“Every night on the television news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation and we’ve got to connect the dots between the cause and the effect,” Gore said during a speech at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, where about 4,000 city, state, business, and world leaders gathered to demonstrate their will to combat climate change.
Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday, causing massive flooding and knocking out the power for hundreds of thousands of people, and the storm is expected to continue punishing North and South Carolina throughout the weekend.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said Friday the state was facing “an extremely dangerous situation, and it’s getting worse.”
“Hurricane Florence is powerful, slow, and relentless,” Cooper said.
While scientists generally don’t attribute the cause of any specific hurricane to climate change, most say global warming makes hurricanes wetter and more destructive.
That’s because the temperatures of oceans, and the air, is warmer. Warmer air holds more moisture, which leads to more rain. Global warming makes sea levels higher, causing worse storm surge where rising waters are pushed ashore by wind.
Scientists also say climate change is causing storms to linger in the same place longer, allowing them to produce more rain over a single area, and cause flooding.
“Florence is similar to Harvey [the 2017 hurricane that hit Houston, Texas] in the sense that the disruption of the Northern Hemisphere jet stream is what is keeping these storms in the same place, so they drop so much water,” Gore said. “Even without the cyclonic storms, we are putting so much heat into the oceans. We’re using the sky as an open sewer … trapping heat energy.”
Gore, a leading environmental activist, also blamed climate change for worsening other extreme weather events that have occurred throughout the world in 2018, such as record wildfires, heatwaves, and drought.
The former vice president poked people who deny climate change, comparing them unfavorably to President Trump’s much-criticized denial of the death count in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.
“Some people evidently can still deny the reality,” Gore said. “It’s a little bit harder to deny the 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. C’mon. How far down that rabbit hole are people going to follow? This is utter insanity.”