As warming temperatures caused by climate change is strengthening hurricanes, leaders in the region plead with Trump to rejoin the Paris climate deal
Oliver MilmanTue 7 Aug 2018 11.00 BST
Hurricanes Katia (left), Irma (center) and Jose (right) in September 2017 – the first time on record that three major hurricanes made landfall at the same time in the Caribbean. Photograph: GOES-13 and MODIS/NASA/NOAA
Caribbean states and territories have rounded on the Trump administration for dismantling the US’s response to climate change, warning that greenhouse gas emissions must be sharply cut to avoid hurricanes and sea level rise threatening the future of their island idylls.
The onset of this year’s hurricane season has seen leaders in the region tell the Guardian that Donald Trump needs to grasp the existential threat they face. Rising temperatures and increased precipitation caused by climate change is strengthening hurricanes, researchers have found, even as the overall number of storms remains steady.
“In 2017 we saw some of the most devastating and destructive hurricanes we’ve seen in our history,” said Selwin Hart, Barbados’ ambassador to the US. “This needs to be recognized.
“This isn’t some scientific debate, it’s a reality with loss of life implications. We need the US to be back at the table and engage. It’s imperative. We wouldn’t have a Paris climate agreement without the US and we need them back now.”
Hurricane Irma strengthened to a category five hurricane before slamming into the Caribbean and US in September, causing more than 130 deaths in places such as Barbuda, Saint Martin, Barbados and the US. This storm was swiftly followed by Hurricane Maria, which obliterated much of Dominica and caused a widespread, ongoing disaster in Puerto Rico, leaving thousands dead.
re is little time left for action. While the big countries talk, the small island nations suffer. We need action and we need it now.”