CAFOD appeals to climate denying president to lead the way on urgent issue after historic US flooding
Catholic aid charity CAFOD has urged United States President Donald Trump to rethink his stance on climate change and “step up” in order to tackle the “urgent issue”.
Their call comes as relief efforts get underway in large areas of Texas following the strongest hurricane to strike the United States since 2004.
Hurricane Harvey initially made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Texas on 25th August, before going back out to sea and becoming a tropical storm for days, flooding Texan cities including Houston before moving on to the neighbouring state of Louisiana.
Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes and lost their possessions in the widespread floods which followed the heaviest tropical rainfall ever recorded in the continental US.
Neil Thorns, director of advocacy at CAFOD, recalled Pope Francis’ recent message for the World Day of Creation, where the Holy Father reminded the faithful that it’s people living in poverty who are affected first and foremost by climate change.
“While the eyes of the world might be on Texas right now there’s a staggering 41 million people being impacted by severe flooding in South Asia currently,” Mr Thorns told The Universe.
“While the evidence isn’t clear to link global warming with hurricanes, the World Meteorological Society has said that climate change is likely to have made the rainfall that accompanies events like Hurricane Harvey much worse, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says a warmer climate will increase the risk of floods, droughts and other extreme weather events,” he explained.
“So what the world needs desperately is for all world leaders – including President Trump – to step up and tackle this most urgent issue.”
President Trump who, along with his wife, Melania, visited the areas hit by the storm and met those affected by it, has previously made his opinion on climate change very clear.
The president previously announced that the US would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change and, only last month, decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment – a group which summarises the impacts of climate change on the United States.
On 27th August, President Trump, who dismisses manmade climate change as a myth, took to social media in order to comment on Hurricane Harvey.
‘HISTORIC rainfall in Houston, and all over Texas. Floods are unprecedented, and more rain coming.
‘Spirit of the people is incredible. Thanks!’ he tweeted, adding: ‘Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!’
Picture: US President Donald Trump announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement on 1st June in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters).