THE EDITOR: As of 11 pm on Monday, Hurricane Dorian was a category 4 storm battering the Bahamas. At least five people had been killed in the Abaco Island when Dorian hit on Sunday afternoon as a category 5 hurricane with winds of 185 mph. It’s a historic tragedy that needs analysis and assistance.
A total of 35 tropical cyclones have reached category 5 in the Atlantic Ocean north of the equator, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Only in 1932, 1933, 1961, 2005, 2007 and 2017 have more than one category 5 hurricane formed.
In four of those six years a member of Caricom was hit by a category 5 hurricane. Only in 2005 has more than two category 5 hurricanes formed and only in 2007 and 2017 did more than one make landfall at category 5 strength. From 2016 to 2019 is the longest period in which at least one category 5 hurricane formed in each year.
Hurricanes are powered by heat from the warm ocean and with global warming, more category 5 hurricanes are inevitable. The scientific data demonstrate that Caricom countries are disproportionately hit by category 5 hurricanes.
The developed countries like the US and Europe are less affected and have the economic might to be less hindered by such hurricanes. Developed countries therefore have far less motives to address global warming and its effects on the climate. Expecting them to tackle it is like asking the wealthy to grapple with homicides which rarely affects them.
We in TT and the Caribbean must start to address it by, for instance, using alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar. It will benefit us and put the developed world on notice that the Caribbean is a “small giant” that will look after our own interest instead of being dependent.
TT will be truly revolutionary since oil and gas account for about 40 per cent of GDP and 80 per cent of exports but only five per cent of employment.
BRIAN E PLUMMER