Who said climate change didn’t exist?

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(…) every time we act as if an unprecedented weather event is hitting us out of the blue, as some sort of Act of God that no one foresaw, reporters are making a highly political decision. It’s a decision to spare feelings and avoid controversy at the expense of telling the truth, however difficult. Because the truth is that these events have long been predicted by climate scientists. Naomi Klein, The Intercept

Hurricane Harvey and climate change denial – just one more recipe for disaster. Who said climate change didn’t exist? How is it possible to be so blind or short-sighted when proof is screaming at you from Texas as well as from many other places around the world? It’s a crime to deny such massive devastation and prolonged hardship especially of the less well-off with the short-term goal of filling the coffers of a limited number of people. Trump’s Exon Mobile buddies, for example.  Denial not only means that concerted efforts to combat the root causes of global warming are neglected or even decried and imperative cutoff deadlines are missed. But also investment in local, regional and national infrastructure to confront extreme weather conditions is being cut back, meaning that the consequences are far worse and the less well-off and the marginalised communities are hardest hit. #NotMyPresident.

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Photo credits: RTS Info, Andrees Latif, Reuters.

Houston flooding

Record rain fall

Hurricane Harvey brought over 50 inches of rain in Houston and heavy flooding, with many people stranded. At least five people have died and more than a dozen have been injured. The National Weather Service tweeted: This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced…

Undocumented immigrants threatened

There is also concern for undocumented immigrants in the area who will not seek help for fear of being deported thanks to new directives (SB4) coming into force that oblige police to question people about their immigrant status.

Pollution

At the same time, observers are worried that petroleum refineries in the area (half those of the States) will deliberately spill toxic wastes that would otherwise cost them a lot of money to be rid of. Monitoring of pollution in the area has been shut down to ‘protect’ equipment from storm damage. Control depends on voluntary declarations from petrol companies who have a vested interest in not making public toxic spills or blaming them on the flooding.

Flooding elsewhere in the world

Flooding in Bangladesh
Flooding in Bangladesh

In Western media, most of the attention has been focussed on the flooding in Texas. It has indeed been spectacular although a lot of the interest may reside in inquisitiveness as to how the American president reacts to the crisis. The presence of a large proportion of US oil refineries in the area and the impact on petrol prices as well as the threat of pollution have also fired interest. Meanwhile, many countries, particularly in Asia, are also suffering from severe flooding that is rarely reported. Here are the headlines. More details via the links listed below.

One-third of Bangladesh is under water.  The current death toll is 137 people.Bangladesh is under water.  The current death toll is 137 people.

A thousand people are estimated to have lost their lives in flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh this year.

Nearly forty people have lost their lives in flooding in Nepal with 1,500 families displaced.

Severe flooding is predicted for Afghanistan.

Over 20 cities or villages have been affected by flash flooding in Iran.

249 mm of rain fell in Ussuriysk, Maritime Territory of Russia, between August, 6th and 7th 2017

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Climate Change Denial

Naomi Klein, The Intercept | Harvey didn’t come out of the blue. Now is the time to talk about climate change

Democracy Now | Naomi Klein’s Message to the Media Covering Houston: Now is the Time to Talk About Climate Change

Democracy Now | Ex-NASA Scientist James Hansen: There is a Clear Link Between Climate Change & Stronger Hurricanes

John Abraham, The Guardian | Surrendering to fear brought us climate change denial and President Trump

Marianne Lavelle, Inside Climate News | 5 Shades of Climate Denial, All on Display in the Trump White House

Democracy Now | Donald Trump’s Climate Change Denial Ignites Grass-Roots Resistance

Houston Flooding

Democracy Now | A Dilemma for Undocumented in Texas: Wait Out Hurricane Harvey or Seek Help and Risk Deportation?

Democracy Now | As Catastrophic Flooding Hits Houston, Fears Grow of Pollution from Oil Refineries & Superfund Sites

Democracy Now | Environmental Crisis Unfolding in Houston as Oil & Chemical Industry Spew Toxic Pollutants into Air

Michael Sheetz, CNBC | Stunning images from the devastating Houston floods

Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian | What makes Houston so vulnerable to serious floods?

George Monbiot, The Guardian | Why are the crucial questions about Hurricane Harvey not being asked?

Flooding elsewhere in the world

Democracy Now | 1,200 Die as “Devastating” Climate Change-Linked Floods Submerge Parts of South Asia

Reliefweb | Bangladesh: Floods and Landslides – Jun 2017

Flood List | Afghanistan Meteorological Department Issues First Flood Early Warning

Flood List | Nepal – Dozens Dead After Torrential Rain Triggers Floods and Landslides

Flood List | Iran – 12 Killed in Flash Floods in North

Flood List | Russia – Hundreds Displaced as Floods in Far East Damage Homes and Roads

Aljazeera | Deadly floods hit South Asian states for a gallery of photos.

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