Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Philippine government meteorologists monitor satellite image of Typhoon Melor. (Image via Z News/ India)

Philippine government meteorologists monitor satellite image of Typhoon Melor. (Image via Z News/ India)

'The Warning Bells are Deafening': Super El Niño Threatening Global Hunger Crisis

Stark warning aimed at those likely to be ravaged by record weather system, as well as wealthy governments indebted to nations most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change

Lauren McCauley

As many as 50 million people across the world face potential hunger, disease, and water shortages by early 2016 if countries do not act immediately, declared Oxfam International on Monday, addressing those nations predicted to be ravaged by this year's Super El Niño as well as wealthy governments indebted to those most vulnerable to climate change.

"The warning bells are deafening," said Meg Quartermaine, humanitarian manager with Oxfam Australia, which issued the warning on the same day that the powerful Typhoon Melor made landfall in the Philippines, forcing the evacuation of 725,000 people.

The Philippines is among the countries that the global anti-poverty group has previously identified as having a food supply already threatened by the impacts of climate change. The typhoons and other extreme weather events that are being predicted under, what could be "the most powerful El Niño on record" are expected to drive millions of people in the Pacific rim region, and across the globe, into even more dire straits.

Monday's report (pdf) said that Papua New Guinea will likely bear the brunt of this season's "super charged weather phenomenon," with the country’s National Disaster Committee estimating that as many as 3 million people are at risk of starvation, "as crop failures force many people to cut back to eating just one meal a day."

While that nation—along with Vanuatu, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, and Tonga—are "experiencing worsening drought, central Pacific countries like Kiribati and Tuvalu will likely see intense rain causing flooding and higher sea levels," the report states.

What's more, the warning comes on top of a recent scientific study which found that heightened greenhouse gas emissions will likely exacerbate the naturally-occurring El Niño phenomenon and drive global temperatures to record highs.

The stark report comes just days after global leaders adopted the landmark Paris Agreement in an effort to stem the growing crisis of climate change. While the COP21 pact made strides in limiting countries' greenhouse gas emissions and capitulated to the demands of small island nations to limit warming to 1.5°C, it failed to hold the world's richest and most polluting nations accountable for their outsized role in driving the global emergency.

"This is a wake-up call for those on the way home from the UN climate conference," Quartermaine said of the Oxfam report. "Emissions targets must be rapidly strengthened if we are to ensure the goal of limiting warming to below 2°C or 1.5°C can be met. And more funding is required for vulnerable communities to adapt to increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather."

The group commends the Australian government for committing $9 million to support Papua New Guinea and other countries in the Pacific in order to prepare for and mitigate the effects of El Niño. However, Quartermaine adds that "it is clear that much more will be needed over coming months as the impacts of this potentially unprecedented El Niño event become greater."

"This is a crisis on a huge global scale," she adds.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo