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Editor’s Note: Mark Lynas is a writer on climate change, and visiting fellow at the Alliance for Science at Cornell University. The opinions in this article belong to the author.

(CNN) —  

This is what climate change looks like. Entire metropolitan areas – Houston in the United States and Mumbai in India – submerged in catastrophic floods.

Record-breaking rainfall: Harvey’s 50-plus inches of torrential deluge set a new national tropical cyclone rain record for the continental United States.

They used to make Hollywood disaster movies about this sort of thing. Now it’s just the news.

Officials as senior as Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, have suggested that now – during a natural disaster – is not the time to raise the divisive and highly politicized issue of global warming. But if not now, when? After the waters subside, the news crews pack up, and the long task of rebuilding begins, the world’s attention inevitably moves on.

Watching Trump tour the flooded areas, I was reminded of his Rose Garden press conference less than three months ago announcing the US withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty. In that act of wanton international vandalism, Trump was helping condemn millions more people to the threat of intensified extreme events in future decades.

It is not politically opportunistic to raise this issue now. Instead we have a moral duty not to accept the attempted conspiracy of silence imposed by powerful political and business interests opposed to any reduction in the use of fossil fuels. We owe this to the people of Texas as much to those of Bangladesh and India, and Niger – which was also struck by disastrous flooding this week.

Climate disasters demonstrate our collective humanity and interdependence. We have to help each other out – in the short term by saving lives and in the longer term by cutting greenhouse gases and enhancing resilience, especially in developing countries.

01:14 - Source: CNN
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