Hurricanes, fires, floods and locusts: Science says climate change is here but RNC refuses to believe


Complicating the growing task of saving lives and livelihoods in this ongoing climate crisis: a new disease, freed from an unbalanced natural world. Two tiny enemies – the coronavirus and the heat-trapping gas – are joining forces to make pandemic patients in Lake Charles, Louisiana, worried about rooftop destruction and falling trees. They are forcing California firefighters to socially move away on 72-hour shifts after more than 10,000 dry lightning strikes set off 500 fires.

But now, here, the threats seem to multiply by the hour. As an example of Sophie’s choices that stem from such a confluence of unnatural disasters, President Trump hopes to divert more than $ 40 billion from FEMA’s Emergency Response Fund to a new round of relief in the country. unemployment for the tens of millions of people driven out of unemployment by Covid-19. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom fired non-violent convicts in a desperate attempt to slow prison outbreaks and, as a result, lost vital firefighting personnel.

“For so long in studying climate change, we have been studying the future,” says Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. “And now the future is here. So if we live here in Texas we see stronger and bigger and slower hurricanes with a lot more precipitation. If we live in the west, we see that natural fires burn more. and a larger region. If we live in the Midwest, the warmer temperatures exceed our rainstorms. ”

Gulf oil rigs, refineries and petrochemical plants punished by Hurricane Laura… and Harvey, Michael, Rita, Ike, Katrina et al. Almost every other developed country in the world understands the basic physics that the more they pump and burn, the more unpredictable life on Earth will become.

But looking at the Republican National Convention, if you didn’t know, you would never know.

This aerial view shows the damage caused by Hurricane Laura to a neighborhood outside of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both mentioned the storm, but did not link it to the climate crisis.

Vice President Mike Pence offered warnings and good wishes to those in the path of Hurricane Laura on Wednesday night and on Thursday President Donald Trump began his speech by mentioning the people who had been through “the wrath Of the storm. He said it was “fierce, one of the strongest to make landfall in 150 years,” then added that the loss and damage was far less than thought possible just a day earlier. Night after night, speaker after speaker made no mention of the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels dramatically worsens your parents’ hurricanes, floods, and wildfires.

How you can help the victims of Hurricane Laura

As Democrats deepened and refined their promises if they had a chance to rule, most of the Republican mentions of the environment came from celebrating regulatory cancellations and harsh rejects of Joe Biden’s plan to spend 2,000. billion dollars for clean energy projects and get back. the Paris Climate Agreement.

A health worker checks a patient's temperature before she has a coronavirus test.  More than 5.8 million people have been infected with Covid-19 in the United States, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University.

“Joe Biden’s Democratic Party is pushing this so-called ‘Green New Deal’,” Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said in a recorded speech. She mocked Democrats’ efforts to legislate on the climate crisis after referring to the August 10 derecho that tore ten million acres apart from her state. “If we gave them electricity, they would basically ban animal farming and eliminate gasoline cars. It would destroy the agricultural industry not only here in Iowa but across the country. ”

It’s wrong. The 14-page Green New Deal resolution calls for “working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove as much pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector as possible,” but it doesn’t there is no request to ban cows. or gasoline cars.

How to Help Those Affected by California Wildfires

“How much is the 2018 campfire just to fight?” Just to put out the flames? I asked Governor Newsom after fierce winds made the campfire the most destructive blaze in state history. “It’s breathtaking – the numbers – and they keep climbing,” Newsom replied. “The simple removal of debris represents an expense of billions of dollars, not billions of dollars. ”

The second and third biggest fires in the state’s history are now burning at the same time and the windy season hasn’t even started. “People think we can’t afford to fight climate change,” Newsom says. ” My God. The naivety of that. Because the most expensive option is to do nothing. “

Wind farms, like those turbines seen in Colorado City in 2016, provide clean energy to parts of Texas.

“How has climate change become so politically polarized? Hayhoe asks. “It’s not the science, it’s the solutions. We have been told that the only solutions to climate change are negative or punitive. They involve destroying the economy, throwing people out of work and letting the United Nations run the world. ”

Confused by that message, she says Americans miss how much progress is happening between disasters. “They don’t know that 70% of the new electricity installed in the world today is clean energy. They don’t know that solar power and storage is actually cheaper than natural gas in California. Or that Texas has more wind power installed than any other or that Texas has the first carbon neutral airport in DFW, and Ft. Hood, the largest military base in the United States, is powered entirely by energy. wind and solar. The reality is that the solutions are already there. “

5 lessons from the pandemic to fight the climate crisis

But if Hayhoe sees the solutions, others see the pain along the way.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Lieutenant General Russel Honoré. “We need to find solutions to pollution that will boost the future economy. ”

Known as “Ragin ‘Cajun,” Honoré took over following a disastrous state and federal response to Hurricane Katrina. The storm and its aftermath killed at least 1,833 people almost 15 years ago to the day.

“Right after Katrina, we had Rita. A reporter asked me, “We just had two hurricanes. Do you think this has anything to do with global warming? And I was amazed. I gave him a smart answer, but it haunted me for days, ”he says.

At the time, the Defense Ministry was sensitive to the threat of sea level rise at bases across the country, but the issue suddenly made science personal, as Honoré saw his own bayou communities as well. -loved drowning after a lack of formal planning and imagination.

Lieutenant-General Russel Honoré speaks with then-President George W. Bush in New Orleans, three weeks after Hurricane Katrina, when Hurricane Rita threatened the same region.

Fifteen years later, Honoré spends most of the hours thinking about solutions for the Gulf and the country he served.

“We can start repairing our infrastructure. Adjust the damage done, create jobs that reduce the impact on air, water and land. I think we need to have a grown-up conversation, regardless of political class, ”he said. .

To my son, born in the days of coronavirus and climate change

Taking action is essential for people like Hayhoe.

“There is no right answer to correcting climate change,” she said. “There is also no quick fix. Just a lot of silver buckshot.

“But we are all responsible to our families, loved ones, children, the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable here where we live, as well as around the world, to stick our heads out of the sand to recognize that the climate is changing. Humans are responsible. The impacts are serious. And we can act now. It doesn’t matter who we are or how we vote. ”


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