The Other Side of Environmental Injustice

Yesterday I wrote about the current Republican administration’s environmental injustice, i.e. refusing to fund climate disaster relief for Puerto Rico, Pine Ridge, and other areas. As Julian Bear Runner, Oglala Sioux Tribal President asks:

“Why does President Trump refuse to send needed aid to poor communities of color in the aftermath of natural disasters?”

Julian Bear Runner

Just weeks after the destructive Cyclone Adai struck Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth has struck the country.

While Cyclone Idai is the seventh such major storm of the Indian Ocean season – more than double the average for this time of year – the long-term trend does not support the idea that these type of events are now more frequent.
“The interesting thing for the area is that the frequency of tropical cyclones has decreased ever so slightly over the last 70 years,” said Dr Jennifer Fitchett from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa who has studied the question.
“Instead, we are getting a much higher frequency of high-intensity storms.”
Climate change is also changing a number of factors in the background that are contributing to making the impact of these storms worse.
“There is absolutely no doubt that when there is a tropical cyclone like this, then because of climate change the rainfall intensities are higher,” said Dr Friederike Otto, from the University of Oxford, who has carried a number of studies looking at the influence of warming on specific events.
“And also because of sea-level rise, the resulting flooding is more intense than it would be without human-induced climate change.”

Cyclone Idai: What’s the role of climate change?, Matt McGrath, BBC News, March 20, 2019

Poorer people and countries, which have contributed the least to climate change, are also the most vulnerable to its effects. The price paid in lost lives and livelihoods falls disproportionately on them. This is seen not only in Cyclone Idai, but also in the recent flooding in the U.S. Midwest, where Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation are finding recovery far more difficult than farmers in neighboring states.

In The Wake Of Cyclone Idai, The North Has A Climate Debt To Pay, By William Minter,, April 12, 2019

UN weather experts say it is unprecedented for two cyclones of such intensity to hit Mozambique in the same season.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) also said that no previous records show a cyclone striking the region as far north as Kenneth.
It said a fact-finding mission would examine the “impact of climate change and sea-level rise on Mozambique’s resilience” to extreme weather.

Amnesty International’s secretary general Kumi Naidoo said the two storms were “exactly what climate scientists warned would happen if we continue to warm our planet beyond its limits”.

Cyclone Kenneth: Rescuers struggle to reach storm-hit villages, BBC News, April 27, 2019

“There is one inescapable and burning injustice we cannot stress enough,” he said, adding: “The people of Mozambique are paying the price for dangerous climate change when they have done next to nothing to cause this crisis.”

Cyclone Kenneth: Rescuers struggle to reach storm-hit villages, BBC News, April 27, 2019
This entry was posted in climate change, climate refugees, Indigenous, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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