The media just doesn't get it. Practically every day they are reporting disastrous weather events all over the world, but they never make the connection with global warming or climate change if you prefer. And then they tell us that the last snow storm was "historic" in the sense that we won't see another one like that for at least 100 years. And then there are the hundred year floods. The problem is that the hundred year floods and snow storms are happening on a regular basis every few years, and no one seems to notice that labeling them "100 year historic events" is irrelevant. Just recently we've had floods in Australia that covered an area larger than Texas, tornadoes in Missouri that killed several people and destroyed millions of dollars worth of property, mudslides and floods in California. And then everyone goes to the Federal government for financial assistance. Once they get it they go right back to denigrating the Federal government and calling for "smaller government." They want to shrink the Federal government except when it comes time to call on the Federal government for emergency disaster bailouts. Just this morning the chairman of the San Diego city council was on TV saying how he was going to ask the Federal government for a few million to clean up after the last disastrous weather event.
And as long as these weather events involve "cold" weather, the right wing trots out their criticisms of Al Gore and laughs up their sleeve at "global warming." Even though the globe is warming at the poles, it doesn't mean it's warming everywhere else. Be that as it may, I like the term "climate change" better than "global warming" because it's a more apt description of what's really going on - more numerous and more violent freaky and disastrous weather events. These weather events usually involve high winds whether they are storms, blizzards, tornadoes or hurricanes, and, therefore, are more destructive. There are also increasing amounts of precipitation. Areas not previously flooded are nowadays deluged with inches of rain in a short period of time. Flash flooding is becoming increasingly common. It turns out that changing the gaseous composition of the atmosphere by pouring millions of tons of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into it is a very unwise thing to do. Scientists have determined that 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide is the safe upper limit. Currently, there are 388 parts per million and the trend is upward. We're not having to wait for 50 years to see the destructive effects. They're happening right before our very eyes, but the media won't make that connection.
It really doesn't matter if the globe is warming or not if, by changing the gaseous composition of the atmosphere, the results are that the earth will experience more and more violent and catastrophic weather events on a regular basis. Would the global warming deniers be more pleased if we are coming into an ice age, albeit an ice age with violent blizzards and thunder and lightning snow storms? Because that's the key - not whether the earth is warming, but whether the weather is becoming more violent and destructive.
This is from 350.org:
Here in the U.S., the end of 2010 has been marked by a grim series of winter storms. On the East Coast, hundreds of cities and towns, from the coast of Virginia to the Northeastern state of Maine, have been hit by an intense blizzard that has led to the cancellation of thousands of flights and left public transportation stranded on its tracks. On the West Coast, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Southern California, as a deluge of rain flooded coastal and inland areas and mudslides destroyed dozens of properties. Quoted in Climate Progress, “Re-insurer ‘Munich Re’, whose natural catastrophe database is ‘the most comprehensive of its kind in the world,’ has said ‘The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change.’
To learn more about the link between climate change and extreme weather conditions, check out this recent blog on Climate Progress with Climatologist Ben Santer.
As the planet continues to warm, crippling climactic events, from droughts to blizzards to floods, are only going to become more frequent and more intense. Even so, it’s unlikely that comprehensive climate legislation will be passed anytime in the near future in the United States. Many new members of Congress, backed by the oil and coal industries, are climate deniers and will do what they can to stand in the way of progress; for example, the incoming House Science Chair Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) was quoted as saying that he saw the BP disaster as a “tremendous” display of our potential to produce energy, so we clearly have a rough road ahead of us.
The mainstream media will go to great lengths to not make a connection between extreme weather events and global warming or climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions. They will pooh pooh the tragedies as people lose their homes and their lives and call for Federal emergency disaster assistance, but will not deal with the implication that perhaps the US government should devote major resources to the effort of renewable energy and getting us off the dependency on oil and gas. The oil and gas lobby wants the dependency on oil and gas to continue. After all that's how they make their money, and they can afford to live in less disaster prone parts of the country where, God willing, the creek won't rise.
And for those who don't want to believe the climate scientists, maybe they would believe the insurance industry instead.