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Author Topic: Global Warming is WITH US  (Read 25323 times)

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    • Agelbert Truth AND Consequences
Re: Global Warming is WITH US
« Reply #1095 on: October 11, 2017, 08:38:41 pm »
Susan Nugent: Puerto Rico is canary in coal mine for climate change

Damaged solar panels and destroyed vegetation are seen at a farm in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. [AP Photo/Gerald Herbert] (picture at article link)

Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 2:00 AM

Updated at 2:56 PM
How long do we need to know that more and more extreme weather events are occurring before we do something? In 2011, Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research pointed out, “Global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather because the environment in which all storms form has changed from human activities.”

A systemic change is occurring. Our temperatures are warmer and moister than previously. Ocean waters further exacerbate the issue of increased heat. Such changes in temperatures result in storm changes.

Puerto Rico has long been dealing with the effects of climate change. Shorelines have eroded, second stories have been added to buildings to keep them livable, and sea levels have continued to rise. But we did nothing to help prepare them for the present disaster.

Puerto Rico has often been called the canary in the coal mine for climate change. Many references to its infrastructure being susceptible to flooding occurred prior to this past month’s catastrophe.

Danica Coto’s article for the Puerto Rico-based Pasquines news organization in August 2013 leads with, “Environmental officials and scientists warned ... that Puerto Rico is dangerously vulnerable to the effects of global climate change ...” In June 2017, Darmy Cortes alerted further, “Puerto Rico will be largely affected by climate change, the consequences being largely humanitarian and economic, and the government must take steps to ensure the safety of its citizens and the businesses in the archipelago.”

Puerto Rico didn’t need outsiders to realize its fragility. One of its efforts has been to increase renewable energy on the island, by encouraging both companies and individuals to install solar panels.

Puerto Ricans also see this as a time to move forward with sustainable energy.  Politician Ramon Luis Nieves, formerly head of the island’s energy committee, sees now as the time to upgrade the grid to accommodate more renewable energy.

Tesla has just stepped forward with humanitarian efforts, sending both battery systems and solar panels to help restore power on parts of the island still without electricity. Bloomberg reports, “The company has employees on the ground to install them and is working with local organizations to identify locations.”

Other companies and nonprofits such as Green Industries are joining this effort to expand solar power in Puerto Rico. A renewable-friendly grid would replace the antiquated one, providing energy as quickly as possible and also pointing to a green future.

Power, though, is not the only climate change problem that Puerto Ricans will have to handle. Health issues already cause concern. No clean drinking water leaves people vulnerable. Plugged sewer systems lead to cholera, dysentery and E. coli.

Even when access to clean water returns, these U.S. citizens will have to fight the diseases mosquitoes carry. Last year’s Zika issue already has asserted itself in the Caribbean with pregnant cruise passengers cancelling trips. Although Puerto Rico had announced that the epidemic had ended, increased mosquito populations may increase chances of contact with this virus.

With their loss, how many of these 3.4 million U.S. residents will become part of the climate refugees, those seeking a new home in a less vulnerable place? Scientific American suggests that the storm could result in one of the largest mass migrations in recent years. That would change both what happens in the U.S. territory as well as here.

Massachusetts has started preparing for refugees. With 300,000 Puerto Ricans living in Massachusetts, the state is discussing ways to accommodate refugees in schools, work force and health services. Florida also can expect refugees from the island.

For those who decide to stay in Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s work there adds more costs to what our own state and Texas have already presented to U.S. taxpayers. One million meals delivered by FEMA won’t begin to feed the people there.

Puerto Rico faces so many climate-change problems that looking to the future only projects more questions. What we can determine is that we must face the challenge of climate change as a nation, realizing that all of us are potentially affected.

The Florida Keys are facing similar decisions. So are we in Gainesville. The problems for our nation don’t end in Puerto Rico.

Susan Nugent is a Climate Reality Project leader from Gainesville.

Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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