In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey the reality of Climate Change may be starting to dawn on the Trump Administration at long last. In the days before the storm hit, the publication of a controversial report by a group of academics in the journal Environmental Research Letters revealed that Exxon, a Fossil Fuel multinational with which Secretary of State Tillerson has himself a longstanding association, had deliberately misled the public, and, more importantly perhaps, their investors; on a range of issues directly related to Climate Science.
Three days after the report’s original publication, Hurricane Harvey made landfall, bringing with it chaos and catastrophic flooding. As the international community reeled in shock at the images of Senior Citizens awaiting rescue in waist-deep water at a Dickinson nursing home, the Washington Post revealed that the storm had just unloaded nine trillion gallons of water over the course of the previous few hours. Even now the full extent of the devastating impact of the deluge on Houston and its environs, which was to result a virtual shut down of much of the Texas Oil Industry, is yet to be fully assessed.
Back in June, directly after President Trump’s decision to withdraw unilaterally from the Paris Accord on Climate Change, Kimberly Miller, writing in the Palm Beach Post, expressed consternation over the proposed 17 percent cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is set to include an $82 million reduction to the National Weather Service. Her conclusion, that the cuts would make those areas along the East Coast of the United States that are most susceptible to hurricanes, and other related meteorological phenomena, ‘more vulnerable’ to extreme weather, appears to have been borne out by the events of the previous few days.
As the exact magnitude of the possible damage was only just beginning to become apparent, a top academic presented an apocalyptic view of the possible outcome in places like Houston if the present Administration’s on going policy of Climate Change Denial continues. In an exclusive interview with Dimitri Lascaris on TRNN, Dr. Benjamin Horton of the Asian School of the Environment at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore presented evidence that global atmospheric and oceanographic temperatures for July 2017 were approximately 1.5°F greater than the twentieth century average. What this basically means is that if present trends in carbon emissions are allowed to continue events like Hurricane Harvey, and its predecessor Hurricane Sandy, may occur at least twice in a decade on a regular basis.
As the storm began to ease and the Houston flood waters started to recede, the mainstream media had already lost sight of the fact that, on the same day as the highly critical report in Environmental Research Letters had been published, Daniel Kammen, a Science Envoy with the US State Department, submitted his resignation on grounds connected with the Presidential stance on Charlottesville and the Paris Accord. Daniel Kammen’s role as the Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at the University of California, Berkeley, along with his position in the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at the same institution essentially means that his criticism of the Trump Administration’s stance on the Paris Accord carries considerable weight.
The fact that it is now being alleged that Exxon Mobil not only knew, but actually hid, evidence relating to direct links between oil consumption and catastrophic Climate Change is likely to prove even more problematic for both President Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as events continue to unfold. The additional fact that another distinguished academic, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has presented evidence in another exclusive interview for TRNN’s Dimitri Lascaris that the Mainstream Media appears to have deliberately misrepresented Hurricane Harvey’s Climate Change connection, could also prove problematic for the Administration’s corporate sponsors.
On Friday, Cenk Uygur of the American web series ‘The Young Turks’, announced that another major explosion had been reported at the stricken Arkema Chemical Plant on the North East perimeter of the city of Houston. During the course of Thursday a series of explosions and resulting fires had led to the release of large quantities of toxic vapor and environmental pollution into the surrounding area. In spite of the fact that it had already been widely predicted that a major incident such as this would likely as not lead to a large scale environmental catastrophe, according to Cenk Uygur’s report, local corporate lobbyists had successfully enabled big business to drive a coach and horses through the health and safety legislation that needs to be in place to prevent disasters like this from actually happening.
Meanwhile, another major Hurricane was already starting to manifest itself following the formation of Tropical Storm Irma n the Eastern Atlantic during the course of Wednesday August 30th. By early Sunday morning the CBS News website was reporting that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) had ‘said late Saturday that the storm is expected to be a ‘major hurricane’ and could cause ‘dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall impacts on some islands.’ The fact that the Hurricane is still out in the Tropical Atlantic and is not set to make landfall for several days, leading the US National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a warning for people to watch out for ‘fake forecasts‘, following claims that Hurricane Irma is due to make landfall in the coast of Texas. However, if the storm should turn out to be a major weather event similar to Hurricane Harvey, Dr. Benjamin Horton’s predictions could end up being proven correct even sooner than he himself could have imagined.
Photo: Tropical Storm Harvey Centered over the Gulf of Mexico on August 29, 2017 courtesy of NOAA Satellites.
Having begun his career as a junior researcher at Thames Television in London, he has written for a wide range of publications including 'The Brighton Reporter', 'Durham Town and Country', 'The Brighton and Hove People' and 'The New Celtic Review'. As an exhibited film maker he has been a regular contributor and award nominee at the Portobello Film Festival in London; and has seen his work shown at the annual London Film Makers' Convention at the prestigious Round House Theatre.
As well as receiving enthusiastic reviews from BBC Radio 4 and others for his book on Sir Walter Scott, his pioneering work as an Underground Film Maker on the fledgeling Goa Trance Scene has set him in a field of his own amongst many of his contemporaries; both in the UK, where he presently resides, and elsewhere. Current projects presently in hand include a book centred on his 'Legendary London' series of documentary films, which have stimulated an enthusiastic response from the likes of Glenda Jackson and others; and a novel set in France and Edinburgh during the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment.
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