Today on The BradCast: It's not just Donald Trump, stupid, it's the entire Republican Party. Also, another report from the U.N. climate conference in Paris, this time from the perspective of small island nations.
First up, Senate Republicans, once again, do the bidding of the NRA and terrorists by blocking a Democratic bill to keep those on the Terror Watch List from being able to easily buy guns and explosives.
Then, some weapons grade trolling from Donald Trump, as he calls for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. That call has delighted the far right fringes of the party, but they're not the only Republicans who love it. Even Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, while claiming to condemn Trump's dangerous, terror-enabling position, vows to support him should he become the GOP nominee for President of the United States.
It's a sad day when we must turn to Dick Cheney and George W. Bush --- yes, seriously --- for reason among Republicans. That day, however, thanks to years of race baiting by Fox "News" and friends --- and the GOP approving of it all --- is today.
Next, something not quite as regrettably stupid: Another dispatch from the U.N. climate conference in Paris (COP21), this time from Dr. Hugh Sealy, Energy Policy Advisor to the Government of Grenada, appointed by the United Nations Development Programme as a consultant to climate change negotiators for the small island developing states. Many of those nations are on the front of the front lines in the battle against climate change, some facing the possibility of disappearing completely underneath the sea.
That group is hoping for an agreement that will limit global temperature rise to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, even as the consensus of the parties to the treaty is to institute greenhouse gas emissions cuts to prevent temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial times. That goal, set to ensure the Earth stays inhabitable, is already a long shot, according to most experts.
"Two degrees is too much," Sealy tells me during today's interview. "We need 1.5 to stay alive. We're already at 1C of warming and are already starting to see the effects of 1 degree where I live, which is in Grenada in the Caribbean. We are already experiencing sea level rise of around 3mm per year and that sea level rise is accelerating. We are already locked in to 1 meter [approximately 3 feet] of sea level rise by the end of this century. We are already starting to see warming. We are already starting to see extreme weather events. And our scientists are telling us we will not survive at 2 degrees."
Sealy, who is also an environmental scientist and Associate Professor at St. George's University, explains: "This is not something that is an economic issue for us, it's an existential issue for us. Our backs are literally against the wall on this one. And therefore we will fight for our existence. We will fight for 1.5 to be anchored in the agreement. 2 degrees is just too much for us. The richer countries are saying 'Well, it's going to be too difficult, too economically difficult for us to reach 1.5 degrees, so we can keep it below 2'. My response to them is the small islands are the canaries in the coal mine. If we go down, you're going to go down as well."
"If you think the Syrian refugee crisis is bad now," he adds, "imagine if all the low-lying areas in the world have to migrate. And it's not only the small islands. The majority of the world's population lives on a coastline, and all those areas will be displaced."
He goes on to explain exactly what it is that the Small Islands are hoping to walk away with from the Paris conference, how the world now needs "a Global Marshal Plan" to fight climate change, and how there is no "denier community" in Grenada and other small island nations. "The most important thing, in my mind," he says, "grow a global mitigation effort that will guarantee us survival."
Finally on today's program, a bit of good news (because we could really use some!): Renewable energy is now set to overtake coal as the world's largest power source. So, there's that. And maybe, with it, some hope after all...
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