Posted in Climate Change, Climate Impacts, tagged Climate Change, Exposing Deniers, extreme weather, Flooding, Global Warming, Hurricanes, storms, Tornadoes on May 2, 2011|
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BPSDB The recent tornadoes in the United States have lead to a resurgence of articles talking about the link between extreme weather, natural disasters and climate change. If you are an interested member of the general public you are undoubtedly confused as the two sides of the debate seem to be making opposing claims, and both seem to have some science to back them up.
I’d like to talk a bit about why there is this confusion and what it means in practical terms for you and me. Then I’d like to discuss the opinion of the folks who take this issue very seriously indeed. No, I don’t mean the scientists, much more seriously than that – I am referring to the insurance industry.
The critical phrase is “seem to be making opposing claims“, because for the most part they are not. The climate change Deniers erroneously characterize the science based reports as ascribing the various tornadoes, storms and what have you as being caused by or linked to climate change. That is not what the ones I sampled were actually saying.
If you read the various reports they correctly note that given the current state of our knowledge it is impossible to directly link the recent extreme weather to climate change. It is also impossible to definitively say there is no link; that’s how uncertainty works.
Now from what I can gather it is probable that the influence of climate change on the most recent spate of tornadoes in the US south west was very small to none, but that’s not the end of the story.
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Posted in Assault on Science, Climate Change, Climate Impacts, tagged Australia, Brazil, Climate Change, Exposing Deniers, Flooding, Global Warming, Queensland on January 16, 2011|
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BPSDB When I went to Google News this morning the “Top Stories” are about some skiers and the beginning of the Federal election campaign.
Only much lower down do I find anything about floods in Australia and Sri Lanka, or mudslides in Brazil.
Apparently there is nothing new about climate change here in the Industrialized West. In the Anthropocene (era of human dominated biosphere) disasters of epic proportions are not “news.”
“The cost of cutting back emissions is more than we estimated, but that is because the consequences of climate change are already here.” Nicholas Stern
Just over one year ago Australian blogger MothIncarnate posted his first piece “Business as Usual; The Dead Horse and Juggernaut of Climate Change.” An area of Queensland the size of France and Germany combined is flooded; the Juggernaut has arrived.
As people die or lose everything they have, the climate change Deniers want to quibble semantics. The flooding is exactly what was predicted and is completely consistent with climate science, but can we categorically say that it has been caused by climate change?
“It’s not the right question to ask if this storm or that storm is due to global warming, or is it natural variability. Nowadays, there’s always an element of both.” Trenberth
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