Floods In Mozambique
Sir, - Your otherwise excellent coverage of the recent flooding disaster in Mozambique is marred by the absence of any mention of a likely significant contributory factor - climate change. Reportage of other recent record climatic events including flooding in Venezuela, record wind storms in France, record flooding of the Shannon, and even the devastating flooding of Honduras associated with hurricane Mitch have also avoided any mention of the human-induced climate change that our planet is now experiencing.
Natural disasters have, of course, been occurring since long before climate change. What is different now is the greater frequency of such disasters and their increased intensity. Flooding is also much more prevalent as the higher temperature of the planet causes greater evaporation and thus the record rainfalls experienced in Mozambique and elsewhere.
The vast majority of climatic scientists and other relevant experts accept the fact that our planet's climate is changing as a result of human activities such as driving, electricity generation, cattle "production" and deforestation. The governments of the world accepted this in the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. The insurance industry is well aware of the effects of climate change. Even several of the world's major oil companies publicly admit that it is occurring.
Why then is climate change so rarely mentioned in The Irish Times and other media - particularly in connection with the increased occurrence and severity of the natural disasters that flow from it? In a story about lung cancer you would surely mention smoking as a contributory factor.
Why then does story after story about record climatic events fail to mention climate change?
The people of Mozambique are not known for their carbon emissions. While they pay for climate change with their homes and sometimes their lives, it is we in the rich, industrialised west who are the main causes of it. Change cannot happen without knowledge and awareness. Surely under-reporting the effects of climate change does a deep and damaging disservice not only to the people of Mozambique and elsewhere, but also to your own readers. - Yours etc., Graham Caswell,
Arklow, Co Wicklow.