Saturday, September 03, 2005

The sequelae of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina are a testament to the cpacity of people to ignore the obvious when it looks like it might not be profitable. A key component of the level of destruction was the removal of wetlands to enable development to occur. Yet it has been known for decades that in estuarine environments the wetlands are a key buffer against sudden rises in water level.

But in the case of New Orleans the authorities consistently ignored this and permitted development to occur. In whose best interests was that, I wonder? This approach will be increasingly costly as the power and frequency of hurricanes increases with ongoing global warming. There are going to be some very significant adjustments in the thinking of the insurance industry, I fancy. I wonder when the insurers will start to lean on the US administration to start taking climate change seriously?

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