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A “Fossil-Fueled Storm” Calls for an Immediate Crash Course on Climate Change

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by Matt Stoller (http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller)

If you’ve been following twitter, you’ve probably seen a bunch of pictures of various parts of the Northeast subjected to the climate nightmare known as Hurricane Sandy. This storm is not a natural disaster, it is a result of us pumping huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere for over a century. As the fantastic new group Forecast the Facts notes, this is a a fossil-fueled storm.

So how is the organizing going? Well, the climate change related group 350.org did a climate action before the storm in Times Square, asking for an end to the climate silence during the Presidential debate.

Times Square Connect the Dots action before Hurricane Sandy

Here are some places you won’t see any information about this climate disaster.

This is the Sierra Club’s home page.

This is the home page for the Environmental Defense Fund:

The League of Conservation Voters:

And the Natural Resources Defense Council:

This is a climate emergency. It is a moment of crisis, which is also a point of leverage. What should happen is a collective call for an immediate crash course on the climate crisis. Repairs combined with a hardening of infrastructure, acceleration of the build-out and installation of clean energy systems that are robust (including feed-in tariffs), a shut down of all high carbon emitting sources of energy within the next ten years, and massive outlays for research. It should be branded and aggressively promoted by every environmentally aware politician, activist, celebrity, and business leader. This requires institutional backing from the environmental groups, and a willingness to prioritize policymaking in the face of emergencies over business as usual.

But don’t worry, if we blow it this time, we’ll get another chance. And another. And another.

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71 comments

  1. Chris Darling

    Matt, nearly all the large environmental groups are more interested in expanding their fundraising base than in being effective. I know because I worked for the National Wildlife Federation in the 90s and had colleagues in nearly all the others. That has not changed in the 20 years since then. They lined up in support of the nearly worthless climate change bill that passed the House in 2009 and supported it even after Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham added clean coal and support for nuclear power which the three Senators did to try to get support from other Senators.

    To my knowledge, only Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and Center for Biological Diversity are being bold about climate.

  2. Eric Patton

    The only thing Bill McKibben cares about is electing Democrats. No climate defender, he. Privileged guy, though.

    1. wbgonne

      “The only thing Bill McKibben cares about is electing Democrats.”

      Unfortunately, I agree. I quit 350.org for precisely that reason.

  3. Ralph Siegler

    You mean only Earth, Greenpeace, and Center for Biological Diversity are ignoring the reality that storms such as Sandy are recurring phenomenon, and the assertion that it was caused by fossil fuel is nonsense. the sun drives these storms as it has been since the last ice age.

    We’ll never have a meaningful discussion about man’s carbon pollution with this kind of hysterical nonsense

    1. Gil Gamesh

      You said one thing that makes sense: we (the USA) will never have a meaningful conversation about AGW, certainly not as long as our beloved 1 per centers run the place.

    2. Sandwichman

      I know, I know, it’s hard to rebut sound-bite factoids with complex, uncertain arguments. But the claim isn’t that AGW climate change CAUSE this or that hurricane. It is that the warmer oceans and, in this case, unusual high pressure area off of Greenland INTENSIFY hurricaines and make them more frequent. There will never be — and can never be — PROOF that climate change caused or even worsened any particular hurricane but when you tilt the table, you change the odds.

  4. Kurt Sperry

    Amen. Any self declared “environmentalist” who also whores for the D wing of the “all of the above” Duopoly Party has no personal credibility. One cannot be a committed Democrat or Republican and at the same time an environmentalist. The two categories are completely ideologically antagonistic.

  5. Brooklin Bridge

    Bill Black tells us we will crush any politicians who threaten the social safety net and Matt tells us this is the perfect occasion to insist we address global warming.

    Knock knock, did you nod off for 40 plus years? Try getting the environment even mentioned once in a Presidential debate. Obama could cook brown people in gas ovens (if he got bored with drones), he could give rewards to foreign oil companies who joined in a compitition to create the most massive oil spill in the Gulf or the Arctic – and 75% of liberals would vote for him anyway and call anyone who voted for some other candidate a hate-er of democracy.

  6. Gil Gamesh

    That the big mainstream environmental groups have been co-opted is not news (see Johann Hari’s reporting, e.g.), but it bears repeating. McKibben’s 350.org is good, and there are other smaller climate action groups. Even the famously low-information American public is starting to awaken to the emergency, based on their direct experience with extreme weather (see the 10/12 George Mason/Yale poll). But with over $30 trillion in assets, and enormous amounts disposable income to buy legislation, regulatory forebearance, and courts (SCOTUS, e.g.) it will take many disasters, loss of life, and misery before US policymakers do anything –anything– constructive on remediating AGW-caused climate change, as it is too late to stop it.

