Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Guardian Reporter Ed Pilkington has been running around Marco Island Florida, desperately trying to find someone who thinks climate change is a problem.
Floridians battered by Irma maintain climate change is no ‘big deal’
On Marco Island, widespread destruction in Irma’s wake is not enough to make believers out of some climate change skeptics
They sat through hours of pummelling by Hurricane Irma, with winds pounding them at up to 115mph and rain driving in a solid white sheet as bright as a snow blizzard. Then on Monday, Floridians woke up to survey the damage, begin the cleanup and get back to carrying on regardless.
By noon, the jet skiers were back on the water, buzzing around the west coast waterways under a blue sky where only hours before Irma had shaken the trees and put fear in people’s hearts.
The catastrophe that had been forewarned over countless hours of rolling cable television appeared to have been avoided. But only narrowly.
For its lucky escape, the US has Cuba to thank, given that the northern coast of the island soaked up an important part of Irma’s energy before the storm reached Florida. Not that the debt of gratitude will be repaid by the current incumbent of the White House.
Chris Roche, 52, a real estate lawyer, was taking a long hard look at the damage to his home. Three trees were down in the yard, some tiles had come off the roof and there were signs of grey mud on the road – Irma’s calling card, dredged up from the seabed and deposited right outside his door.
This was the fifth or sixth hurricane he had sat through since he moved on to the island in 1979, he said with the nonchalance of someone discussing trips to the theater. He was more than a little skeptical of the warnings to evacuate which he had heard and duly ignored.
“They always tell us we will have a storm surge,” he said. “I know they are doing it for safety reasons, but I’ve never seen it happen.”
As for climate change? “I don’t think climate change is such a big deal.”
Hurricanes kill, but so do blizzards. Every place has its weather hazards. Hurricanes are not getting worse. Building wind turbines will do nothing to reduce the hazards of bad weather.
Only climate fanatics see anything unnatural about this year’s hurricane season.
Hyping up every storm is probably doing more to destroy the credibility of the green movement than anything climate skeptics write.