Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Godless Hurricanes

I meant to comment on this a couple of months ago, but the end of the hurricane season seems appropriate. There were a couple of studies published over the summer on global warming and hurricane intensity that make pretty compelling arguments for the connection. That was before Rita and Wilma (and the studies would have used data prior to Katrina), which were three of the strongest hurricanes in Atlantic Basin history. The three of them devastated a huge amount of US territory, killed thousands of people and caused effects that will be felt for years to come.

It seems to me that the evidence connecting global warming to increases in hurricane intensity and duration is a hell of a lot stronger than any "evidence" connecting Saddam Hussein's regime to the 9/11 tragedy or to WMDs, so why haven't we dedicated the nation's resources to fighting global warming (or as this administration would probably put it, a "war on weather")? Why are we not putting the kind of money into fighting global warming as we are into fighting the insurgency in Iraq? Which is of more long-term danger to the US?

A quote in the Washington Post article on the studies published in Nature and Science probably answers that question in an unintentionally humorous way. In a response to the German environmental minister's taking the President to task for not taking global warming and its consequences seriously in the wake of Katrina, the spokesman for Senator Inhofe said "It is reprehensible for a politician to promote an agenda by twisting a tragedy Americans feel so deeply about, particularly when there is no merit to his ideas". You know, you really can't make this shit up! Let me rewrite the rest of his statement for him - "Policy decisions should be based on sound science [intelligence], and the notion that Katrina's intensity [the attacks in NY and DC] is somehow attributable to global warming [Saddam Hussein] has been widely dismissed by scientific [intelligence] experts."

So we're willing to commit thousands of lives, hundreds of thousands of troops and billions of dollars to an effort of dubious utility on bogus, misunderstood and cherry-picked intelligence data, but we're not willing to invest a fraction of that cost into doing something that has much more evidence behind it and a much lower cost in human suffering to achieve the goals. Amazing.


At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Common sense doesn't seem to be too common in America these days. Interesting insight into the 'real world'.


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