Focus: A Process Already Underway (7-9)

Within a decade after the end of World War II, Washington also had 500 overseas military bases ringing Eurasia and a chain of mutual defense pacts stretching from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS), and a globe-girding armada of nuclear-armed warships and strategic bombers. To exercise its version of global dominion, Washington retained the seventeenth-century Dutch doctrine of “freedom of the seas,” later extending it even to space where, for more than half a century, its military satellites have orbited without restraint.
Just as the British imperial system was far more pervasive and powerful than its Iberian predecessor, so Washington’s world order went beyond both of them, becoming rigorously systematic and deeply embedded in every aspect of planetary life. While the 1815 Congress of Vienna was an ephemeral gathering of two dozen diplomats whose influence faded within a decade, the United Nations and its 193 member states have, for nearly 75 years, sustained 44,000 permanent staff to supervise global health, human rights, education, law, labor, gender relations, development, food, culture, peacekeeping, and refugees. In addition to such broad governance, the U.N. also hosts treaties that are meant to regulate sea, space, and the climate.
Not only did the Bretton Woods conference create a global financial system, but it also led to the formation of the World Trade Organization that regulates commerce among 124 member states. You might imagine, then, that such an extraordinarily comprehensive system, integrated into almost every aspect of international intercourse, would be able to survive even major upheavals. Yet there is mounting evidence that climate change, as it accelerates, is creating the basis for the sort of cataclysm that will be capable of shaking even such a deeply rooted world order. The cascading effects of global warming will be ever more evident, not in the distant future of 2100 (as once thought), but within just 20 years, impacting the lives of most adults alive today.
Last October, scientists with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a “doomsday report,” warning that humanity had just 12 years left to cut carbon emissions by a striking 45% or the world’s temperature would rise by at least 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by about 2040.  This, in turn, would bring significant coastal flooding, ever more intense storms, fierce drought, wildfires, and heat waves with damage that might add up to as much as $54 trillion — well over half the current size of the global economy. Within a few decades after that, global warming would, absent heroic measures, reach a dangerous 2 degrees Celsius, with even more devastation.
In January, scientists, using new data from sophisticated floating sensors, reported that the world’s oceans were heating 40% faster than estimated only five years earlier, unleashing powerful storms with frequent coastal flooding. Sooner or later, sea levels might rise by a full foot thanks to nothing but the thermal expansion of existing waters. Simultaneous reports showed that the rise in world air temperature has already made the last five years the hottest in recorded history, bringing ever more powerful hurricanes and raging wildfires to the United States with damages totaling $306 billion in 2017. And that hefty sum should be considered just the most modest of down payments on what’s to come. Modified from Tomdispatch

Alfateh Ziada

Email: zeyadaaa123
Alfateh Ziada

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Alfateh Ziada

Alfateh Ziada

Focus Email: zeyadaaa123

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