Managing epic proportions | The Triangle

Managing epic proportions

Photograph courtesy of Carolyn Cole at Los Angeles Times/TNS

This year’s ongoing Atlantic hurricane season can be described by a vast number of categories: apocalyptic, destructive, terror-inducing for both those affected directly and those watching from a distance. However, one word has been constantly missed in the description of not only the Atlantic hurricane season but also the actions taken by the current government: mismanagement.

Now that isn’t saying that President Donald Trump hasn’t been taking some good actions, because surprisedly, during this year’s hurricane season, he has. He’s taken time out of his busy schedule to visit both Texas and Florida, both completely ravaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and has continued to state the obvious by saying, “This was of epic proportions. Nobody has ever seen anything like this.”

Yes, Donald. Nobody has ever seen anything like this before, simply because this is a major effect of climate change, and the worst part is, nobody will ever see anything like this again, since, at the current rate we are heading, the hurricanes will become stronger in intensity, turning hurricanes such as Harvey, Irma, and Maria into minor hurricanes in comparison to what we are looking forward to.

Recently, I watched Al Gore’s new film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”, in which the former vice president discussed not only Trump’s avoidance of climate change regulation that could lower intensity of these hurricanes and storms, but also how climate change itself is contributing to the intensity of these storms. Climate change and hurricanes are connected through one factor: how these storms are formed, when heat causes warm water to become moist air and rise, creating a circular wind pattern that eventually makes landfall and becomes a hurricane.

The only way for a hurricane to become more intense is for the the winds to travel over warmer waters. Of course, one of the effects of climate change is warmer waters, due to the water absorbing the extra heat. This can be proven when looking at the pattern of hurricanes, especially in the Atlantic. Between 2013 and 2016, which were the fifth, third, second, and first hottest years in recorded history, respectively, the wind speed of the largest hurricane increased from 90 mph to 165 mph, with 2017’s increasing to 185 mph. Therefore, President Trump providing aid to those affected by the tragedy is the equivalent of him putting a band-aid on a broken arm.

More action needs to be taken, and, in fact, there has been action already taken. On November 4 last year, representatives from 196 countries made an agreement to bring down the global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by bringing carbon emissions down to zero and investing more money into companies that would help produce renewable energy as soon as possible. The United States alone accounts for 17.89 percent of manmade carbon dioxide emissions in the world, with only one country emitting more (China emits 20.09 percent), and as such, is a major contributor to the problem. On June 1, President Trump decided to officially pull the United States from the agreement, citing that “the Paris accord will undermine our economy,” and that the agreement would “put us at a permanent disadvantage.”

Quite the contrary. In fact, doing the opposite and sticking with fossil fuels will only make the problems we have, including hurricane severity, even worse. With the more fossil fuels we burn, the higher we make the average temperature, and then the oceans and multiple bodies of water will also increase in temperature, creating stronger and longer-lasting hurricanes, meaning one thing: it is time to stop procrastinating. After all, we only have one earth.