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Why No Action on Climate Change? “Somebody Has to Be Hitler.”

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: environment, politics, climate change, global warming, geopolitics, environmental policy, Grist,

hitler1Why are some leaders still dragging their feet on climate change? There’s a host of reasons both political and scientific, but one provocative explanation I’ve never heard before was recently floated by Gar Lipow at Gristmill: “Somebody has to be Hitler.”

What Lipow means is that some thinkers—especially politically moderate and conservative ones—never address the threat of climate change because they’re too busy fomenting war against whichever node on the axis of evil is posing the greatest threat. “The year is eternally 1938, and the place eternally Munich. Peace is for dirty hippies. Problems like climate change are always going to have to wait for the current emergency to end, and for one last enemy to be defeated.”

Uttering the H-word is ordinarily the surest way to derail an otherwise legitimate debate—but it’s hard not to see support for Lipow’s theory in our current leadership. The Bush administration’s strategy of fear-based governance has been obsessed with hunting down real or imagined terrorists while conveniently ignoring—or flat-out denying the existence of—climate change and other environmental crises. And as long as this mindset grips those in power, as it has for most of the decade, real change in environmental policy cannot occur.