Mittwoch, 21. August 2019

Call a spade a spade: It's Holocaust 2 (*)


(Translation of "Redet endlich Klartext: Holocaust 2.0", in Bieler Tagblatt, 17.8.2019)

Everyone is talking about climate change, a term without direction or threat. This is linguistic nebulisation which is part of our everyday life: the accident, which the insurance does not want to pay, becomes an "event", the genocide of the Armenians becomes a "temporary relocation", money printing becomes "Quantitative Easing". And this nebulization can have deadly consequences: the cause of the Challenger disaster of 1987 was a blown-off O-ring, which had already burned out on previous flights up to a third. One knew that, but by twisting the language up the hierarchy, this defect became a "safety factor of 3" and nothing was done (1). In fact a "safety factor of 3" would mean that nothing happens with a triple overload, but by no means a breakdown by a third under normal load, which signifies a safety factor of zero. Seven astronauts lost their lives.
Fossil by Heartless Machine (10)
And what is nebulised by the word climate change? First, it does not say what's up. “Global warming” would show the direction, but it’s also too pleasant. “Global heating" may be better - after all, heat can already affect. But does that nail the facts?

Every second global heating adds to the earth the energy of three to six Hiroshima bombs (2). It was fantasized that the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 would limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by 2100, but even if the agreement were met, the temperature would rise 3.2 degrees, and anyway nobody sticks to it. That's why in 2017 the 1.5 degrees were moved to the middle of our century. In 2018, the IPCC brought the 1.5 degrees forward to 2040 (3). But even this dramatic report disregards two factors: The further rising greenhouse gases will accelerate the warming and the 1.5 degrees are to be expected already by 2030, as the respected journal Nature wrote (4), a forwarding by seven decades within about seven years! And all this will be aggravated further by up to 50 percent because of disappearing pole ice which reduces reflection, a fact also not mentioned in the report.

With one and a half degrees of warming 70-90 percent of all coral reefs will perish. The next step, the two degrees destroy 99 percent of coral reefs. In southern Europe, the cultivation of citrus fruit, olives and wine becomes impossible. Parts of the Middle East and North Africa (5) as well as Southeast Asia become uninhabitable. Even with stabilized greenhouse gases any heating achieved would continue for decades. The fatal release of Methane from permafrost and sea has already begun and other self-reinforcing mechanisms can be added at any time. Just as threatening is the galloping species extinction through habitat destruction, poisoning and heat as well as the increasing water scarcity, everything aggravated by an expanding population. The German Federal Intelligence Service estimates that over one billion of people will flee, and that is only the beginning, after which, together with civilization and human rights, a large part of the biosphere will go down.

Climatologist Prof. Joachim Schellnhuber named his book "Self-Combustion" (6) and David Wallace-Wells his "The uninhabitable Earth" (7). That’s what it is: By greed, stupidity and herd instinct we are destroying everything, man and nature through heat, poison and drought. Therefore, the English Guardian does not talk about "global warming" any more, but takes up Greta Thunberg's proposals such as "climate collapse", "climate crisis", "climate emergency", "ecological crisis" etc (8). The famous biologist E.O. Wilson speaks of the "collapse of the ecosystem" (10). But all these expressions are abstract, out-of-the-way, they evoke a disaster that you can face like a flood or an avalanche. They do not imply that everything will end.

For decades, my newspaper the Neue Zürcher Zeitung publishes every few months very vivid and concise articles about the Holocaust. The villains are pointed at with fingers, and shudderingly one reads how human values and victims were exterminated by hunger, weapons, poison and crematoria, and - oh, say the citizens in their slippers and armchairs, - how are we so good ... But I am somewhat astonished that the same vividness and precision do not apply to the upcoming elimination of human values, civilization and humanity from hunger, flight, war, environmental poisoning and global burning. What in fact lies ahead of us is the Holocaust 2, this time with gruesome consequences not only for Jews and Gipsies, but for all of us and for a big part of the biosphere. All just as deliberate as the first Holocaust, because causes, actors and consequences are known and visible for all to see. But all bigger by orders of magnitude. This has already started, and meanwhile we are still fighting over cannabis legalisation, gender quibbles, health insurance and retirement age, as if this would have any importance in comparison. 

