Hurricane Harvey’s lesson
August 30, 2017
Hurricane Harvey's lesson
Hurricane Harvey is a terrible human tragedy and should not be taken advantage of by anyone, but I hope it will open some people's eyes about climate change. Storms like Harvey pick up their moisture in warm seas and the seas have never been warmer. And no storm ever has dumped as much moisture on land as Harvey has.
At the same time, a tropical storm hit the Carolinas and another hurricane hit West Africa. There is no doubt there are currently more of these storms, they are more severe, and the hurricane season has just begun.
There's nothing we can do about these storms in the immediate future. That opportunity was lost in the 1970s when Exxon Mobil scientists informed the board of directors about the impact of burning fossil fuels on the climate and the board decided to keep it a secret. If we are going to avoid these catastrophes in the distant future, we need to do something about greenhouse gas emissions right now.
The media has mentioned little about the causes of Harvey. Maybe they think they shouldn't infuse climate change politics into such a tragic situation. I don't happen to believe climate change is a political matter. It is a scientific fact and we can either do something about it or ignore it at everyone's peril. There's nothing we can do about the lives that were lost in Harvey. All we can do is take measures to prevent it from happening again.
In past letters, I have teased Texans about their ties to the oil and gas industry and their inability to ski. I must admit they certainly have shown their mettle in this crisis. I was inspired by the words of a Houston citizen who saved the life of a neighbor and said, "I'm not trying to be a hero. I'm trying to be a human being." Maybe we're not that divided after all.
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I was not impressed with Trump's visit to Texas, just as I was not disappointed by Bush's fly-over visit to Louisiana after Katrina. What do these states need with a guy who has never worked a day in his life, let alone been a first responder? What they need are workers who know what they're doing and federal dollars. It'll be interesting to see if the fiscal conservatives in Washington will cut loose of the funds.
Fred Malo Jr.
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