|A flooded street in South Carolina pictured on the 6th of October. Photo credit: Reuters / Randall Hill.|
By Anders Lorenzen
While the majority of US Republicans continue to deny the reality of climate change, a historic and unprecedented flooding event has claimed the lives of 15 people in the Republican -controlled state, South Carolina.
On the 2nd of October more than 60 cm of fell in parts of South Carolina. The state avoided a hit from Hurricane Joaquin, but experienced historic rainfall and flooding due to a combination of weather mostly unrelated to that storm.
Of the 15 people who died, nine drowned and six were killed in weather-related car crashes, an emergency agency said. The extended rainstorm was also blamed for two deaths in North Carolina.
The Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, called the storm ‘heartbreaking’, but said it was too early to predict the scale of the damage. Around 800 people were believed to be in sheltered accommodation, as the floods had forced them out of their homes.
Haley described it as a one in a 1,000-year event and made no link to climate change. Last year she blasted President Obama for his carbon regulations on coal- powered power plants.
While scientists agree that you can’t link a particular extreme weather event to climate change, science tells us that as the climate warms the intensity and severity of such events will increase. In 2011, South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), completed a report on the local effects of climate change. DNR then pronounced the report ready for public review, but the public never heard of it, instead it was shelved. In 2013, the news outlets got hold of the report and released it. The risks described in the report included rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and floods. And the report also warned that, if not managed, people would drown.
The State Administration has, as a result of the controversy, been criticized for its lack of action when it comes to climate change. The state is as Republican as it gets. Apart from the Governor, the two Senators, and six out of the seven Representatives to the US House are Republicans.
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