The main purpose of this ongoing blog 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).😉
Main Subject: Attacking The Clinate Crisis Will Produce More Fascist Backlash In The U.S.
Dear Diary. This week Trump and his followers will reap the whirlwind as a result of last week’s Capitol riot. If Trump doesn’t resign or Pence and the Cabinet doesn’t invoke the 25th amendment, he is likely to be impeached again by Nancy Pelosi and the U.S. House…but this time on worse sedition charges. Those who breached the Capitol will be arrested and brought up on charges by the hundreds due to their failed coup. It became apparent to this writer and many others at least six months ago, if not as far back as 2017, that Trump was an unhinged fashist autocrat with a cult following of rasist white supremacists.
So, is this the time to celebrate the fact that the forces of darkness have been beaten? Not hardly. There is an undercurrent of populist anti-globalistic nationalism fueled by racist ideology that prevails among a good percent of U.S. residents. In the short term more violence is coming before and during inauguration week. In order to fight climate change and for climate and social justice we all need to come together as one society, but this view is almost the exact opposite of those loving their so called individualistic “freedoms.” My friend Brian Kahn has written an excellent essay on this subject, which I would like to share:
The Climate Crisis Will Be Steroids for Fascism
The Capitol has a police force with a $500 million budget, and yet it failed at its one job on Wednesday. Members of Congress, among the most protected people on the planet, were forced to hide in undisclosed locations as violent extremists overran the Capitol.
The anti-democratic message Wednesday’s insurrection sent is chilling. Far-right mobs incited by the president over baseless conspiracy theories and a commitment to white nationalism breached one of the most secure places in the U.S. and disrupted a basic democratic process of certifying election results. But what it portends for both the future of the Republican Party and its response to the climate crisis is even more chilling.
The ingredients for the toxic soup that stirred extremists to take on one of the branches of government (as well as numerous coordinated attacks at the state level) will only grow more plentiful and powerful as the climate crisis worsens. If elected officials aren’t ready to take a clear-eyed look at the damage done on Wednesday and what awaits us in the coming hotter decades, we’ll face even more extreme assaults on democracy and the most vulnerable among us.
The violent assault on the Capitol followed a pattern increasingly familiar in the Trump era, though it’s been an undercurrent in American society for much longer. Blatant lies about the election being rigged were spread over social media and used as cover to convene in Washington, DC, and storm the Capitol. Extremists clashed with police, met minimal resistance outside, and were allowed to mill about the building for hours, trashing offices and posing in the Senate for Parler-worthy photos.
Then they were allowed to politely file out of the building and only a few dozen were arrested. That number may rise, but the initial response pales in comparison to how Black Lives Matter protesters were treated this summer. Not to mention climate-related protesters like Fire Drill Fridays where police created a huge perimeter to cordon off press and onlookers and brought in buses to process protesters who were arrested.
Wednesday’s insurrection and law enforcement’s frail response are eerily similar to what happened this summer when right-wing militias spread conspiracies about wildfires in Oregon. In that case, extremists sowed confusion to assert control over regions engulfed in smoke, setting up armed checkpoints and threatening journalists. Law enforcement turned a blind eye, and in the case of one sheriff, even briefed extremists. At the time, experts told me it was in part an attempt by far-right figures to see what they could get away with.
The lesson in both cases is that the pushed boundaries didn’t snap back. The permissive nature of law enforcement and people in power—more than 120 Republican representatives and senators voted to decertify state election results based on lies after the mob invaded the Capitol Building—opens the door to further violent probing.
Now, I’m a firm believer that an assault on democracy or unlawful behavior during a climate-fueled disaster alone should be reason to hold people to account. But looking at the two events in tandem and seeing the climate future that awaits us is what really raises my alarm bells—and should raise those of the people in power. Pretending this will pass or offering broad platitudes that “we are better than this” will ensure more terror.
Climate change is chaos by nature. It means more powerful storms, more intense wildfires, more extreme floods and droughts. It is an assault on the weakest among us, and decades of the right-wing mindset of small government have left the country with fewer resources to deal with the fallout. As the summer’s wildfires show, the far-right will be there to try to fill the power void. Those fires occurred in a predominantly white region.
There’s a strong strain of white nationalism and neo-Nazism that ran through Wednesday’s insurrection, and it’s easy to imagine what will happen when flames or storms hit places that are predominantly Black, brown, or Indigenous. In fact, we don’t need to imagine it at all. We’ve seen it in the gunman who showed up at a Walmart to kill immigrants whom he falsely blamed for putting strain on the environment. And we saw it in the white vigilante violence in the vacuum after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. We’ve seen it so frequently, it even has a name: ecofascism.
After Wednesday, the boundaries of permissible violence have now expanded to a distorting degree, at a time of increasing climate instability. White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other extremists literally took over the halls of power and got away with it. When climate change upends communities with far fewer defenses—communities that hate groups already scapegoat—the results will be catastrophic.
It’s never been clearer that a large chunk of the nation’s top Republican leaders will embrace and even fuel this extremism and hate. The Venn diagram of people who push election denial and climate denial has near-perfect overlap, but even if these figures deny the climate crisis, they’ll still look to exploit it. At the end of the day, their goal is to use easy-to-disprove lies to build and consolidate power.
Fixing a mess like this absolutely has to be part of the process of addressing climate change. Accountability for those who incited extremists is a good place to start. Emily Atkin of Heated noted on Twitter in the wake of the Georgia special election that gave Democrats the Senate that democracy reform is climate policy, and I have to agree. Washington, DC, statehood, getting corrosive money out of politics, and expelling seditionists are all good places to start. A strong federal response to climate change that both draws down emissions and protects people from the impacts already in the pipeline is also crucial. Decades of weakening the federal government and proselytizing about the power of the individual has left millions exposed to calamity. Rebuilding the federal response to climate change, and ensuring it also engages everyone in moving the country forward through good-paying jobs and a just transition for frontline and fossil fuel communities, are essential to beating hate groups into the background.
None of this will make the fascism on full display disappear overnight. But doing nothing or insisting we turn the page opens the door to something much worse.
Brian Kahn Posts Email Twitter
Managing editor, Earther
America is at a crossroads during the beginning of the 2020s much like Germany was during the beginning of the 1930s. Will dark forces eventually ruin our country or will our fate be a bright green future? Politically, so far so good, but positive results via Congressional and Presidential elections have gone our way just by a minuscule hair. Our two new democratic Georgia Senators just won by one to two percentage points. The Senate is split 50-50 with Kamala Harris a ting as the tiebreaker in the new Congress. Biden’s win was not a landslide in the electoral college. Mote than 70 million souls voted for Trump. We will keep offering some of the latest articles on this volatile time on this, the Extreme Temperature Diary.
Here is Brian Kahn’s follow up Earther article:
Here are some “ET’s” from Monday:
Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:
(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. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”