Climate Catastrophe Comes to California

Climate change is generating relentless catastrophes around the globe. Intense floods have put Southern California cities underwater, resulting in at least 17 deaths and millions under evacuation orders. There is no escaping this global crisis. From California to Chile, floods and fires are ravaging the planet, killing and displacing people. Climate change is the killer, but the cause is capitalism, and only a global response can soften the damage of the escalating disaster.

The massive flooding is caused by an “atmospheric river,” a current of high winds and moisture, dropping a mega storm in Los Angeles’ lap. This isn’t the first time SoCal has been hit with a major storm. Just last year Hurricane Hilary pummeled Los Angeles, ripping through Mexico and reaching inland to El Paso, Texas. That storm killed at least 16 people while more than 150,000 lost power to their homes. As the climate warms globally it will make the atmosphere more volatile, so intense disasters like these will only get worse.

California is unprepared. Decades of drought and neglected flood control infrastructure have left Californians on the brink of even bigger disasters. The worst damage that this storm could have caused was limited by drainage and flood control systems, but only barely. Future storms could overrun these systems, endangering the lives of many more people.

California’s floods this year, like last year, show the gravity of the climate crisis we face. Rapidly climbing global temperatures create intense, focused disasters, from wildfires to floods. We can’t stop the crisis, but we can mobilize our forces to limit the destruction. We can’t rely on the big corporations or the government that represents their interests to move fast enough, or to protect our lives and homes. Climate catastrophe is a global issue and the only force that can meet it is a global mobilization of us, the poor and working people, ready to defend our lives and our planet.