    1. wbgonne

      Bill McKibben, formerly a hero of mine, has squandered his credibility by refusing to call Obama what he is: an AGW criminal. The worst thing about powerful and evil people like Obama is that they get so many otherwise good people to turn bad. That said, we all have choices: McKibben refuses to cast Obama and the Democrats aside and he will pay the price when he attacks the Republicans for doing exactly what Obama is doing: pretending AGW doesn’t exist.

      The climate doesn’t care whether the carbon goes into the atmosphere while a Democrat is the American president or a Republican is. Only fools care about such nonsense. Are you listening, Bill McKibben?

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      it will take many disasters, loss of life, and misery before US policymakers do anything –anything– constructive on remediating AGW-caused climate change, as it is too late to stop it.

      The only constructive thing policymakers will do (and are doing) is build bunkers for themselves, for their families and their cronies. Bunkers and places they imagine they can hide away from what is now – thanks to them – inevitable. That is the ONLY constructive thing they will do.

  7. Eureka Springs

    Good grief… As one who hired for the Sierra Club in San Francisco’s financial district 25 years ago… I can tell you they have long been a bunch of Stepford people in the main office…. of course they pay 98 percent of their employees a sub-humane anorexic wage, if that.

    1. Susan the other

      Nobody wants to geoengineer a disaster. I prefer to think they might have tried and failed to steer it away from the Atlantic coast. The British predicted the course of Sandy early on. And there is the interesting confluence with the deep trough of Arctic air that descended all the way to the Carolinas possibly forming an eastern edge vacuum for Sandy to follow. (?) And what’s with the acronyms of HARP AND HAAMP – too much really. HARP AND HAMP are already established disasters!

      1. arlene.stewart@gmail.com

        …and what’ with this genuis -an expert on -well -everything. And sice when should we be impressed with the ‘…British …’ whatever. In the NWO there’s no difference between US and UK policy on anyhing of importance let alone warfare -as in weaponized weather.

      2. arlene.stewart@gmail.com

        …and what is it with this genuis -an expert on -well -everything. And sice when should we be impressed with the ‘…British …’ whatever. In the NWO there’s no difference between US and UK policy on anyhing of importance let alone warfare -as in weaponized weather.

    2. Deloss

      gozounlimited: I looked at the first thirty seconds or so of this site’s first video, apparently made before Monday night, and the “expert meteorologist” interviewed announced that Sandy would not be “as bad as everyone’s hyping it up to be,” which I fear instantly discredited the site.

      Matt: your article is a beginning at least. But the Right has so maligned everyone who wants even to mention global warming that a discussion has been impossible. If Obama had made it an issue, millions would have dismissed him as a crackpot. The only statement on global warming I’ve heard from either candidate was Romney’s dismissive, “Obama says he wants to keep the oceans from rising.” Ha-ha.

      I suppose the human race will not perish, whatever happens. I even believe that the subways will run again. But we are in a terrible struggle against the greedy and short-sighted who willfully ignore the terrrible effects of their destructiveness (Koch et al.), the dupes who believe their propaganda (“Clean coal!”), and the hopeless blockheads who can not understand science or any form of cause and effect.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Poor Obama, if he doesn’t actively go out and kill innocent children with drones, if he doesn’t actively ignore thousands of families illegally getting kicked out of their homes, if he doesn’t actively seek to make a Grand Bargain with the rich, if he doesn’t actively encourage the tar sands operation and ruthless exploitation of dangerously located oil and gas resources, it’s ONLY because the Rethugs will call him a bad bad name.

    3. Yves Smith

      You put this up yesterday. It looked nutty and I ran it by an expert for grins, and he agreed. Please don’t put conspiracy theory material on the blog. The Truthers actually can point to some troubling issues. This by contrast is a guy who doesn’t understand how to read weather maps making wild claims.

  8. Pamela J

    Climate change is scientifically sound, but the solution being to monetize and monopolize the weather “market” is complete horse shit.

    Carbon credits or ANYTHING else conceived in fraud street is the death knell as far as this voter is concerned.

    Get banks out and the world can have a conversation.

    With them no one will talk. Many (most) would rather watch the world burn as it hurts the 1% standing in the way.

    FUCK THE BANKS, ID RATHER DIE THAN HELP THEM!

    1. different clue

      And if one has decided one would rather die than help them, perhaps one can take the next step and figure out how to actively kill them.

      “I’d rather die killing the banks than die alone.”

        1. steve from virginia

          Max Keiser and James Howard Kunstler suggested the guillotine. Kunstler would put the guillotine on a little hill with holes at the bottom numbered 1 through 5 so people could bet on which hole the head would roll into.

          I like the samurai sword myself … on television … ‘Execution of the Week’, before ’60 Minutes’ would do, or during half-time of the Sunday Night NFL game.

          Climate change deniers should be broken upon the wheel with their families made to watch. No form of death is too horrible for them.

