Climate action advocates in the U.S. amplified the urgency needed for political leaders from both major parties—including Republicans in the middle of their 4-day national convention this week—to address the planetary climate crisis as Hurricane Laura, upgraded to a potentially catastrophic Category 4 earlier in the day, barreled toward the Gulf Coast.
"It is terrifying to watch the speed with which Hurricane Laura is intensifying," author and climate activist Bill McKibben tweeted. "The hot waters of the Gulf are an endless source of destructive power."
McKibben's tweet came as the National Hurricane Center warned that Laura, expected to make landfall along the Texas-Louisiana line Wednesday night, is "an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane" that could unleash an "unsurvivable storm surge."
It's Houston Climate Action week and one of its greatest threats showed up right on schedule: bigger, stronger, more rapidly intensifying hurricanes due to warmer ocean water from a changing climate. @DrJeffMasters has more on dangerous #hurricanelaura -> https://t.co/cGD8I4VsM2 pic.twitter.com/tTRSdm1oxY
— Prof. Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe) August 26, 2020
Among the Louisiana communities in the storm's path is Lake Charles, with federal forecasters warning that the city could experience winds of up to 110 mph.
Lake Charles is "a majority Black city with metro area population of 225,000" and per capita income of $22,855," tweeted meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus, who referred to the city as being at "the crossroads of the climate emergency and environmental racism of the oil industry."
I am sick to my stomach about Hurricane Laura.
Thinking of everyone in the storm's path & wishing you as safe a journey as possible thru the next days & weeks.
I hate how powerless it feels to fight the climate crisis every day & then watch it unfold right in front of you. https://t.co/9odCrQWWmm
— Varshini Prakash (@VarshPrakash) August 26, 2020
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Progressive group Power4NewMexico drew attention to the National Hurricane Center's blunt warning about the power of the storm. "The more we wait on a bold climate action, people will die from the climate crisis," the group wrote.
While the Democratic Party platform has been criticized for not being bold enough to address runaway planetary warming, Republicans, who are holding their convention this week, have been harshly panned for having "absolutely no plan to deal with the climate crisis."
And, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) noted Wednesday, the un-action plan has to been seen in the context of the multiple climate-fueled disasters currently ravaging the nation:
Hurricane Laura producing an unsurvivable storm surge in Texas and Louisiana. A catastrophic 800-mile derecho in Iowa and Illinois. Raging wildfires in California. No. The Green New Deal is not radical. Having a president in office who calls climate change a hoax—that's radical.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 26, 2020
For those in the storm's path Wednesday—and future storms to come— the need for bold climate action is clear:
It really doesn't get much more real than this. 140mph Hurricane #Laura will make landfall after dark likely near Cameron, LA. If you are in Beaumont or Port Arthur, TX go west. If you are in Cameron or Lake Charles, LA go east. Go now. pic.twitter.com/06MFIvu2gr
— Mike Bettes (@mikebettes) August 26, 2020