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Hurricane Harvey has left in its wake upended lives and enormous property damage, estimated by some at $150 billion to $180 billion. But the storm that pummeled the Texas coast for the better part of a week also raises deep questions about the United States' economic system and politics.Of course, no particular climate event can be directly related to the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But scientists have long predicted that such increases would boost not only average temperatures, but also weather variability – and especially the occurrence of extreme events such as Hurricane Harvey. After the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the shutdown of much of New York City by Sandy in 2012, and now the devastation wrought on Texas by Harvey, the U.S. can and should do better. It has the resources and skills to analyze these complex events and their consequences, and to formulate and implement regulations and investment programs that mitigate the adverse effects on lives and property.One can only hope that America and other countries will not need more natural persuasion before taking to heart the lessons of Hurricane Harvey.
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