February 19, 2021 – 11:55 pm
The United States is today the country most affected by climate change; from increasingly aggressive forest fires that spread uncontrollably, it turned to catastrophes caused by hurricanes that increase each year in number and power, to suffer from snow in extreme winters that freeze hot regions.
The last week has been a reminder of how the climate is taking its toll on the nation that generates the largest polluting load on the planet. Two hundred million people are affected by the lowest temperatures in more than a century as well as by tornado chains that devastate everything in their path and by storms that have low snow, in emergency, without power or water to southern states like Texas, Louisiana or Arkansas.
Six months ago, wildfire consumed the west coast of the United States. Fires caused by high temperatures, prolonged droughts and gusts of wind, frequent in recent years in California, spread north of the country reaching Oregon and Washington. Every day for a month the images showed how the flames destroyed entire populations, destroyed 2.3 million hectares and left 34 fatalities and 500 thousand victims.
While the West burned, several of the 30 hurricanes that formed in 2020 in the Atlantic and that mainly affected the states of the Gulf of Mexico and the east coast arrived from the south. Louisiana is the most representative example of what is happening today with the climate in the North American country: the temperatures that reach 40 degrees Celsius in summer make its warm waters like magnets for those powerful tropical storms that arrive and destroy everything. While in an intense winter like the current one, the cold currents that descend from the polar vortex have their thermometers marking below 10 degrees below zero and their populations sunk under twelve centimeters of snow.
They are all natural and frequent phenomena on a planet that is in constant evolution. But it is impossible to deny that, as a result of climate change caused by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, its consequences are now more shocking and intense, as shown by what happens year after year in the United States.
In countries located in the tropics, such as Colombia, the effects may not be felt as intensely as in those in the northern hemisphere, but reality shows that they are increasingly exposed to climate change and global warming. Hurricanes are already reaching the southern Caribbean as San Andrés and Providencia experienced, droughts are intensifying as Guajira testifies and winters are unpredictable throughout the national territory.
Whether skeptics continue to deny that reality or minimize its effects, the threat is real as Bill Gates well describes it. And it will be even more serious in the near future, with extreme cases such as those that affect the United States today, if it continues in that lethargy that does not allow to react as necessary to confront this great enemy.