The true scope of the catastrophic floods in Texas is difficult to calculate right now. But officials are already warning that the worst may be yet to come. Is climate change to blame?
FEMA administrator Brock Long expects “more than 450,000 people to apply for federal assistance” in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Is this truly a rare event? Or is extreme weather a “new normal” that will make very personal and harrowing stories all too common.
According to the New York Times:
Glenda Walton, standing in a damp gray T-shirt among five family members in an evacuation center, could think only of the day’s events. She said she watched as a woman hugging a tree lost her grip, got caught in the churning water, and drowned.
“She went limp, just like that,” Ms. Walton said.
When the waters finally recede, the death toll is likely to rise. So will questions about whether the real culprit for the size and strength of this mega-storm is tied to our warming planet.
ABC News reports:
While scientists are quick to say climate change didn’t cause Harvey and that they haven’t determined yet whether the storm was made worse by global warming, they do note that warmer air and water mean wetter and possibly more intense hurricanes in the future.
“This is the kind of thing we are going to get more of,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. “This storm should serve as warning.”
The fact that Harvey even happened makes you wonder if we have already passed the point of no return when it comes to some aspects of climate change.
Back in March 2017, EcoWatch reported:
The numbers show that the rate of CO2 in the atmosphere is now at 405.1 ppm, the highest it has been in more than 10,000 years. Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, said the findings are accurate and disturbing….
An atmosphere of 400 ppm is dubbed the “carbon threshold,” a point of no return. To sum it up, levels this high throw the whole balance of the climate cycle into chaos, making it more difficult to predict climate changes and causing sea level rise, severe tropical storms, drought and flooding…
Even if humans were to stop burning fossil fuels today, the carbon will continue to be trapped for at least the next few decades.
Despite scientific evidence, the Republican Party has been leading the public to believe that there is no such thing as air pollution’s effect on global warming or weather patterns. Trump even went so far as to call climate change a Chinese hoax.
Rather than taking a position of better-safe-than-sorry when it comes to the build up of fossil fuel air pollution, Republicans are playing Russian Roulette with the sustainability of the planet and peoples’ lives. Nowhere is this more evident than in Houston, Texas this week.
Although he avoided using the words ‘climate change,’ at a press conference on Monday, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called Harvey, “One of the largest disasters America has ever faced. We need to recognize it will be a new normal, a new and different normal for this entire region.”
There is nothing ‘normal’ about displacing up to a half-million people with a single storm. Suggesting that people need to get used to mega-storms is simply a “new” way of saying that climate change is real and Republicans in leadership positions have no intention of doing anything about it.
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