Statement from Ken Berlin, President and CEO of The Climate Reality Project, on Hurricane Laura and the 15th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Laura made landfall on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana as Category 4 hurricane and one of the strongest storms in US history. Fueled by the much warmer-than-normal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Laura is among 13 named storms to emerge so far in 2020, in what has been one of the most active hurricane seasons to date, and which experts predict could result in an unprecedented 19-25 named weather events before the end of the year.
Scientists are clear: the climate crisis raises ocean temperatures and results in stronger, more destructive storms, and rising sea levels are driving more devastating storm surges. Ken Berlin, president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project, released the following statement.
“One of the most powerful storms in US history, Hurricane Laura, made landfall on the Gulf Coast almost 15 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina barreled into Mississippi and Louisiana. This hurricane is yet another sobering reminder of the compounding crises our nation is facing: a global pandemic, a racial justice crisis, and climate-fueled natural disasters that directly threaten lives, health, and the economy, and devastate our most vulnerable communities.
“We don’t yet know the full extent of the devastation from Hurricane Laura, but we know the scars from Hurricane Katrina – and other natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and María – have not fully healed. Thousands of lives were lost, families watched helplessly as their homes and belongings were washed away, and the entire nation witnessed scenes of destruction, desperation, and despair play out on the nightly news. Recovery has been neither swift, nor complete, for the communities left in the wake of these storms, especially Black and Brown people who are pushed disproportionately into neighborhoods most at-risk of flooding and destruction. Now, for many of these same families and neighborhoods, Hurricane Laura threatens to reverse their ongoing recovery, exacerbate already stark inequalities, and potentially accelerate the spread of a deadly virus.
“These are the real stakes of the climate crisis: lives lost, widening inequity, and billions of dollars in damage to the economy. We cannot continue to ignore the direct connection between the American fossil fuel economy and unprecedented hurricane seasons, record-shattering temperatures, and devastating wildfires. We have the tools to build resilience and mitigate against future extreme weather events, but we urgently need a clean energy transition that allows us to adapt to a changing climate – one that supports green jobs, grows the economy, and fosters more equitable communities.
“Our hearts are with all those affected by Hurricane Laura. If you are able, we encourage you to lend your support, however you are able, to organizations and groups providing relief on-the-ground, such as the American Red Cross.”