Sunday, September 18, 2005

96 Degrees in Mid-September- How the Oil and Coal Companies Helped Bring Us Junk Science and Killer Hurricanes

Coal and Oil companies have paid scientists to scoff at Global Warming even though storms like the above tornado have increased in frequency and intensity

“Canada's Inuit see it in disappearing Arctic ice and permafrost. The shantytown dwellers of Latin America and Southern Asia see it in lethal storms and floods. Europeans see it in disappearing glaciers, forest fires and fatal heat waves. Scientists see it in tree rings, ancient coral and bubbles trapped in ice cores. These reveal that the world has not been as warm as it is now for a millennium or more. The three warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998; 19 of the warmest 20 since 1980. And Earth has probably never warmed as fast as in the past 30 years...”

There’s a movie that periodically shows up on HBO called The Day after Tomorrow, and like a moth to a flame, I can’t tear myself away from the screen when it’s on. Set in the very near future, the story is starkly simple: global warming has started melting the polar ice caps, causing great chunks of ice to break off and a flow of cold water to lower temperatures in the oceans. The Gulf Stream is stopped cold (a bad pun, I know), and great storms with incredibly cold temperatures form in the shape of hurricanes over northern land masses. In only a matter of days a new ice age descends on the earth, and surviving Americans flee south to Mexico and other warmer climes.

The movie seems fantastic, except that the daily news seems to trump Hollywood scenarios every time we turn around. Hurricane after hurricane battered Florida in 2004, coming so fast that one could hardly remember their names a week later. (For the record, they were: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeane, and they hit, one after another, in 43 days- from August 13th through September 25th .) In the wake of Katrina, they seem like a distant memory- except that Florida still hasn’t fully recovered from their impact.

If you think the weather has been a little crazy the last few years, you’re not alone. Here in Georgia the pendulum has rapidly swung from severe drought to record rainfalls. All over the world, massive storms, torrential downpours, and debilitating droughts have been disrupting lives and destroying property.

Global Warming and the Scientists Paid by the Energy Industry to Lie about it

And the culprit? Most reputable climatologists think that global warming is, at the very least, a substantial part of the cause. As Katrina passed over Florida and hit the Gulf of Mexico, the increased water temperatures- as much as two degrees warmer than normal- gave extra energy to the storm, boosting its winds to incredible speeds (Category 5, with winds over 155 m.p.h.). And Katrina may be only a prelude to more killer storms:

“In August, MIT climatologist Kerry Emanuel reported in the journal Nature that major storms spinning in both the Atlantic and the Pacific have increased in duration and intensity by about 50 percent since the 1970s. During that period, global average temperatures have risen by about one degree Fahrenheit along with increases in the level of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants from industry smokestacks, traffic exhaust and other sources.” The Associated Press/CNN.

Other climatologists say that it’s too soon for global warming to have had that much impact on the weather, but there is one huge problem with their opinions: many of them are bought and paid for by the industries which pollute the environment and contribute to the greenhouse effect which is slowly raising the earth’s temperatures. Three of those paid shills are Dr. Robert Balling, Dr. Patrick Michaels, and Dr. Siegfried Frederick Singer. They have two things in common: ONE, they are scientists who disagree that global warming exists and who argue that any increase in temperatures is not caused by CO2 emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and oil; and TWO, they have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by entities such as German and British coal companies, Exxon, Shell Oil, the Kuwait “Institute for Scientific Research,” and OPEC. By the late 1990’s, Balling had already received $300,000 and Michaels had pocketed $200,000 for their television appearances and op-ed columns intended to derail any attempts to deal with global warming.

Singer is also a director of The Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy, a group founded by the Unification Church (the “Moonies”) in 1982, and an Adjunct Fellow of "Frontiers of Freedom," whose President, George C. Landrith, wrote the following comments (pre-Katrina) about global warming:

“One of the favorite ploys of the extreme environmentalist Left is to use politically motivated pseudo-science in an attempt to scare Americans into accepting their job-killing environmental policies and burdensome regulatory regimes.... The problem is their claims of future catastrophes are based on shoddy junk science. Their claims are not true or real.”

Oh yes, the terrible trio has one other link- they are all listed as climate “experts” by The Heritage Foundation on its website. The Heritage Foundation is the right wing Washington institution which has supplied the Bush Administration with many of its political appointees as well as its ideological outlooks on every topic under the sun, from tax policy to defense to sex education.

According to former Washington Post and Boston Globe reporter Ross Gelbspan, a $400 million coal consortium called Western Fuels candidly admitted in its 1991 annual report that it intended to debunk mainstream science with the aid of leading greenhouse skeptics. The consortium paid for a $250,000 propaganda video which falsely portrayed global warming as good for us because increased CO2 levels would promote plant growth in the higher latitudes and thus help us feed the world. (In actuality, Gelbspan reports, global warming will decrease rice and wheat production in Southeast Asia, starving millions.) The video was reportedly shown often around the Bush White House. This helps explain why President Bush has consistently opposed the Kyoto Treaty to halt global warming, has refused to permit federal efforts at energy conservation, and is adamantly opposed to any measures designed to reduce industrial pollution- his stated reason being that costs would outweigh any benefits.

As a result, ordinary Americans are now suffering the effects of the best junk science that oil and coal money can buy, and taxpayers are footing the bill for a $200 billion recovery plan


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the next hurricane information ; the easy way to keep going.

11:36 PM  

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