Letter: Victims of Mitch

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The Independent Culture
Sir: A fortnight ago my neighbour was killed while trying to save his cattle from rising floodwaters here in Herefordshire. His death and the floods in general received wide press coverage. By contrast, the body- count and economic damage due to Hurricane Mitch is of too vast a scale to allow more than vague estimates to me made.

I note with dismay the lack of press inquiry into the rising frequency of such catastrophic climatic impacts. Over two years ago the Rome-based Global Dynamics Institute presented the UN conference on Climate Change with evidence of the strong correlation between rising global temperature and the rising incidence of extreme weather events.

The scientific expectation is that losses from events such as Hurricane Mitch will become increasingly common as climate destabilisation advances.

Poor nations' economies will be (and are being) pushed out of manageable fragility into progressive collapse, while wealthier nations are likely to face untenable economic disruption. This position will worsen until: global emissions of the relevant gasses are cut by well over 70 per cent; self-fuelling "feedback-loops" in the planet's warming have been decelerated; and time-lags in the system of perhaps several decades' length have been endured.

The longer our society's attitude of "sod the grandchildren" persists, the more uncertain will be our ability to reverse the warming trend, even by ending our fossil-fuel dependence. Therefore I would ask just how many more people, of whatever colour, must be killed before you will call for our economy to be put onto a war footing to respond effectively to global warming?

Lewis Cleverdon

Kington, Herefordshire