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Letter: Harvey emphasizes need to address climate change

Harvey emphasizes need to address climate change

According to Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, every degree Celsius of warming makes the atmosphere capable of holding 7 percent more water vapor. The energy we are trapping in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels can and will increase the intensity of severe weather events.

Hurricane Harvey: at least 70 people dead, 440,000 registered for FEMA assistance, 100,000 projected homeless, water contaminated by chemicals and sewage, and we’ll all help pay estimated reconstruction costs of “well over” $120 billion.

And typically, the poor will be hit hardest. Witness a USA Today headline: “About 80 percent of Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance, face big bills.” The stories of heroic rescue efforts are truly touching, but the overwhelming result of Harvey will be misery and destruction – deeply personal, heartbreaking destruction.

Yet the Sunday before Harvey hit the Texas coast, The News ran opposing essays in the Viewpoints section on whether America should emphasize fossil fuels or renewables. The fossil fuel proponent mainly focused on jobs – odd because numerous studies have shown there are far more jobs in renewables. The renewables proponent was more sensible, but still barely mentioned climate change as a reason for choosing renewables.

The mainstream media are not doing their job. They have allowed Exxon Mobil to plant climate change doubt, while leaving citizens with a confused and shallow understanding of what we’re leaving for coming generations. There is an urgent need for action, and it won’t happen without consistent, balanced and informed reporting.

Bill Nowak

Buffalo

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