Imperium Watch: Storm Warning

For a moment, nature spoke louder than politics.

Comments (7)
Thursday, November 08, 2012

It’s a pity the old Greeks, who loved monumental visual ironies—cruel sight gags on the grand scale, like the living Antigone sealed in a cave while her dead brother moldered unburied—couldn’t watch what was happening in America during the last two weeks.

There was an election here, one that narrowly escaped being halted by a freak storm, a hybrid that combined the behavior of a hurricane with that of a nor’easter. In New York City alone it did an estimated $20 billion worth of damage.

Water filling the streets of Atlantic City, covering the floor of the Stock Exchange and the subway tunnels in New York; the images were repeated time after time on the Weather Channel and other networks. Before and after that, we saw the faces of presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, each assuring us that the country would go to rack and ruin if the other were elected, neither talking about the imperative to deal with climate change.

That’s the irony: the upheaval that was Sandy came within a relatively few days of stopping the election. It was a shout from nature more powerful than political voices, or at least it should have been.

By now, climate change—which insurance companies believe in if conservatives don’t—has turned thousands of people in our own country into refugees of sorts. This year’s wildfires in the West destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Their former occupants will be voting this year—if their residencies are sufficiently sorted out—as will victims of flooding in other parts of the country, and victims of last year’s wildfires. There are victims of Katrina who are still struggling in New Orleans, and as Mike Tidwell wrote in The Nation last week, all Eastern seaboard city dwellers are from New Orleans now.

Closer to home, there are people in Springfield who have never been entirely rehabilitated since the tornado struck in June, 2011. From California to Massachusetts, schools are hard pressed to serve children who are homeless for reasons related to climate as well as economics.

The concept of national security needs to expand beyond considerations that are political and military. To many of us, a disaster not caused by a hostile individual or state isn’t a national security issue. But global warming is a national security issue. People have died because of weather disasters, and more would have without costly preparations and responses. And in a time when the economy is a pressing issue, the effect of extreme weather events on personal and local finances is catastrophic.

Not all climate-related catastrophes happen in a moment of time. This year’s drought, which created dustbowl conditions for many farmers and devastated the corn crop, highlights the fact that the huge Ogallala aquifer, which feeds agriculture in our Midwest, has for years been drawn down faster than it can be replenished. A threat to American agriculture is a threat to our food supply and the world’s, since America is a leading exporter of food. If peak oil (the point after which the supply begins to diminish) was a sobering concept, the peak water experts have talked about for a few years now ranks as extremely alarming.

Apart from his emphasis on green energy, Obama’s undeniable accomplishment on the climate front is his mandate for increased fuel efficiency, which will raise the standard to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by model year 2025. In other respects, the United States has so far missed its opportunity to lead the world on the issue. Families building green homes and refitting older homes with solar and geothermal technology, communities using more and more alternative energy, businesses going in for large-scale, innovative energy-saving technologies, are everywhere in our country, but the lack of leadership in Washington is a resounding, tragic failure.•

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The earth has a natural cycle of warming and cooling and recent weather is no more severe than other periods in our history. Educate yourself and look up the little ice age and medieval warming period. Both happend long before the industrial revolution.

Posted by k on 11.7.12 at 5:05

They are wrong, hence the IPCC scandal with "hiding the decline" and the fact that they changed the movement from global warming to "climate change."

Posted by k on 11.12.12 at 5:21

By the way, SDudgens.... have you ever heard a scientist explain why the little ice age and medieval warming period happened if "climate change" is man made? (If not, do you wonder why?)

That said, if you make your living researching "climate change," admitting there isn't sufficient evidence means you have no job to do. That's #1, .... #2... the movement is like a cult... the independent scientists who question the movement are quickly and visciously attacked to serve as an example to others who would like to break from the groupthink.

It doesn't take a genious. The little ice age and medeival warming period happened... there were no SUVs at the time and much less people (ie it wasn't man made) .... around 1970 a new ice age was all the rage..... later it was dangerous warming.... now it stopped warming and the movement was forced to call it "climate change" which in and of itself is a laughable term. It's as if any cycles in climate are dangerous which is ridiculous.

Climate change is like religion.... there's no concrete proof but some believe in it no matter what and every event is proof of it.

Outside of that, it's human kind's ultimate feat of hubris... the earth has been around a long time... dinasours came and went.... but it's us... we are causing weather AND have the ability to FIX the weather? Unbelievable. I'm not too worried about the earth. The earth will be just fine.

Posted by k on 11.12.12 at 7:56

Last thing... when meteorologists can nail a 10 day forecast - and with consistancy - I'll start to believe we understand the weather well enough to officially call "climate change" a real thing. Thus far computers have shockingly come up short in accurately predicting nature's wonder of weather.

Posted by k on 11.12.12 at 8:00

If it takes a better computer to prove 'climate change' (that's Republican term) to you, how come you can prove it's natural without one? That's not very neutral of you.

When you can predict 10 days worth of weather, maybe I'll believe you instead of the massive number of actual scientists who think you and your friends are full of it based on what they observe. Until then, I vote that scientists aren't involved in a globe spanning conspiracy to.. well, to what?Forward a commie plot?

No matter what the cause is, it's still happening. I take it you don't deny that. But you might be that crazy for all I know. So we better do something about it besides make it worse with more CO2 in the atmosphere.

Posted by SDudgens on 11.12.12 at 11:07

What's happening? The climate "changing." Yes, you got me there. I do believe the weather is changing. It's part of earth's natural cycle as evidenced by the little ice age and medeival warming period..... the fear of ice age in 1970... the warming in the 90s.... and the stabilization the last 10 years. Welcome to earth. Many scientists disagree with man made climate change. Read.

Posted by k on 11.13.12 at 4:40

But k. Would you agree that we should maybe cut back on fossil fuel emissions, no matter what the cause is? It's not likethey're good for you. If we forget about science and take your premise that it's completely natural, shouldn't we not make it worse? Or do you think that it's all BS about CO2 trapping heat in the atmosphere?

But hey, go farther. It's completely natural, CO2 doesn't trap heat. We are still running out of oil, since it's finite. So maybe we still should consider green energy so that we can have some kind of power in the future. You agree to that much?

Posted by SDudgens on 11.13.12 at 20:24



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