Extreme weather events
more common, severe
The NOAA map showing the most extreme weather events in the U.S. in 2012, second worst on record. Click image to enlarge.
LAST YEAR WAS the second worst year for extreme weather disasters in the U.S., according to the federal government with 11 disaster events causing over $110 billion in damages and 377 deaths.
Now we know why.
The world’s leading authority on climate change reported on Friday that global warming is a certainty and that we, humans, are the most likely reason for it.
The truth is getting increasingly undeniable, but, rest assured, naysayers in the U.S. will do their best to deny that climate change even exists.
If you doubt it for a minute, just look out the window. The number and severity of extreme weather events – the hallmark of climate change – has been increasing exponentially, and the science is convincing that humans are to blame.
THE FACTS ARE UNEQUIVOCAL. In its story, U.N. panel delivers landmark climate change report
USA Today minces no words. The sub-headline sums it all up neatly: “Landmark U.N. report says it is ‘extremely likely’ man is to blame for climate change.”
The Washington Post story on the climate change report issued on Friday. Click image to enlarge.
Kim Hjelmgaard and Doyle Rice report: “Global warming is “unequivocal” and it is “extremely likely” that humans are the primary contributors to this warming, according to a report released Friday morning in Stockholm by the U.N.-created Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s top climate research group.”
This is language anyone can understand, and the source is impeccable.
“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes,” the report says.”
The report adds that it is now more certain than ever that “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming” since the 1950s.
For those wanting more evidence there is plenty at the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.
In its latest report, for the year 2012, it notes that there were 11 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. (This doesn’t include floods and droughts across the globe.)
“These 11 disaster events cumulatively caused over $110 billion in damages and 377 deaths. This makes 2012 the second costliest year on record.”
Last year also had the second highest number of billion-dollar disaster events, the NOAA adds, behind 2011 which had 14 events.
“The 2012 events included seven severe weather/tornado events, two tropical storm/hurricane events, and the year-long drought and associated wildfires.”
THE IPCC REPORT is its first in six years. The last one contained errors that fed the arguments of those who deny the climate is changing.
This time, much more caution was taken, according to the Independent newspaper in the U.K.
The story in the Independent newspaper in the U.K. shows a melting iceberg, evidence of global warming. Click image to enlarge.
In its story leading up to the Friday report headlined IPCC: Intense debate over wording of landmark UN climate change report set to run to the wire Tom Bawden reports on the extraordinary care that was taken during late night meetings in Stockholm this week.
“Governments around the world are exercising extreme caution to ensure that the fifth in the series of influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) reports … doesn’t contain a significant error that could be seized upon by climate skeptics to discredit the research.
“The discussions were largely concerned with how to present and explain the slowdown – or hiatus – in global warming over the past 15 years. This is a development which climate skeptics have used to further their case, but which the vast majority of scientists believe is only a blip in a clear long-term trend.”
The Guardian had a roundup of comments from some of the leading authorities on the topic.
The web site of the American Petroleum Institute, biggest climate-change denier of all. Click image to enlarge.
“The findings in this report confirm that we need the safeguards to curb climate-disrupting carbon pollution from new power plants that the Obama Administration proposed last week,” said Michael Brune, director of the Sierra Club.
“President Obama must reject the expansion of dirty fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas – as well as dangerous nuclear power – and move full-speed ahead to grow the job-creating clean energy economy.”
The president also won praise from Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defence Council.
“The science is clear: We are altering the climate,” Beinecke said. “That must be corrected. President Obama’s common-sense climate action plan will help. His administration is setting limits on carbon pollution from new power plants. That’s a critical step to fulfilling our obligation to protect our children from climate change.”
The science is irrefutable.
But, given the state of American politics, one can expect a chorus of deniers fueled by one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, the American Petroleum Institute, and Big Oil.
It is too bad that the public is confused. It has been an uphill battle with public opinion drifting away from the belief that we humans are to blame. It is time to look out the window and get a dose of reality.
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