Error 400: Bad request: unfccc. In the wake of Harvey, it’s time to global climate change essay outline science denial as gross negligence—and hold those who do the denying accountable. Los Angeles Times via Getty Images – People walking in the flooded areas near their homes on August 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harris, the third-largest in the nation — that he was charged with protecting.
When the Tribune told Talbott that a host of scientific experts had said the contrary, his reply was blunt. Almost exactly one year later, Harvey made landfall. Americans, is all but inconceivable. Our fourth-largest city is now a sunken, subdivided ghost ship. Tens of billions of dollars of damage done. In such a storm’s wake, we are often reminded that it’s time to band together, to persevere, and to rebuild.
We are not as often reminded that homes and lives may have been saved if officials and policymakers had incorporated the recommendations of sound science in their outlook and preparedness plans. Which is why we need to add a third response to our evolving national post-catastrophic storm mourning ritual: Identifying and investigating the negligent officials who put the public in harm’s way by repeatedly ignoring crucial data and scientific evidence that can help prevent disaster. Jason Vargas carried belongings on his back after evacuating his home due to severe flooding following Hurricane Harvey in north Houston August 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Scientists knew a disaster like Harvey was coming. Those in power who refused to listen — who refused to use the best available data to do their jobs of protecting their constituents from disaster — should be held accountable.
Mike Talbott’s department could have acted on sound evidence and saved lives. It is impossible to determine how many have died as a result of any official’s refusal to appropriately prepare the city for disaster, but there is little doubt some of the blame for the scale of this calamity is theirs. But it’s high time to start taking this pointed refusal to prepare, this refusal to observe the basic tenets of science seriously — and call it what it is: Negligence. Climate change denial can and will leave people dead. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise.
The list of ways in which Talbott and his office should have been aware of the substantial risk of ignoring a robust body of scientific evidence, at the tragic expense of the people of Houston, is stunning. As a climate change skeptic, Talbott, who is trained not as a scientist but as an engineer, refused to consider projections of rising sea levels and heavier rainfall. He let developers pour concrete over prairielands that used to soak up that rainfall, exacerbating flooding. He refused to acknowledge that constructing elevated buildings in a floodplain was probably redirecting floods elsewhere. All of the above led to a sharp rise in complaints from increasingly flooded homeowners, activists, and scientists. Instead of preparing Houston for a climate-changed, flood-prone era, Mike Talbott and his office helped it evolve into a deadly urban aquarium waiting to happen. This sort of science-denying recklessness is happening all over the country, in various guises, and many more lives are in danger.
In 2012, North Carolina’s Coastal Commission released a scientific report projecting a sea level rise of 39 inches along the state’s shores over the course of the coming century. It was an alarming finding that would require major planning in order to protect the state’s many coastal residents. The motive of the maneuver was thinly veiled. Coastal real estate values would plummet if the properties for sale were eroding into the ocean, after all.
Tom Thompson, who led NC-20, a group that advocated for economic development on North Carolina’s coastline — and, surprise again, another climate change denier. It will be a miracle if the sea level rise reaches 39 inches. If we wait and see, then it costs nothing. If they’re right, then fine.
A family resting in a shelter at a Gallery Furniture store during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Flor Portilla outside her home in East Houston, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Houston residents in a flooded neighborhood following Hurricane Harvey. People being rescued from a flooded neighborhood in Houston. Talbott’s at Houston flood control. If it gets hot, we get shade.
North Carolina would look to the future of sea level rise, but no more than 30 years. Again, this is how climate denial manifests as gross negligence. But in the Tea Party era of 2009, it exploded into a mandatory Republican tribal belief. Climate change is the perfect pseudoscientific theory for a big government politician who wants more power. Like many in his party, he thinks it’s a hoax. Yet in reality, obviously, climate change is an existential threat to residents of his home state not only in the form of hurricanes, but from plights like heat waves, too.