By Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, Aug 31, 2017
This website posting will gather images and reports in the coming days of the devastating Hurricane/Storm Harvey that struck southern Texas beginning on August 25, 2017 and the monsoon rains in southern Asia that have killed more than 1,200 and displaced millions.
On August 30, now-Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall for a second time. It struck further east than Hurricane Harvey’s strike five days earlier, this time on the Gulf of Mexico coastline where Texas and Louisiana meet.
The destructive force of Hurricane Harvey is the consequence of expansionist capitalism and its limitless growth imperative. (See climate news reports below.) Since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, the average temperature of the Earth has risen by 1.2 degree Celsius. The pace of temperature rise is accelerating, notwithstanding all the talk and hot air issued at international conferences of late discussing rising greenhouse gas emmissions causing rising global temperatures. Expansionist capitalism is making a mockery of the United Nations-mandated goal of limiting global temperature rises. (See: We are on track to pass 1.5°C warming in less than ten years, New Scientist, May 11, 2017.)
The 2015 Paris Agreement sets the following goal: “The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” Never mind that a temperature rise of 1.5 to two degrees Celsius already threatens human society and the Earth’s ecology; globalized capitalism will blow past these goals unless steps are taken to radically reduce all the wasteful and harmfull excess of the capitalist system and institute a planned, social economy in which the expansion imperative of capitalism is constrained and, over time, eliminated.
Radical retraction and retrenchment of all the excess and waste of capitalist society is not yet anywhere on the political and economic agenda. It’s not on the agenda of the radical environmental movement and its leading spokespeople such as Naomi Klein, James Hansen. And it is not yet on the agenda of the ‘ecosocialists’ of the environmental movement and its spokespeople such as John Bellamy Foster.
Also not yet on the political agenda to the degree necessary is the equal and parallel threat to humanity–imperialist war and militarism. This menace is evidenced by the rising threats against North Korea, NATO’s sanctions and threats against Russia (including Crimea), and the NATO-encouraged civil war being waged in eastern Ukraine by the right-wing government of that country.
Houston has been called the fossil fuel capital of the world. Its urban expansion of recent decades tossed aside serious planning to take account of how the city is exceptionally prone to serious flooding. An article on August 31 in the New York Times provides an overview of the frenetic pace of growth and expansion of the city in recent decades. This unbridled growth amplified the destructive force of Hurricane Harvey. More detailed articles on this side of the story are contained in this compilation of news and analysis posted to A Socialist In Canada on August 30: Hurricane Harvey: A social and ecological disaster foretold.
In southern Asia, global warming is fueling deluges impacting 42 million people, report on Roberts Scribbler, Aug 30, 2017
Floods in Africa in August killed 25 times more people than Hurricane Harvey did, Quartz, Sept 4, 2017
So let’s talk about the science of how climate change kicked Harvey into higher gear, report on Roberts Scribbler, Aug 30, 2017
Warming linked to Hurricane/Storm Harvey devastation, by Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, Aug 31, 2017
In Texas, distrust of Washington collides with need for federal aid, by Richard Fausset, New York Times, Sept 4, 2017
Harvey wasn’t just bad weather, it was bad city planning, Bloomberg Business Week, Aug 31, 2017
Who’s behind fossil fuel extraction? It’s not just Republicans, by Alison Rose Levy, Truthout, Sept 2, 2017
Battered by Harvey, immigrants in Houston brace for a DACA decision, by Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, Sept 4, 2017
A sea of health and environmental hazards in Houston’s floodwaters, by Hiroko Tabuchi and Sheila Kaplan, New York Times, Aug 31, 2017
Officials in Houston are just beginning to grapple with the health and environmental risks that lurk in the waters dumped by Hurricane Harvey, a stew of toxic chemicals, sewage, debris and waste that still floods much of the city.
Flooded sewers are stoking fears of cholera, typhoid and other infectious diseases. Runoff from the city’s sprawling petroleum and chemicals complex contains any number of hazardous compounds. Lead, arsenic and other toxic and carcinogenic elements may be leaching from some two dozen Superfund sites in the Houston area…
Harvey victims face toxic pollution as hurricane recovery begins, by Alleen Brown, The Intercept, Aug 31, 2017
Now comes the uncomfortable question: Who gets to rebuild after Harvey?, by Kate Aronoff, The Intercept, Aug 30, 2017
Mapping the damage from Hurricane Harvey: extensive maps and graphs on New York Times, Sept 1, 2017
Initial cost estimates of damage from Hurrican Harvey are $70 to $120 billion, compares to $160 billion for Katrina, New York Times, Sept 4, 2017
Fire out but more expected at Texas chemical plant as federal investigation launched, ABC News, Sept 1, 2017
Harvey aftermath: A public health crisis in the making, by Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, Aug 31, 2017
The Gulf Coast faces an evolving public health crisis in the wake of Hurricane Harvey that’s likely to unfold over months or even years. Health officials are concerned about everything from immediate injuries and exposure to germs and toxic chemicals to more insidious and long-term threats, including mold in the walls of flooded homes and mental health problems.
As historic flooding grips Texas, groups demand nuclear plant be shut down, by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Aug 29, 2017
We’re nowhere near prepared for the ecological disaster that Harvey is becoming, by Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, Aug 30, 2017
Into the deluge, eight-minute video by New York Times, Sept 5, 2017
Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Caribbean islands and Florida
As of September 5, Hurricane Irma is a category five hurricane, the strongest hurricane meaurement.