Friday, June 13, 2008

The Climate Liars

Global warming and climate change means more energy. And more energy means more heat, more wind, more storms, more rain all at once, thus more flooding, more crop loss, more death, more misery. Yet, the "R"s still manage to block climate change legislation in the name of "defending the economy".

Yet, according to most estimates, the costs of moving away from carbon are less than the costs of the economic slowdown they might bring. These costs are certainly less when compared to the catastrophic losses that will come if we continue to ignore our predicament.

And the benefits of moving humankind from the fire burning tribal bunch of technological hacks we are today to an age of a solid state economy powered by a unifed photonic energy web dwarf any costs that we might incur in this transition.

Here is a good, heavily linked piece from the Center for American Progress site on the relationship between global warming and extreme weather events, and the extreme myopia of our press and policy makers to make the connection clear.

Global Boiling

The evidence for the consequences of global warming is appearing with alarming frequency. This morning's headlines are filled with tales of deadly weather: "At least four people were killed and about 40 injured when a tornado tore through a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa on Wednesday night"; "two people are dead in northern Kansas after tornadoes cut a diagonal path across the state"; "two Maryland men with heart conditions died this week" from the East Coast heat wave.

These eight deaths come on top of reports earlier this week that the heat wave "claimed the lives of 17 people" and the wave of deadly storms killed 11 more: "six in Michigan, two in Indiana and one each in Iowa and Connecticut," as well as one man in New York. Tornadoes this year are being reported at record levels.

States of emergency have been declared in Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan because of floods and wildfires. Counties in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have been declared disaster areas due to the historic flooding that has breached dams, inundated towns, and caused major crop damage, sending commodity futures to new records.

The floodwaters are continuing down the Mississippi River, with "crests of 10 feet or more above flood level" for "at least the next two weeks."

GLOBAL BOILING: This tragic, deadly, and destructive weather -- not to mention the droughts in Georgia, California, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, North Dakota, and elsewhere across the country -- are consistent with the changes scientists predicted would come with global warming. Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) called the three weeks of storms that gave rise to the floods in his state "historic in proportion," saying "very few people could anticipate or prepare for that type of event."

Culver is, unfortunately, wrong.

As far back as 1995, analysis by the National Climatic Data Center showed that the United States "had suffered a statistically significant increase in a variety of extreme weather events." In 2007, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is "very likely" that man-made global warming will bring an "increase in frequency of hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation."

The Nobel Prize-winning panel of thousands of scientists and government officials also found, "Altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, together with sea level rise, are expected to have mostly adverse effects on natural and human systems." (clip)

Although the deadly weather has been front-page news all season, and news channels dedicate hours of coverage to "Extreme Weather," the media are strangely reluctant to discuss severe weather events in the context of climate change. Perhaps some of the reason is the virulent response from the right wing whenever a journalist or scientist dares to discuss how "the upsurge in the number and power of the deadly storms could be related to a warming climate."

In a rare instance of good coverage, ABC's Good Morning America ran a segment on Monday about the East Coast heat wave that noted "90 records have been tied or broken" across the East and interviewed eminent climatologist Dr. Stephen Schneider. Schneider explained, "While this heat wave like all other heat waves is made by Mother Nature, we've been fooling around by turning the knob and making a little bit hotter."

Schneider then pointed out that we are making the climate hotter through carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

In response, the right-wing media outlet Newsbusters wrote that Schneider "Blames Greenhouse Gases for Current Heat Wave," saying, Global warming activists have another way to frighten the public -- using steamy weather to suggest human greenhouse gas emissions are worsening a heat wave." more

At some point the right wing media must be held accountable for their lies and the perversions of truth they perpetrate on society as they protect the status quo and the present system. Our first amendment rights do not allow us to yell fire in a crowded theatre when there is none.

Those rights also do not allow us to lie about a smoldering fire,

just because the theatre owner is worried

about the night's take.

He would be prosecuted for murder.

Some "R"s might even turn the knob.

Why not on the climate liars?

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Blogger Charlie Loving said...

There are quite a few that say it is too late. The clock has already struck midnight so sit back and relax. The water, energy and food crisis are here for the forseeable future

5:47 AM  

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