by William Teach | August 30, 2017 7:20 am
The Editorial Board of the Washington Post has finally joined in on the “ZOMG, Harvey was made worse by Hotcoldwetdry!” bandwagon. They try and punch Trump and his administration in the face, but, who was president the past eight years?
PRESIDENT TRUMP assured the nation over the weekend that he is “closely monitoring” the disaster in Texas. “We have an all out effort going, and going well!” he tweeted.
No, the president and his administration do not. Since they entered office, they have tried to enhance the risk of the sort of devastation on display in Texas. Anyone watching Houston who fails to worry about how humans are intensifying natural risks, including storm surges, deluges and flooding, is ignoring the warning signs right in front of them.
We should very much worry about news outlets which use vast amounts of fossil fuels, trees, and energy. Regardless, no matter what Trump has or has not done, he’s only been in officer since the end of January. Obama was there for eight years. Plus time as a Senator. How is this Trump’s fault in any manner? Oh, right, #Resist and #TrumpDerangementSyndrome.
Scientists are habitually cautious about attributing a single weather event to the long-term increase in global temperature that human beings have begun, and they cannot say with reasonable certainty that climate change caused Hurricane Harvey. In fact, they are still sorting out exactly how global warming affects hurricane formation. It seems likely that an increase in North Atlantic hurricanes is linked to climate change, but scientists cannot confidently rule out some other factor.
So, scientists don’t know? They do not want to provide links when they do not have “reasonable certainty”? No worries!
What they can say — and have, emphatically, since this hurricane slammed into Houston — is that “Harvey was almost certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming,” as climate scientist Michael E. Mann wrote in the Guardian. The surge of water this storm churned up out of the Gulf of Mexico was half a foot higher than it would have been without the rising sea level, he reckoned. This storm surge not only endangered coastal-zone communities such as Galveston, but local experts report it also blocked water drainage from inland areas that heavy rains have inundated.
In fact, the storm surge was lower than expected for this storm. Thankfully. Sea sea rise has little to do with storm surge, especially since there has been less than a foot over the past 100 years, which is less than normal for a Holocene warm period. We then get more of the typical whines about the Gulf being warmer than normal, more water vapor, but, they forgot to offer scientific proof of anthropogenic causation.
Houston is an example of what happens when public officials ignore experts and refuse to take natural risks seriously. As the country’s fourth-largest city expanded, replacing prairie with impermeable surfaces such as pavement and concrete, the land was rendered less and less capable of absorbing floodwater. Without proper adaptive measures, this made an already flood-prone place more vulnerable. A ProPublica and Texas Tribune investigation found last year that those who have overseen Houston’s flooding issues discounted scientists’ warnings as “anti-development.” In the coming months and years, the city may pay a high price for such shortsightedness.
So, the problem is actually poor planning when it comes to things like roads in what is already a flood plain, in an area that is historically hurricane active? Well, what was Obama doing the past 8 years?
Those officials had the fate of only one city in their hands. Mr. Trump has the fate of the whole world.
The fate! #TrumpDerangementSyndrome. Do you know what would be fun? If Trump slapped a fee on the production of newspapers from trees.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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