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Is the Enviornmental Debate Going to Far?

Brian Neudorff @ 9:02 am May 15th, 2008 · 4 Comments

With every natural disaster that occurs, whether it is Katrina devastating New Orleans in 2005 or recently, the extreme death toll created by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the record setting pace of the 2008 severe weather season in the United States it seems many in the environmental movement are quick to claim human induced Global Warming and climate change as the cause for all these event to help promote awareness.

I will say it is true on the other side of the debate when we have normal or cooler seasons or a cooler than average month. Those who call global warming a hoax will use those events to promote their idea. I disagree with both. You have to be very careful using any particular weather event as proof for or against global warming.

To be honest, because we live in an “on demand” world with 24/7 news cycles, severe weather is being reported a lot more than it was 10 to 20 years ago. Plus more people have access to cameras and technology. The national weather service is issuing more severe weather warning because of technology advances. Also we live in places that 10 to 20 years ago weren’t developed and this increases the chance of tornadoes and severe weather to impact more people.

What has really frustrated me in the last few days is a few trying to link the China earthquake to climate change and global warming. As a meteorologist I understand the atmosphere and with my background in earth sciences I have good basic understanding of geology and how earthquakes work. I will be honest, I don’t believe that in any way the earthquake in China has any connection to climate change and global warming.

Here are a few examples of what I have found:

Cyclone Nargis and Climate Change Victims:

What’s it going to take to get our government to wake up to the crisis of global warming?

We’ve had Hurricane Katrina, now Burma’s got Cyclone Nargis and there’s a big earthquake in China.

Now maybe not every single one of these events can be attributed to global warming, but scientists have been warning us for years that these are precisely the events that would become more pronounced as a result of climate change.

Then ABC6 in Providence, RI was asking its viewers if all of the recent disasters, like the China earthquake, were our (man’s) fault or “Bad Luck”

COMMENT… Earth, Wind, and Fire…Is it our fault, or just bad luck?

Mother Nature has really been unkind to us as of late.

Could some of these events be linked to drastic environmental changes due to global warming, or is the devastation just a coincidental downward trend? What do you think?

As I was researching this and reading various news and blog posts some of the comments by everyday people really scared me. There appears to be a lot of average Joe’s who believe there is a connection between all of this and global warming. I also came across publications that link earthquakes to global warming. Here are a few I found:

From 2005, The Christian Science Monitor:
Global Warming’s Surprising Fallout

From 2006, Mongabay.com:
Some earthquakes may be linked to climate change

From 2007, LiveScience.com:
Global Warming Might Spur Earthquakes and Volcanoes

In case you don’t know what my view is on global warming as a meteorologist, I will tell you. I don’t argue that global temperatures are rising. I don’t even argue with the point that man is playing a role in the current warming. What I do question is how large of a role. I also think that there are other causes and because the study of climate and what we know is still so early in its stages that there is more for us to find out. We are just starting to understand severe weather better because of technology. We are learning more about hurricanes and tropical weather and the natural warming and cooling cycles in all parts of the earth’s ocean.

I am for taking care of our environment. I want renewable forms of energy and more efficient forms of energy. I believe all of us are called upon to make smart choices and be good stewards to our planet and not be wasteful. I just feel it is very irresponsible for those on both side of the GW argument to use one event one season to justify its position. In the end, it just confuses people and causes them to believe something that may not be factual.

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Tags: Earthquakes · Geological Events · Global Warming · Hurricanes · Severe Weather · Tornadoes · Tropical Weather · Weather News

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 blisschick // May 15, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Wow. I had no idea. People… to me it just seems like another way to blame things on something outside ourselves. “Global warming” is the big catch-all for everything that doesn’t make any sense, for everything we don’t want to think about. Rather than wondering how we could help the victims of this quake, we sit around biting our nails and playing (false) blame games. Bad things happen but now we have somewhere to point! Someone is poor in New York City, it must be global warming. Someone is sad in LA, must be global warming. Rather than dealing with issues… You get the idea.

  • 2 Brian Neudorff // May 15, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Blisschick, Thank you for your comment I am still loving your Earth Day post where you simply said, stop waiting for someone to fix this problem with legislation instead you (we) be the solution. Invent something, discover something, be creative think outside the norm. Most of the amazing things we love and use daily didn’t come from legislation or government, or presidents but the creative spirit of individuals and everyday people.

    I have never said we aren’t the cause of the current warming, but I want to be open to all discussion and find the truth but even with that we shold still do our part. Thank you

  • 3 Ed Gulachenski // May 17, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I agree that a single weather event or season does not confirm or refute manmade global warming. But when the last 10 years of temperature data reveal no global warming even though CO2 levels have continued to rise, I say this is significant news and puts the whole MGW in serious doubt. http://www.projectalberta.com/board/viewtopic.php?p=57264#57264

    And even of more significance is the finding that when actual measured surface temperature rises are plugged into the 22 IPCC models, the resultant model temperature rises in the troposphere are not two to three times that at the surface as required by green house gas theory; but equal to or in some cases not even of the same sign. The IPCC models grossly overstate the projected average global warming temperatures as published in IPCC Report IV. http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22604

    The IPCC models are wrong and hence all of the published data on impacts and mitigating methods are in error. But congress is intent on legislating a carbon tax which will have no impact on global warming. Instead it will increase the cost of gasoline and every other product necessary to produce the products we need and to provide electricity heating and cooling of our homes.

  • 4 cassandrea // Jun 14, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Read “Under a Green Sky” in which a paleoclimatologist explains the vocano link and the different forms of climate change.
    Good luck with getting informed.

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