The following is the Epilogue from Jeffrey St. Clair’s and Joshua Frank’s new book The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink, available now from CounterPunch Books.
In the spring of 2017, the carbon dioxide readings at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawai’i cracked 410 parts per million, an all-time record and a frightening one. On Earth Day, climate marches took place in cities across the world. Trump’s policies didn’t drive the spiking CO2 levels, but they did propel tens of thousands onto the streets for a few hours of fun. Where were those people during eight years of Barack Obama, an oil and gas man of some distinction? Where were they during eight years of Bill Clinton, one of the greatest environmental con men of our time?
Has Donald Trump finally shattered our illusions, so that we can see clearly the forces—economic, political and technological—that are plunging the planet toward a man-made heat death? Is he, in fact, a kind of clarifying agent for the real state of things?
One can hope so.
Except one mustn’t hope.
As Kafka, the High Priest of Realism, admonished his readers, “There is hope. But not for us.”
Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Buddha instructed us that the world is suffering, and indeed it is. He also advised us that the cure for suffering is…