    2. Woody in Florida

      Always fun to read some refreshingly honest comments.

      Thanks Pamela J

      p.s. I’m with you 100% F the banks and any of the 1% that care to get in the way.

  9. bluntobj

    Ah yes, here come the climate hysterics.

    Naturally the hurricanes in 1821 and 1938 must have been caused by all the modern day carbon dioxide too…

    And tides!! Having a high tide the exact same day is a result of carbon dioxide, right?

    It wasn’t hurricane Gloria’s fault it arrived at low tide in 1954 and didn’t cause nearly the damage it could have!

    Get over yourself, Mr. Stoller, and quit shilling for the industry that is being pummled not by any storms, but by lack of funding and donations in a country where many people are starting to worry about finding enough food day to day.

    Then again, I keep hearing from the climate holocaust people about how this planet can only sustain 500 million humans. I always ask them what their plans are to start the liquidation and “right-sizing” of the population.

    That earns me a dirty look of those who prefer to use contempt for others to shield themselves from understanding the reality of what they advocate.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Wow! So if you can’t point to a cigarette and say, “that’s the one that caused your cancer”, then cigarettes are fine? What a wizard!!

      1. bluntobj

        Wow! I think you got your metaphor backward. You’re going from singular to general, whereas Stoller is going from general to singular.

        Not to mention cancer is also a bad metaphor for “climate change.” The science there is indeed settled, unlike the research behind climate change.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Whether I’m going from specific to general or visa-versa, and Stoller is doing the opposite, is beside the point. The analogy is still accurate.

          As to settled science, climate change is sufficiently well established in the scientific community so as to be very similar to the way tobacco was treated in the 70′s by people who had a vested interest in challenging the growing certainty that tobacco had a direct causal relationship to cancer just as now that climate change (warmer oceans) has a causal relationship to storm frequency and severity.

          True, one can not take an individual storm such as Sandy, and say it comes from such and such a smoke stack at such and such a time any more than one can point to an individual cigarette and say that is the cause of such and such a stab of cancerous growth. But the connection is becoming sufficiently clear so as to render your judgment of climate histeria suspect at best.

    2. Yves Smith

      Oh, you don’t talk to the right people. I know the former wife of a billionaire who regularly talks about how 1/3 of the people on this planet need to not be here and how people need to be taxed heavily for having kids (which of course means only well off people will be able to reproduce). Of course, it’s the better off people with the better lifestyles who consume more of everything (even food, they eat higher up the food chain), so this won’t have as much impact as she hopes.

      1. bluntobj

        Yves,

        I agree, it’s scary on both ends of the spectrum. The blatant ease with which anyone can dismiss human life saddens me. It’s easy for ideology to justify such actions, because if your cause is right, then so must your actions be in support of that cause. Naturally this is false logic, but there are innumberable times in history in which the point must be disputed with weapons.

        That’s the fundamental issue I have with climate change believers. They don’t use physical weapons, but instead use regulations, interpretations, judgments, elections, ridicule, and laws as clubs to beat non-believers or questioners into submission.

        1. charles 2

          In the light of a recent column from Thomas Friedman ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/friedman-why-i-am-pro-life.html?_r=0 ), please acknowledge that for some people, allowing or encouring unstainable population growth is precisely “dismissing life”.
          As per the means to achieve a sustainable population, the main (only?) solution is to educate women of all social stratas so that they understand that without endowing their progeny with sufficient productive assets (intellectual capital amongs other), they should abstain from reproduction. Most east asian women gets it, German women gets it, Italian women gets it, etc…
          The funny thing is that the 1%ers are ambivalent about that trend, as some of them realize that the productive asset mix for a diminishing population is different than the productive asset mix for a growing poulation, and that their wealth is mainly based on the latter mix. This is why you will also see many 1%ers fighting hard to perpetuate the population ponzi by promoting fertility based policies, usually funded by debt. This is very similar to the fossil fuel based industry fighting tooth and nails against the emergency of alternative energy mix.
          Lots of dislocation and asset write-downs ahead I fear…

      2. different clue

        Have you tried the experiment of telling her that she and her social class kind of people are among the third of humanity that most needs not to be here? Given that she and her social class kind are among the third of humanity that cost the most resources?

        I wonder how she would respond to that. At the least, she wouldn’t invite you over to her house any more, if she does so now.

    3. charles leseau

      “Then again, I keep hearing from the climate holocaust people about how this planet can only sustain 500 million humans. I always ask them what their plans are to start the liquidation and “right-sizing” of the population.”

      Hi, I’m one of those who thinks the planet is overpopulated and getting worse, having had it double in my lifetime, though unfortunately I don’t have some exact figure like 500 million that I think is maximum for sustainability. Honestly, that sounds like it would be nice, though.

