*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
In a normal situation when the President of the United States declares a state of emergency, mobilizes the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and one state’s governor activates 3,500 National Guard troops, one might conclude an attack was underway. There is an assault coming on America’s Eastern seaboard and it is enough of a clear and present danger that Florida’s governor issued evacuation orders to 1.5 million people, but the governor wasn’t warning Floridians to escape an invasion force or conquering army.
What the Floridians being evacuated are fleeing is not necessarily storm surges, extremely high winds, or massive rainfall; they are effectively fleeing the result of global climate change. Some Americans may have actually heard of climate change at some point in the past; except maybe in Florida where Republicans and Governor Rick Scott banned any utterance of the terms “climate change” and “global warning.”
Both global warming and climate change are those “things” Republicans, including Donald Trump and Mike Pence, claim is a hoax, a Chinese machination, or an un-American plot as part of the liberal attack on fossil fuels that Mike Pence said includes a “war on coal.”
However much Republicans claim it doesn’t exist, including Florida Governor Rick Scott, there are millions of East Coast residents who are about to experience firsthand the devastating effects of climate change scientists have predicted and warned about for over three decades. And, the increase in intensity of hurricanes, including the current super storm about to hit Florida, is the direct result of something nobody seems to care about except Democrats; increased CO2 emissions that are directly responsible for global warming and the resulting warmer oceans.
Any American who completed eighth grade science class knows that “Hurricanes extract heat energy from the ocean to convert it to the power of wind, and the warmer the ocean is, the stronger a hurricane can get. So, scientists are confident that as we continue to heat up the oceans, we’re going to see more of these high-end perfect storms.”
That is the conclusion of well over 90-plus percent of climate scientists as explained by meteorologist and hurricane expert Jeff Masters, and eighth grade science teachers across America.
To get an idea of how the warming oceans are creating these “high end perfect storms,” it is worth noting the severity of Hurricane Matthew and just a couple of the historical records it has already set. Thus far, according to meteorologist Philip Klotzbach:
“Matthew set a new record as the longest lived Category 4 (or higher) Atlantic hurricane in October – 84 hours. By Monday, it had already generated the most ‘accumulated cyclone energy’ of any Atlantic hurricane ever recorded in the Eastern Caribbean. And, the 2016 hurricane season has ‘already generated the most accumulated cyclone energy in the Atlantic in October’ since 2005.”
Now, if anyone thinks those records and the severity of hurricane Matthew is not down to anthropogenic (man-made) climate change, the latest climate science should set the record straight.
For example, according to a scientific paper released in 2013, “Since 1975 there has been a substantial and observable regional and global increase in the proportion of Category 4–5 hurricanes of 25–30 percent per °C of anthropogenic global warming.” A separate report in 2013 revealed that “dramatic changes in the frequency distribution of lifetime maximum intensity (LMI) have occurred in the North Atlantic” resulting in much larger hurricanes that “have become more intense.”
Even for non-believers and Republican climate deniers, there cannot possibly be any doubt that global warming is responsible for the “high end perfect storm” about to lay waste to America’s southern Atlantic seaboard.
It is highly doubtful that when Republican Governor Rick Scott, the moron that placed a “gag order” on any Florida environmental officials from uttering the terms “climate change” or “global warming,” ordered the evacuation of 1.5 million Floridians, he did not tell the people they were fleeing a direct result of climate change. However, those one-and-a-half million Americans are likely considering that maybe climate change is real; they will certainly know it is real when they are allowed to return home to witness the devastation of something that Republicans claim doesn’t exist and Governor Rick Scott banned environmentalists from uttering.
The true tragedy is that since Earth’s climate has exceeded its “tipping point” due to hazardous and long-lasting concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there will be increasing instances of ‘high end perfect storms’ wreaking havoc on the East coast.
Still, Republicans claim there is no such thing as global warming and have adhered to that position as one of their ‘stated’ reasons for opposing President Obama’s efforts to rein in the carbon emissions that are ultimately responsible for climate change and warming oceans. Those warming oceans produced Hurricane Matthew that has already killed at least 283 human beings in Haiti, and that number is certain to rise as rescue crews make their way to the hardest hit areas of the island state.
Now, some Americans may say it is not proper decorum to preach about the effects of climate change and anthropogenic global warming during an impending national emergency and disaster, but they would be wrong. Now is the best time to remind Americans, particularly those in the path of a massive hurricane, that due to carbon emissions that can be reduced drastically a major population center is about to face an assault of epic proportions.
It is true the million or so Floridians fleeing their homes are escaping 140-plus mile-per-hour winds, storm surges and massive precipitation, but they are really fleeing from the existential threat of climate change. If Florida Governor Rick Scott wasn’t a die-hard climate denier and Koch operative, he might violate his own ban and tell the people they were ordered to evacuate to escape the destruction of global warming and climate change that created Hurricane Matthew and made it a record-setting super storm.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.