Double Environmental Injustice – Climate Change, Hurricane Dorian, and the Bahamas
Climate change has been linked to changes in Atlantic hurricane behavior, making storms more destructive to the built environment and vital infrastructure, more harmful to the physical and mental health of island-based and coastal populations, and more deadly in their aftermath. These escalating effects on population health represent a double environmental injustice: socioeconomically disadvantaged and marginalized populations sustain disproportionate harm and loss, with more hazardous storms exacerbating the inequity; and while the populations most vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes, especially those in small-island states, contribute virtually nothing to climate change, they are among those most exposed to risks that are worsened by the carbon emissions from higher-income countries.
Anthropogenic climate change amplifies storm hazards through such intermediaries as anomalously warm ocean and air temperatures, rising ocean heat content, and increasing atmospheric moisture capacity, compounded by a rise in sea levels. Atlantic hurricanes have become stronger, wetter, and slower-moving over the past few decades, with likely contributions from human actions.