Friday, September 01, 2017

It Won't Be Long



Houstonians are wading in waist deep water.  Chemical plants are exploding. Devastation is the order of the day. Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan write:

Houston, the Petro Metro, is home to one-quarter of the petroleum refining capacity in the United States. Include the entire Gulf Coast, and the percentage increases to half. In the midst of this massive storm, sprawling petrochemical facilities were forced to shut down abruptly, ejecting millions of pounds of toxins into the air, impacting most heavily the poorer communities of color near where these plants have historically been built.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump, peddler of the lie that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese to hurt the U.S. economy, made a predictably superficial visit to Texas. “What a crowd, what a turnout,” Trump boasted as he landed in Corpus Christi. He made no mention of the victims.

Climate denial in the face of Harvey’s devastation is incomprehensible, ignorant and immoral.

Harvey has sent a message which can't be ignored. NASA scientist James Hansen says it should be as obvious as the noses on our faces:

“With the beginning of changes in atmospheric composition, caused mainly by burning fossil fuels, the planet is getting warmer, and sea level has begun to go up, because the ocean is getting warmer and because ice is melting.” He continued: “The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is increasing because the atmosphere is getting warmer, and therefore the amount of water being dumped during these storms is larger because of human-made global warming. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, tropical storms all get their energy from the latent energy of water vapor. There are substantial human-made effects on these storms.” Larger storm surges. More rain. Stronger storms.

Most tragically, the victims are primarily poor and people of colour. Those in power have no idea how these people live -- and they have no desire to find out how they live. It won't be long before more than chemical plants explode.

Image: USA Today

14 comments:

Pamela Mac Neil said...

To be poor in America today Owen, is to be extremely vulnerable. They are the victims of their governments climate change deniers, the victims of their countries neoliberal economics, the victims of their governments tax expropriation, the victims of their governments closing of public schools, the victims of not having adequate health insurance, the victims of ongoing unemployment and the victims of their government cutting needed social programs including food stamps.

They are America's scape goats and you're right, "those in power have no idea how these people live." They will remain the victims of climate change, because climate change disasters like Harvey are not going away.

Dana said...

There's another potentially devastating coming along right behind Harvey too. Irma may yet re-curve back out into the Atlantic, it's much to early to know, but if she plows on into the Gulf the devastation will increase exponentially.

https://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/atlantic/2017/hurricane-irma

Toby said...

Lorne has a video on Politics and its Discontents showing how Houston created its own problem by paving over its low lying green spaces. http://politicsanditsdiscontents.blogspot.ca/2017/09/there-is-lesson-here-for-all-of-us.html (I can't post over there for some reason that only Google knows but that's another issue.) Calgary discovered the same problem; water has to have somewhere to go.

Owen, I find it hard to understand how so many people aren't making the association between man made global warming and the terrible things that have been happening. Here in the Okanagan we have had smoke in the air for most of the summer. Two days ago it was so dark we had our lights on by 4:PM; the sky looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I keep hearing people say, "I never saw anything like that before."

It's not that the world hasn't had floods and fires before. What we have now is more and bigger floods, more and bigger fires. We were warned about this fifty years ago and no one wanted to listen. Mother Nature will have the last word.

Owen Gray said...

Given the willful ignorance of those in power, climate change will not go away, Pam. And the explosive anger will continue to build.

Owen Gray said...

I just caught a report on Irma on the noon news, Dana. Who knows where it will come ashore? But the Gulf Coast could be completely devastated.

Owen Gray said...

Mother Nature will have her revenge, Toby. People who live close to the land understand that principle. Those removed from the land -- and the willfully ignorant -- don't.

Toby said...

Just a footnote, Owen. "Hurricane Harvey is a billion-dollar disaster – America's 10th in 2017" https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/01/hurricane-harvey-us-billion-dollar-weather-disasters-2017

Owen Gray said...

How long will it take, Toby, until the truth sinks in?

Toby said...

Owen, I think the truth is already out there at a sort of background level. One day it will coalesce into intense rage and the pitchforks will come out en masse.

Steve said...

No Owen it was just a once in 800 year flood that we expect to happen every five years or so.
To add to the merriment, there are two Nuke plants facing Fuckishima like problems in Houston.

Owen Gray said...

That's probably true, Toby. The big question is "When?"

Owen Gray said...

We've built all kinds of dangerous stuff -- as well as houses -- in flood plains, Steve.

ffd said...

Maybe Canadians should concentrate on Canada because there are plenty of thuggish ultra right types in Canada. Doug Ford just announced he wants to run for mayor of Toronto against Tory. We are in a relatively pleasant period at the moment but we could find ourselves a Canadian Trump and lots of morons would vote for him.

Canadians are largely like Americans in their semi-literacy and proud, wilful ignorance of the world.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, ffd. A second Ford at the helm in Toronto is not a stretch. It would be a mistake. But it's not a stretch.