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Hurricanes and Climate Change


By Martin J. O’Malley

The media coverage of the unprecedented recent hurricanes in Houston and Florida has been incessant. Yet virtually none of the mainstream media has explained how ocean temperatures lead to heavier winds, warmer air causing more precipitation, and higher sea levels exacerbating storm surges. The words “climate change” are rarely used in the coverage of these storms by mainstream television media.

Metro Houston is the fourth largest city in the US, with a population of more than six and one-half million people. It is one of the fastest growing areas in the US, adding 100,000 new residents every year. The city is enormous, covering an area of more than 600 square miles, and it has experienced serious flooding on numerous occasions. Hurricane Harvey was unprecedented, and it unloaded nine trillion gallons of water on Houston within 48 hours. For many years, Houston’s politicians and developers boasted about its lack of zoning, urban planning, and laissez faire development. Although Houston is well above sea level, the loss of undeveloped prairie and wetland to pavement in the form of roads, parking lots, and buildings has caused areas that hadn’t flooded in decades to become more prone to flooding. Spillage of toxic chemicals into the flooding waters of Houston has had lethal consequences.

Several weeks before Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, President Trump scrapped federal rules intended to reduce the risks posed by flooding. These rules established construction standards for roads, housing, and infrastructure projects that receive federal dollars. He claimed that these rules, created in response to climate change, were useless red tape holding back growth.

Monday’s program will cover an interview with world renowned climatologist and former top NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, who will address what role climate change played on unleashing Hurricane Harvey. A second interview with David Arkush, managing director of a watchdog group, Public Citizen, will discuss the media’s failure to attribute these storms to climate change. As residents in Houston and Florida return to their damaged homes, the US Congress has already begun debate on how to distribute billions of dollars in aid for Houston and Florida. A third interview with Dr. Robert Bullard of the environmental justice movement discusses how the poorer communities, redlined neighborhoods, are the last to benefit from the distribution of these funds.

OccupySMA’s meetings and films are free and open to all. Join us for the movie and a discussion in the Quinta Loreto TV room on Monday, October 2, at 1pm.


Meeting and Video

Occupy SMA presents:

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Catastrophic Climate Breakdown

Mon, Oct 2, 1pm

Quinta Loreto Hotel, TV room

Loreto 15, Centro





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