We watched the tragedy of Houston and the Texas coast unfold; then, as cleanup had barely begun, there was Irma, even more powerful and destructive. Just behind Irma is Jose, and a third, Katia, is also bearing down almost in the same region.

Add the raging wildfires in the West coming after scorching heat throughout the summer. These are not coincidences that we can brush off. Can there be any doubt that we are experiencing more frequent and more devastating storms? All these and more are the consequences of catastrophic climate change.

Earth’s overall temperature has been rising steadily for decades because of increasing carbon emissions. July was the hottest month on land ever recorded. Warmer temperatures and rising tides increase the power of storms and lead to more extreme weather with costly consequences.

As early as 1977, the fossil fuel industry knew that their products released dangerous amounts of emissions that could destabilize our climate. They lied to us and covered it up. Even though they understood the consequences, they have been using doubt, disinformation and deception to block sensible climate policies.

A new Union of Concerned Scientists report, “Tracing Who’s Responsible for Temperature Increase and Sea Level Rise,” shows just what percentage of the global temperature change can be attributed to the fossil-fuel industry. Shouldn’t they pay their share of recovery costs as restitution?

The media rarely discuss why we are experiencing so many more ferocious, life-threatening storms and weather-related catastrophes. Until we can be truthful about the cause of these events and take decisive action, they will only become more frequent and more catastrophic in coming years. We have the technology and ability to change direction. We need leaders who understand the truth and have the courage to take action and find solutions to this crisis before much of the Earth is uninhabitable.

Lynda Sudlow