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February 16 2014

07:00
07:00
Sponsored post

February 15 2014

18:30

February 12 2014

10:52

Green taxes aren't the answer to Britain's floods, just ask Australia

Britain's flood crisis will need a firm response from Government but David Cameron should resist the urge to follow Australia's example on green taxes
    




January 12 2014

07:00

Flooding in Britain: Anatomy of a storm

Britain's stormiest December since 1969 came from somewhere south of Newfoundland, according to the Met Office - and there's more bad news to come...
    




07:00

Stranded: the island in the middle of the English countryside

Cole Moreton visits a village in Somerset that has been left completely cut off by the floods
    




July 25 2012

13:27

April 30 2012

11:45

January 19 2012

20:27

Two More Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters

Severe weather last July in in the Rockies and Tropical Storm Lee in August and September caused more than $1 billion in damages, bringing the total number of such events in 2011 to 14, NOAA says.

October 28 2011

18:19

October 20 2011

14:32

Millions Will Be Trapped Amid Climate Change, Study Warns

Environmental change is just as likely to trap people as it is to make them migrate - or it can cause them to flee to even more vulnerable areas, a British government study warns.

October 17 2011

14:28

October 14 2011

17:11

September 19 2011

19:58

May 24 2011

18:00

No Need to Worry: Record Tornadoes, Raging Fires, Mega Floods, & Crop-Killing Droughts Are NOT What Climatologists Predicted

This op-ed originally appeared in the Washington Post.

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas — fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been — the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they’re somehow connected.<!--break-->

If you did wonder, you see, you would also have to wonder about whether this year’s record snowfalls and rainfalls across the Midwest — resulting in record flooding along the Mississippi — could somehow be related. And then you might find your thoughts wandering to, oh, global warming, and to the fact that climatologists have been predicting for years that as we flood the atmosphere with carbon we will also start both drying and flooding the planet, since warm air holds more water vapor than cold air.

It’s far smarter to repeat to yourself the comforting mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change. There have been tornadoes before, and floods — that’s the important thing. Just be careful to make sure you don’t let yourself wonder why all these record-breaking events are happening in such proximity — that is, why there have been unprecedented megafloods in Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan in the past year. Why it’s just now that the Arctic has melted for the first time in thousands of years. No, better to focus on the immediate casualties, watch the videotape from the store cameras as the shelves are blown over. Look at the news anchorman standing in his waders in the rising river as the water approaches his chest.

Because if you asked yourself what it meant that the Amazon has just come through its second hundred-year drought in the past five years, or that the pine forests across the western part of this continent have been obliterated by a beetle in the past decade — well, you might have to ask other questions. Such as: Should President Obama really just have opened a huge swath of Wyoming to new coal mining? Should Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sign a permit this summer allowing a huge new pipeline to carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta? You might also have to ask yourself: Do we have a bigger problem than $4-a-gallon gasoline?

Better to join with the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted 240 to 184 this spring to defeat a resolution saying simply that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.” Propose your own physics; ignore physics altogether. Just don’t start asking yourself whether there might be some relation among last year’s failed grain harvest from the Russian heat wave, and Queensland’s failed grain harvest from its record flood, and France’s and Germany’s current drought-related crop failures, and the death of the winter wheat crop in Texas, and the inability of Midwestern farmers to get corn planted in their sodden fields. Surely the record food prices are just freak outliers, not signs of anything systemic.

It’s very important to stay calm. If you got upset about any of this, you might forget how important it is not to disrupt the record profits of our fossil fuel companies. If worst ever did come to worst, it’s reassuring to remember what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the Environmental Protection Agency in a recent filing: that there’s no need to worry because “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.” I’m pretty sure that’s what residents are telling themselves in Joplin today.

Bill McKibben is founder of the global climate campaign 350.org and a distinguished scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont.

March 29 2011

14:32

Live-Blogging a Senate Briefing on Nuclear Safety

As anxiety grows over Japan's troubled effort to stem the release of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Senate hears testimony from experts on the situation and on steps to improve safety at nuclear plants in the United States.

February 17 2011

22:28

February 07 2011

12:59

Climate Change to Force Mass Migration, Study Warns

No international cooperation mechanism has been set up to manage these migration flows, according to a forthcoming report from the Asian Development Bank.

January 20 2011

13:13

January 14 2011

21:42
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