Even as we watch the catastrophic flooding in Texas, we must recognize that, sadly, Harvey won't be unique. From Baton Rouge to Bangladesh, the entire world is experiencing more intense storms with more rain and wind, leading to record flooding. And it's all made worse by climate change.
Hurricane Harvey wasn't caused by climate change. But its effects were certainly exacerbated by it. As average sea surface temperatures rise, it leads to more powerful hurricanes. Global temperatures are rising too, leading to more water vapor in the air and storms that drop more rain. Houston has already had three 500-year floods in three years: The 2015 and 2016 Memorial Day floods, and now Harvey.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the House and Senate would rather stick their heads in the sand about climate change. They've proposed a 2018 spending bill that would slash funding to our scientific agencies, specifically targeting climate change research. Funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would drop 19%, NASA's earth science division would lose 11%, and the National Science Foundation would lose $100 million in funding alone.
This isn't a matter of academics. This is a matter of survival. We must acknowledge and fund research into climate change's effects on storms and floods – before it's too late.
NOTE: There is some good news to update you on: Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mattis said that the Pentagon would defy Trump and stay the course on transgender inclusion in the military; no currently-serving trans members of the military would be kicked out. Moreover, Trump's discriminatory ban would only go into effect after more studies have been conducted (with only a vague timetable announced on when those studies would be finished). It's not perfect, but it's a start.
WHO TO CALL:
Senators Cassidy & Kennedy, Representative Scalise OR Representative Richmond
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-5824 and METAIRIE OFFICE: (504) 838-0130 (NOTE: If you can't get through to Metairie, try one of the other offices, such as Monroe: (318) 324-2111, Lake Charles: (337) 493-5398, or Alexandria: Phone: (318) 448-7176)
Senator John Kennedy - DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4623 and NEW ORLEANS OFFICE: (504) 581-6190
Because of how Congressional districts are drawn, New Orleans residents have either Richmond or Scalise as their representative. If you don't know who your representative is, you can look it up by entering your home address on the U.S. House of Representatives website.
Representative Steve Scalise: DC OFFICE: 202-225-3015 OR Representative Cedric Richmond: DC OFFICE: 202-225-6636
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Only call your own representative. Be concise - the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer - they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal -- call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling to ask the Senator/Representative to demand a 2018 appropriations bill that fully funds scientific bodies conducting climate change research, including NOAA, NASA's Earth Science Division, and the National Science Foundation. Just like Texas, Louisiana is going to suffer the effects of stronger, more intense storms and worsening floods if we don't get serious about fighting climate change. Please do not cut any funding from these crucial scientific programs in the 2018 appropriations bill.
Thank you for your time, and for your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible