Alwaght-Climate change has been blamed for the monstrous Hurricane Irma which is set to lash the US state of Florida later Saturday after leaving a trail of death and destruction across the Caribbean.
Before pushing toward Florida, Hurricane Irma had affected as many as 26 million people in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.
The deadly hurricane has prompted one of the largest emergency evacuations in American history. Nearly six million people – or over a quarter of the Florida's population - had been told to evacuate their homes before Irma’s arrival.
So far, of the 24 deaths blamed on Irma, nine were in unspecified French territories, one on Barbuda, one in the British overseas territory of Anguilla, two in Dutch-administered St. Maarten, four in the British Virgin Islands, four on the US Virgin Islands, and three in Puerto Rico.
Irma is pounding Florida as another US state, Texas, recovers from Hurricane Harvey, which killed 70 people when it struck last month. The state’s governor says the clean-up could cost up to $120bn.
Climate scientists say that there is convincing evidence that points toward global warming having an impact on the formation and severity of hurricanes.
Karah Kapnick, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said "You fit all the data together, and as you get higher and higher values of precipitation, it becomes less and less likely without climate change."
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied global warming, dubbing it a hoax, and pulled the US out of the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change in June. Trump actually believes climate change is not real but a conspiracy. In 2012 he tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has conducted research on global warming and hurricanes and concluded that climate warming was likely to cause hurricanes in the coming century to be more intense globally and to have higher rainfall rates than present-day hurricanes.
“In our view, there are better than even odds that the numbers of very intense (category 4 and 5) hurricanes will increase by a substantial fraction in some basins, while it is likely that the annual number of tropical storms globally will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged.”
French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said on Friday extreme weather conditions like the powerful hurricane bearing down on Florida risked becoming the norm, and lambasted US President Donald Trump's stance on climate change.
In an interview with France 2 TV about Hurricane Irma, Hulot implied that Trump - who has called global warming a hoax - was ignoring the reality of man-made climate change, which most mainstream scientists regard as an established fact.