Joplin, Missouri, is in ruins, victim of one of the most intense U.S. tornado seasons ever recorded. That disaster comes on the heels of the jaw dropping April 28th disaster, when a record–setting 228 twisters, all spawned in a single day, roared through the Southeast.
Some would point an accusatory finger at human–caused global warming. But as most climatologists will tell you, no single weather event is attributable to climate change.
This month the Mississippi River crested at flood levels never before seen in U.S. history, threatening cities, towns and hamlets from Memphis to the Gulf – the result of a record 90 inches of precipitation across the Midwest.
Of course, as all f48 U.S. senators who just voted to continue Big Oil subsidies will attest, no one weather event can ever be linked to human–caused climate change.
Meanwhile, Texas is in flames, with drought parching 98 percent of the Lone Star State. No one has seen the like of it, with 2.2 million acres already scorched by wildfires.
Of course, as any Obama administration official pushing for more coal production will glibly agree, no one weather event can ever be traced back to climate change.
Out West, record snowpack – a staggering 200 percent above normal – has brought severe flood risks to Utah, Wyoming and Montana. While New Mexico, Arizona and eastern Colorado endure serious drought and gear up for an equally severe fire season.
Of course, as any Exxon or Koch brothers–funded climate change skeptic will scold you, no one weather event can ever be seen to be the result of human–caused climate change.
Go out in your backyard, stick a finger up in the air or look at what is blooming today, and you’ll likely know. The times are a changin’ – fast. Your community and mine are hotter, dryer or wetter, with nastier storms than you or your grandparents ever remember.
But... as any Fox News anchor will gleefully report, no single weather event can ever be seen as being the product of human–caused climate change.
But, how about thousands of weather events? Shattered heat records. Drought records. Deluge records. Winters grown milder. Summers grown longer and brutally hot. Icecaps melting, ice shelves collapsing, glaciers in galloping retreat.
Weather disasters on every continent. It’s precisely what climate modelers began forecasting two decades ago.
Except, the scientists told us then that these sorts of catastrophes wouldn’t hammer us until 2050 or later. Hell, Greenland wasn’t supposed to melt significantly until after 2100, but it is melting significantly now.
Global coral reefs are dying now, global food harvests are in decline now, and food prices are breaking records now due to changing climate.
Still, we’re a nation in denial. Worse, like a crack addict whose connection just got popped, we’re sniffing out fossil fuel under every rock; raping the Canadian tar sands; readying drilling platforms in Arctic seas and Gulf deepwater; and turning vast swathes of rural America into a pincushion of drilling rigs fracked for natural gas.
This spring, President Obama even called for an enormous expansion of the dirtiest, most polluting industry of all. Under his plan, new coal mining operations will increase U.S. climate change emissions by over 50 percent beyond what we’re producing now.
Damn the risks. We need our energy fix!
Meantime, the Mississippi – and the weird weather – rolls on. “We’ve never seen anything like this. I was scared not knowing what’s going to happen or where we can go from here,” said flood victim Tamara Jenkins of Frayser, Tennessee, talking to CNN.
Well, Ms. Jenkins, you may be neck deep in the Big Muddy and not know what’s happening next. But the fossil fuel industry, our president and congress do. They have utter confidence in their business as usual energy policy and the big fools say to push on.
After all, Ms. Jenkins, no single flood of biblical proportions can be attributed to human–caused climate change. Just ask Noah.
Glenn Scherer is senior editor of Blue Ridge Press (blueridgepress.com)