No, it's not climate change, it’s not global warming, it's Holocaust 2. And yes, we can silence, imprison and expel whoever protests. But this will not solve the problem any more than cowardly closing the eyes before reality.



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(*) It was doubted as to whether the expression "Holocaust 2" (from Greek, literally “Burning of everything”) was admissible. I have therefore submitted this text to a half-Jew and a Gypsy, both of whom had lost relatives in Auschwitz and are thus entitled to judge. Both affirmed that the expression was to the point and could be used.

The term holocaust was used from about 1600, long before the Nazis. Of those who rejected the expression, various claims were made: it was claimed that the first Holocaust was an industrial annihilation, the second was not. Yes, but is the second not industrial par excellence, namely a consequence of industrialization? It was also claimed that the first was deliberate and the second was not. Yes, but did not Exxon decades before the Greens know that the greenhouse effect would lead to catastrophe and still fund disinformation campaigns with hundreds of millions of dollars? And the Koch Brothers and all the bribed "experts", and the editors who do not listen to science or denigrate it (it's curious: If engineers and physicists calculate bridges, railways, airplanes, power plants, we entrust them our life without discussion. Only if they speak about the climate, everything must be lies, isn’t this queer?) It was objected that the first Holocaust had been deliberately run, and the second was "unconscious", but the differences seem small to me: Of course after the Second World War, all Germans said  "we all knew nothing about all that," albeit many had benefited from expulsions and expropriations, as Götz Aly has demonstrated. And hundredthousands of soldiers at least knew of mass exterminations in the East, if they did not even witness or participate. Likewise with climate: Most "know nothing about all that", although the information is freely available, and many young people know it very well. It was also objected that the special thing about the first Holocaust was racial paranoia - but the second Holocaust, is it not also caused by a paranoia? This time a paranoia of growth and consumerism, the consequences being even more appalling. It was said that the first Holocaust was so special because of its unique enormity. Such a view forgets that this enormity will be dwarfed by this new iteration. It was also said, that Holocaust means a specific direction against Jews and Gypsies. So far so good, but the second Holocaust concerns  Jews and Gypsies as well, and this time in in their totality, with the sole difference that this time it affects  everyone else too, including the entire biosphere. Logically the first Holocaust is therefore a mere subset of Holocaust 2. Sometimes the argumentation also turned into irrational polemic, e.g. the use of the term Holocaust was qualified as racist, or the author was mobbed just as the bearer of bad news.

This is all mere shadowboxing:  The question is whether you allow yourself to name the upcoming horror in an understandable and graphic way. In this case all the other words seem too clean, too objectifying, in short insufficient to grasp the impending state failure and the certain downfall of humanity and civilization. For the most part, in these discussions, I had the impression that one is resisting the expression in order to hide the reality under a cloak of squeamish political correctness,  and  -  suddenly everything is no longer urgent, we can move on to business as usual, by going to school, shopping, and going to work, expand highways and airports as before. We prefer to leave everything in the nebulization, right? ... That's exactly what brought upon us this predicament.

References
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogers_Commission_Report
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/07/global-warming-of-oceans-equivalent-to-an-atomic-bomb-per-second
  3. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2018/12/SR15_FAQ_Low_Res.pdf
  4. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07586-5
  5. https://www.scinexx.de/news/geowissen/droht-dem-orient-ein-klima-exodus/
  6. https://service.randomhouse.de/book/Self-Combustion/Hans-Joachim-Schellnhuber/e481489.rhd?pub=1&frm=true
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/06/books/review-uninhabitable-earth-life-after-warming-david-wallace-wells.html
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/17/why-the-guardian-is-changing-the-language-it-uses-about-the-environment
  9. https://www.populationconnection.org/article/an-afternoon-with-an-ant-man/
  10. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html


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