“You get the kind of devastating flooding that we’re seeing right now with these land-impact hurricanes.” You make the soils warmer in the summer, you dry them out more, so you get more drought. And what we’re seeing in the West, the heat and the drought that combine to create these devastating wildfires. So this is not rocket science. The physics here are very simple and tell us that we reap what we sow. We are now witnessing devastating climate impacts.”
Falling into this category of reaping what we have sown is also why Puerto Rico was willing to face worse devastation than before. Unfortunately, environmental racism is widespread on the island. Even after Maria clarified that the network operator The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority shouldn’t continue to oversee Puerto Rico’s power supply, a similarly corrupt entity called LUMA has taken over and failed the residents again. Energy justice in particular is an issue that is “gaining ground,” according to the Nonprofit Quarterly. Fiona’s aftermath will undoubtedly provide a focal point in solving that problem – and one that certainly can’t wait, given climate change’s ability to exacerbate storms and create them in what feels like record time.
Those worsening storms are also making their way to Japan, where one of the strongest typhoons made landfall on the island of Kyushu on Sunday. Typhoon Nanmadol, classified as a super typhoon, felt similar to a Category 4 hurricane in its worst form, bringing massive amounts of rain over Kyushu and neighboring islands. As with Puerto Rico, Kyushu, Chugoku and Shikoku are struggling with massive flooding and power outages. Two people have already died and a total of eight million have been ordered to evacuate because of the storm.
Finally, prior to Typhoon Nanmadol and Hurricane Fiona, Alaska experienced a uniquely terrible storm in the Bering Sea that, according to Axios, “developed from Typhoon Merbok.” Experts told the outlet there’s no denying that the storm, which brought major flooding and destruction to western Alaska, was not only made worse by climate change, but even the way the Storm itself formed was influenced by the climate crisis.
As Mann noted Monday at the end of his interview, the consequences of climate change are already here and they don’t care what region you live in or if you’re an ocean away from disaster. “Everywhere you go, warmer oceans mean more intense hurricanes, or what we call typhoons there, and worse flooding with those storms,” Mann said, calling the problem “the tip of the iceberg.” “The good news is that if we lower these carbon emissions, we can prevent this from getting worse… We can prevent further warming of the planet and worsening of these effects.” But if we keep burning fossil fuels, it will only get worse. This will only be a taste of what is to come.”