Monday, June 6, 2011

Repeat after me: "it's not happening."


Last week, several tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts.   
Sen. John Kerry called the event a “once in a hundred years storm.”
The problem with that is that these “once in a hundred years” storms
are showing up about every fifteen years…and it’s getting tougher for
even the most ardent Global Warming opponents to deny a connection
between climate change and so-called “extreme weather.” On the EPA’s website, there is data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report that states:
“Since the late 1950s, the number of heat waves has increased.
Tropical storm and hurricane frequencies vary considerably from year
to year, but evidence suggests substantial increases in intensity and
duration since the 1970s.”

The facts are no longer up for debate.  The world is getting hotter
and greenhouse gas emissions are a major culprit.  Last year, global
CO2 emissions
rose to 31 billion metric tons, the highest in human
history.  Last year was also the hottest year in the history of
weather records.  Warmer air holds more moisture.  This can lead to
intense storms.
Case in point: the tornadoes that ripped through Alabama,  
Missouri and states like Massachusetts and Minnesota who see such storms
infrequently.  While it is difficult to make a direct correlation
between climate change and tornadoes due to the mercurial nature of
said storms, it is a fact that tornadoes with ratings of F2 or higher
have been steadily on the rise since the 1970s.  Additionally, there
has been severe flooding in Tennessee after the wettest April in 116
years hit the South and the Midwest.  Intense flooding has likewise
reared its head in Australia and Pakistan.  Then there is the flipside
of that watery coin with heat waves and severe droughts in Russia,
China, France, and Texas.

“You can no longer say that the climate of the future is going to be
like the climate of today, let alone yesterday,” says Judi Greenwald,
vice president of innovative solutions at the Pew Center on Global
Climate Change
. “In all of the plausible climate scenarios, we are
going to have to change the way we do things in ways we can’t even
predict.”

Those changes are going to have to include actions that will prove
unpopular on Wall Street and therefore unfavorable with political
leaders from both parties.

“The Bush administration was a disaster, but the Obama administration
has accomplished next to nothing either, in part because a significant
part of the Democratic Party is inclined to balk on this issue as
well,” says economist Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at
Columbia University.

Indeed, Obama was supposed to be an agent of change in regard to
Global Warming (among other things), but his administration 
appears to be slow to move on anything other than relaxing restrictions  on coal mining. 
And the Republicans?  Forget it.  A report in The New Yorker states that the pecksniffian Republican Party has adopted an absolutist, hard-lined opposition to climate science unparalleled by anyone anywhere.  That’s right, guys.  Shut your eyes and repeat after me, “It isn’t happening.  It isn’t happening.”

Face it.  We’re in this whole situation because of greed.  We are
slaves to oil and coal corporations who have enacted a quick PR
campaign to deny climate change.  Establishing environmental
regulations for industry has been painted as some kind of “socialism.”
Why?  It’s the American way, I suppose.  “Yes, I want a clean place
to live, yes I want energy independence, but in no fucking way will I
allow you to hamper my ability to make money.  That is a God-given
right.”

There are scientists who believe we are past the tipping point on
climate change.  Our environment will quickly become one we do not
recognize and it will be up to us to adapt.  As Judi Greenwald said,
we’re going to have to change the way we do things.  That might mean
less money in the deep pockets of Big Business.  Because of that, it
could be a long while, if ever, before these adaptations take place.
That’s especially kooky when you consider how much money 
will then be spent on emergency response, refugee movement, and the like.
As writer Bruce Sterling said,
“People are going to be in climate change refugee camps still denying that the weather had anything to do with their plight.”

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

3 comments:

  1. great article. i live in brimfield, one of the towns hit hard. thank you:)

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  2. Thank you much, Susan. I hope that you and your town have a speedy recovery.
    Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. On Facebook, Dixie said: "Kudos from a treehugger."

    ReplyDelete