Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina's Real Name

The Boston Globe calls a spade a spade:

The hurricane that struck Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.

When the year began with a 2-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause was global warming.

When winds of 124 miles an hour shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and Britain, the driver was global warming.

When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the reason was global warming.

In July, when the worst drought on record triggered wildfires in Spain and Portugal and left water levels in France at their lowest in 30 years, the explanation was global warming.

When a lethal heat wave in Arizona killed more than 20 people in one week, the culprit was global warming.

And when the Indian city of Mumbai received 37 inches of rain in one day - killing 1,000 people and disrupting the lives of 20 million others - the villain was global warming.

As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more intense downpours, more frequent heat waves, and more severe storms.

Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off southern Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the high sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.

Unfortunately, few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.

Catch the whole thing. Perspective, people. Perspective.


Geo_Chick said...

A bunch of us were just talking about this. How many times in a short period can you hear 'storm of the century' or 'it's never been like this' before you realize it IS like this now. Unfortunately if they can rebuild New Orleans there will be another storm like this in it's future. The fact that it has survived so long thus far is no longer any form of security. It will get hit again; this is the new global weather pattern.

And as to the cutting of coal and oil, that is only a part of the story. We produce so many other pollutants that are part of this (e.g. gasses, particulates), it will (I do believe however naively that at some point reality has to be admitted) take a complete re-making of the world as we know it to stop global warming. We have already ignored this issue for far too long.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

I'm hearing that there may not even be a rebuilding effort for a couple of the smaller towns SE of New Orleans, since the damage is so bad, exacerbated by the pulverized refineries/chemical plants that are near by...

Morbidly enough, HBO is running "Day After Tomorrow" as we speak. Or, maybe this is not-so-subtle political hint...