Will the disasters in the U.S. wake up our government to the reality of climate change?

I’m watching the news about the California wildfires, seeing the photos of entire subdivisions turned into ashes, and hearing experts talk about how unpredictable the fires are considering the post-drought conditions.

Just last week I was writing about the destruction in Puerto Rico caused by Category 5 Hurricane Maria, and the week before the article was supposed to be about the flooding in Houston after Category 5 Hurricane Harvey.

Category 4 Hurricane Irma, which would have been a monster in any other season, barely registered except for those it impacted as the news cycle barely had time to jump from Harvey to Maria.

If President Donald Trump isn’t good at handling disasters, he may well be given the rate at which he’s forced to deal with them.

The U.S., which has been largely spared the increasing appearance of climate change impacts around the world – like the Super Typhoons that hit the Philippines or the rising seas threatening low-lying islands like the Marshall Islands, may now be feeling its effects.

Scientists say climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. That includes droughts, flooding, storms, and wildfires. It also includes hurricanes.

A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, which scientists say was part of the reason Hurricane Harvey caused such extreme flooding. The National Weather Service even had to invent a new rainfall category for Harvey!

The hurricane season is not even over yet and we’ve already had three Category 4/5 hurricanes make landfall in the U.S. The U.S. has never been hit by three storms this big in the same season in modern records, the Washington Post reported.

Part of the reason is long-term patterns making hurricanes in the Caribbean more favorable, and part of the reason is that climate change has made them stronger and wetter.

As for the fires in California, climate change is driving up temperatures and increasing the risk of wildfires, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists – a nonprofit science advocacy agency in the U.S. That’s because

In order to be able to address the future disasters that we can pretty much count on coming at us, we need to be able to plan effectively and adapt to climate change.

That means our government has to accept that climate change is real.

I can’t imagine Trump not changing his mind about taking climate change seriously if we keep seeing disasters like this in the U.S.

 

 

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