The BBC reports that Hurricane Matthew has killed over 900 people; nearly wiped out whole towns; left tens of thousands of families homeless; destroyed crops, livestock and food supplies; contaminated the drinking water; and released sewage that’s spreading disease. The U.N. says “Haiti is facing the largest humanitarian event witnessed since the earthquake six years ago.”
[A scene in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew, photo via the U.N.]
While the U.N. and other nations help Haiti rebuild, some missionaries have gone to take some supplies and most likely the opportunity to evangelize victims, like Franklin Graham’s Christian mission Samaritan’s Purse. The charity is asking the public for donations and “prayers in Jesus’ name.”
But part of their work, at least for its CEO, Rev. Graham, is to ensure the situation only worsens for Haiti. He must like the hurricane-relief business, since he’s also America’s leading Christian crusader for Donald Trump, going to all fifty states to get out the vote for him in his Decision America tour. Trump, who says climate change is a hoax concocted by the Chinese, will almost certainly increase our CO2 emissions and threaten global climate treaties if elected. Graham himself calls climate change treaty efforts “godless,” “frightening,” and leading toward “moral depravity:”
President Obama and other world leaders came to Copenhagen for a United Nations climate summit, where the topic of global warming took center stage. I think all of us would certainly agree that steps can be taken to preserve the fragile environment we live in.
What is happening, however, in gatherings like this is frightening to me. A legitimate concern for the stewardship of our resources has been replaced by a radical, godless worldview that elevates the creation to idolatrous status…
People who have rejected God–and the idea that man is made in His image–are worshiping and serving creation, rather than the Creator. They have no concern for the souls of men, and “mother earth” is their false and idolatrous god. Moral depravity is the end result.
In other words, Graham thinks God’s work is to make sure more Haitians endure unimaginable suffering.
We know that climate change is making hurricanes more severe and the likely cause for Matthew’s unusual intensity. But it’s all okay, as long as God keeps damning Haiti and blessing the U.S. Or so we’re to think given Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement right after Haiti was devastated that Florida was “blessed.” Presuming he meant by God; the only possible logical corollary to that is that Haiti has been damned by God. The belief that only God controls weather makes it easier for conservative Christian politicians like Scott, who in 2011 denied man-made global warming and said:
“I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change…Nothing’s convinced me that there is.”
He may still be a denialist, as he’s had officials ban Florida scientists from talking about climate change:
Gov. Rick Scott has warned Floridians to take Hurricane Matthew seriously, warning that the storm is a “monster” that “will kill you.” Yet the governor has expressed skepticism about whether climate change exists.
In 2015, former employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said they were banned from using terms such as “climate change” and “global warming.”
The governor also supports GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has argued that climate change is just a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to destroy the American economy…
Two years ago, Scott did meet with Florida scientists who wanted to present him with the evidence, but he has yet to adopt any of the proposals put forward for combating the problem.
The science is straightforward and clear that while warming may cause fewer storms, they will become worse. It’s impossible to deny that the oceans are warming and hurricanes get their energy from the ocean’s warmth. Florida’s state climatologist David Zierden says global warming made Matthew more intense by producing the warmest year ever, as it’s now doing each year, and ocean temperatures above average for October:
Hurricanes and tropical storms gain their power from absorbing the heat of warm water. That’s why hurricane season runs from June to November, when the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico are at their warmest.
This year, global temperature readings are setting new records every month, so that 2016 is on track to be the warmest year ever.
“Ocean temperatures are playing a big role in that,” said David Zierden, Florida’s state climatologist.
This summer, the waters around the Bahamas and off Florida’s southeastern coast has been running at least 1 degree Celsius warmer than normal, he said.
“The warmer ocean temperatures surely helped fuel Matthew,” Zierden said.
James Elsner, the chairman of Florida State University’s geography department, has done an extensive study of how climate change affects hurricanes. There’s no evidence that climate change is affecting the number of tropical storms and hurricanes that develop, he said, but there is evidence to show that it makes those storms stronger.
He explained the general rule: “The warmer the ocean, the greater the intensity.”
October storms aren’t generally all that powerful, but Matthew rapidly intensified to a Category 4 hurricane. That, he said, shows the effects of an ocean that’s been heated up…
Climate change is producing another change in hurricanes, too. Rising sea levels — produced by a combination of melting Arctic ice and the higher temperatures making the water expand — is resulting in bigger storm surges.
A U.N. agronomist reported last December on the changes he’s observed in Haiti’s climate:
Extreme weather conditions alternate between severe drought in the dry season and high rainfall during the wet season. In northwest Haiti where I work, we have just undergone four months of consecutive drought. Peasant plantations have lost most of their harvest because the crops cannot survive without rainfall. The rivers and natural water sources are dry resulting in a food crisis in the local communities… climate change has caused a yield reduction of our principal crops of rice and maize. Also acceleration of soil erosion under heavy rain has led to a decrease in the fertility and productivity of the soil. Regarding water resources, climate change has increased the risk of flooding and prolonged drought. Longer periods of droughts cause an increase in food insecurity and many other conflicts where consistent use of water is needed.
This should not be news to U.S. political and opinion leaders. Haiti was ranked number one in the 2012 Climate Change Vulnerability Index. Thirty countries were classified as at “extreme risk;” sharing the top ten with Haiti were Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Cambodia, Mozambique, DR Congo, Malawi and Philippines.
Christians, if none of this fits in with your “traditional Christian values,” and you think Trump does, you need to stop and realize that this harms not just the less-“blessed” natives, but the global economy — including ours.