Climate change has become one of the most relevant issues in the past couple weeks, with Hurricane Harvey devastating Houston, Texas and Hurricane Irma destroying homes in the Florida Keys. The hurricanes are a clear indication that climate change is on the rise.
Unfortunately, these are not the only areas that have been hit hard by the effects of climate change. The eastern Caribbean island of Barbuda has lost 95 percent of its’ buildings as a result of Irma. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Barbuda, has declared it “barely habitable,” with around 60 percent of the island’s population now being homeless. Anse Marcel, Saint Martin has also experienced similar destruction with the loss of 90 percent of its structures in the aftermath of Irma. Dozens of people have been found dead.
These are just a few of the many locations hit hard by the effects of these hurricanes. It will take years for some of these countries to be restored, and no amount of recovery will ever make up for the many losses of human life.
Some may wonder what hurricanes have to do with climate change. The answer is that as temperatures rise globally, the air is able to hold greater amounts of water. This phenomenon is mapped-out by the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. With higher levels of water in the atmosphere, hurricanes take place as this water makes landfall. With Hurricane Harvey, over 50 inches of rain made it clear that temperatures are rising.
For far too long, the very real issue of climate change has been brushed aside by politicians and other authority figures who have the power to put a preventative course of action into effect. The Paris Agreement, an arrangement starting in 2020, which is meant to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, is a crucial step toward taking action against climate change. Climate finance will not only be used toward actively combating climate change, but also towards helping communities who have already suffered as a result. The devastation resulting from these recent hurricanes are a direct consequence of climate change, and preventative measures must be taken in order to conserve communities affected by it as well as the rest of the world.
If we ignore this issue any longer, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma will only be the beginning of even greater tragedies.