19 days after hurricane ‘Katrina’ hit, devastation is evident, with villages and towns still flooded with contaminated water from the oil industries. Local residents and officials blame a ruptured Shell pipeline for spreading oil through marshes and communities down river from New Orleans.
While the immediate effort must go into addressing the human
andenvironmental consequences, over the longer term Katrina has
manylessons to offer and should be seen as a wake-up call about the
dangersof continued global fossil fuel dependency.
Greenpeacebelieves that as the water is pumped from New Orleans
and the city isrebuilt a parallel effort should be made to wean the
US, and the world,from its fossil fuel addiction, an addiction
which fuels global warmingand which will cause much more coastal
flooding and many more extremeweather events.
Switching to renewable energy sources, whichdo not contribute to
global warming, would also protect against futureeconomic and
energy security shocks like those suffered after Katrina.While much
discussion can be made about whether or not global
warmingcontributed to the severity of Katrina what the world's
climatescientists do know is that the burning of fossil fuels will
likelyincrease the number and severity of extreme weather
What does Katrina have to tell us about Global
Here's an excellent
technical discussion of the issue from RealClimate.org.
More into about the
impacts of Climate Change.
Climate Change and the Insurance Industry:1993 Greenpeace
report in the wake of Hurricane Andrew outliningoptions for the
insurance industry in the wake of mountingextreme-weather related
claims and the prospect of more to come.
report from Ceres warns of rising threat to US insurers and
their customers from Climate Change.
Read more about how you can
take action against climate change
There are more than 2,000 oil platforms and 600 toxic
chemicalfacilities densely clustered in the Gulf region.
Now, in the wake of Katrina, stories of oil spills and toxic
leaks arepouring in as fast as the storm's floodwaters. Early
estimates indicateat least 5 large oil spills of up to 3 million
litres (820,000 gallons) of crude oil -roughly half the size of the
Exxon Valdez spill. But much of the regionhas yet to be explored,
imagery suggests there areseveral more spills and ongoing leaks
in Gulf waters.
We decided to investigate for ourselves, so we've sent a five
person team to the region.
Follow their findings along with us on their new blog.
More about Katrina's
toxic impacts from Greenpeace USA
archived stories from Greenpeace about toxics and toxic
hotspots in Louisiana.
Many people have written to us about the impacts of Katrina on
animallife in the Gulf. If you are concerned about animal welfare
issues inthe wake of Katrina, please visit the International
Fund for Animal Welfare's Animal Rescue page or any of the