turn his previously insignificant Social Liberal Party into the second-largest bloc in Congress.

But what has frightened his opponents, many international observers, and even some fervent Workers’ Party critics, are Bolsonaro’s repeated declarations in favor of Brazil’s military dictatorship, torture, extrajudicial police killings, and violence against LGBTQ people, Afro-Brazilians, women, indigenous people, minorities, and political opponents, as well as his opposition to democratic norms and values.

Will science also go out the window in Brazil due to the election of Bolsonaro? I too have my fears like Edgar. If the Brazilian rainforest is decimated the war to stop climate change has been lost. We are done. I am seeing more bad news coming from Brazil in this regard published today: 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/conservationists-worry-about-amazons-fate-after-bolsonaros-victory-in-brazil/

Quoting from Scientific American:

The Bolsonaro victory is an utter catastrophe for the Brazilian Amazon rainforests and its indigenous and traditional peoples,” said Christian Poirier, program director for Amazon Watch.

Bolsonaro is expected to end the titling of territories for indigenous tribes, who have lived in the Amazon time immemorial and have a stake in seeing the land used sustainably and fighting illegal forestry and land seizure.

“This has drastic implications for the rights of indigenous and traditional peoples in the Amazon, for their ability to continue living their way of life and continuing to steward these forests for our collective benefit,” said Poirier.

Bolsonaro is against some of the policies that have helped Brazil make recent headway in combating deforestation. For example, he’s floated subsuming Brazil’s ministry of environment and the agencies that oversee conservation and law enforcement in the Amazon under the country’s agriculture ministry, which has ties to multinational agribusinesses.

Bolsonaro last week backed off previous claims that he would follow President Trump’s lead and quit the Paris Agreement. But he’s left open the possibility that he could change his mind if the climate deal is seen to infringe on Brazilian sovereignty over indigenous lands. The deal does recognize the importance of indigenous rights in the context of the global response on climate change but doesn’t mandate any controls on domestic law.

Bolsonaro may still opt to pull Brazil out of the deal under the mistaken impression that it will tie his government’s hands in the Amazon. If he does, he’d be following in the footsteps of Trump, who is said to have been swayed to leave the Paris accord because then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and White House Counsel Don McGahn claimed that it could complicate plans to dismantle Obama-era domestic rules and regulations. Most sections of the agreement are not legally binding, and it includes no mechanism to contravene national law.

Schwartzman notes that Brazil, which played host to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit that produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, has generally valued multilateral cooperation to combat warming.

When the people of a country become more “nationalistic” they tend to looks inwards rather than outwards, disregarding the needs of other nations and  needs of the planet as a whole. Some symptoms are implementation of tariffs, the lack of engagement in global forums like that of the United Nations,  and a military build up. Old treaties prior to populist nationalism taking root get ripped up. Sometimes in the short term such stances pull nations out of economic doldrums, as happened in Germany, , Japan, Italy and Spain during the 1930s when business became closely tied with the central government, but can lead to dire consequences later. From this bunch only Franco’s Spain survived the social experiment of fascistic nationalism over the course of the next several decades. In the case of the U.S. science, which points to global solutions for climate change, suffers and is discounted.  

Alarmingly, in European Union nations like Poland have caught this new brand of right-wing fever, as well. Even within France, home of the Paris Climate Accords, populist nationalist parties have large national followings, although they have lost elections there. I have no problem with people taking pride with their own nations, tribes, and cultures, saluting flags, but not at the expense of others across the globe. To their credit other right-wing nationalists such as Putin of Russia and Erdogan of Turkey have not called for pulling out of the Paris agreement, but these two leaders are associated with other bad traits such as human rights abuses.

It’s no wonder that climate change has quickly become politicized in this new global environment with multicultural “globalists” adhering to science and “nationalists”  growing in my mind an evil cancer of ignorance, largely stoked by fear. Evil begets evil with the old 20th century scourges of racism and antisemitism rearing their ugly heads in association with the nationalists. Just ask the victims in Pittsburgh from this prior weekend. It will be interesting (although I will dread to see) what insues in Brazil the next few years.

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Here is  some weather and climate news from Tuesday.

I’ll start out with a little fall color to brighten your day:

Unraveling Trump’s Toxic Agenda via

12:38 PM – 30 Oct 2018

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

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The Climate Guy

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