      But I can answer your question. I have no plans for liquidation and I’m not going to do anything about it except drop a critical internet comment from time to time, like this. I’m not a power seeker, you see, and that’s apparently a big foible of mine here on Earth. The hypothetical in my hopes – however futile – is not about militant enforcement, but about people chilling out with the baby making thing on their own after maybe noticing that there is something that looks a bit like too many people around. And maybe they’ll also contrast that with the fact that everything is already owned by someone, with a very thin slice of the very most ownerly of these owners elbowing hard for huge amounts more of this little planet to themselves – with literally nothing for those who don’t want to play by their rules (which, by the way, turns out to be more like genocide than anything I’d ever advocate). Maybe in the future people might start considering it a cruel gamble to burden a child with, of hopefully filling one of the fewer and mostly smaller spots in this fun and very rigged game of musical chairs. Or maybe not. In either case, nope, I’m not going to do anything about it – not even if others start to.

      Is that an okay answer with you, or do I still have to fit into your cliché somehow by becoming an ultra-extremist filled with visions of genocide and plans on making the world work the way I want it to? I can pretend, if it helps.

      1. bluntobj

        Charles,

        No, you don’t have to be extreme. I’ll take at face value your statement about not wanting power. That’s a rarity. I also endorse your method of dealing with it, in terms of allowing self-selection for extinction for those who think that they are burdening the world and its resources. I doubt a majority of people want to affirmatively allow others the freedom and right to choose to exist.

  10. steve from virginia

    Solving the ‘problem’ (this particular problem) will require a sacrifice. Right now, folks want ‘others’ to make the sacrifices while Americans (and a handful of friends) keep on keeping on.

    Suburbs, tract-houses, office towers, luxury jobs, automobiles, freeways, ‘retail’, the ‘service sector’. Add the auto-makers, finance, insurance, property brokerage industries, heavy construction/engineering companies, the fuel supply industry, militaries, giant governments and the management schemes that keep the whole running in a continuing manner … all of these things have to go in order to reduce carbon emissions in a meaningful way.

    Not only that, everyone knows this including climate scientists. This is why neither politician nor environmentalists nor Occupy Wall Street wants to talk about climate (or about peak oil, either). They all would have to give up comfort, conveniences and the market-driven status symbols that big (auto) business has been shoving up our asses since the beginning of the 20th century.

    This leaves out industrial livestock agriculture and biofuel production, deforestation and ‘naturally occurring phenomenon such as coal seam fires.

    Meanwhile, in the far corners of the world, young people are killing and dying so that they might have cars … along with all that goes with them. We call it ‘democratic awakening’ but it really is the step after a successful marketing campaign. Anyone with access to a TV wants a car: Egyptians, Syrians, Bahrainis and Libyans will stop machine gun bullets for a chance at cars … who else?

    The brain trust — including climate scientists and environmentalists — believes that there can be ‘climate reform’ without having to give up anything. They believe in the power of technology and point to Moore’s Law, windmills and solar panels … perpetual motion machines and other scams … along with trivial adjustments at the margins of the current regime. They refuse to accept the current regime has been bankrupt since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Industrialiation has always required borrowing from the future. It has now reached the point where the future is foreclosed. For what over-arching purpose?

    To enrich a handful and for contrived convenience.

    At the center of industrial economy is the automobile: every item in the list is an enabler of auto sales and use. The car is the axle around which modernity itself rotates. It is past the time to strike a hard blow against the auto empire here and now:

    Get rid of YOUR car, do it NOW. Don’t ask questions … just do it.

    Do it before events make cars irrelevant (peak oil related credit collapse as in the Eurozone) or there are laws made sanctioning them. Do it as a matter of choice in a choice-constrained world. Do it and never look back.

    Get rid of the TV while yr at it.

    Quelle inconvenient! Anyone who whines about climate while driving does not have a pot to piss in. Time to start walking the walk … or shut the fuck up.

    It’s either that or boil, and the human race deserves to go extinct. I don’t care.

    1. Susan the other

      You’re right. We need to reject the automobile economy. Batteries will pollute almost as bad as gasoline engines. At the same time we need to create good public transportation systems, trains and buses. Back in the 30s there used to be a train spur to every little town in America.

      1. alex

        “we need to create good public transportation systems, trains and buses”

        But how are we going to build them if, as “steve from virginia” suggests, we abandon the fruits of the industrial revolution?

          1. alex

            How local should we make the production of buses and railroad locomotives and cars? And what are the advantages of localizing it?

    2. bluntobj

      I endorse this post.

      I ditched my TV decades ago. I still drive a car, but I’m aware of the cost. I have a small farm, and I would very much enjoy the hard work that horse powered farming would be. I may even switch over to wood gasification for vehicle fuel in the future, as it’s a resource I own in abundance.

      I would also add that scale is the problem with livestock agriculture, biofuel production, and deforestation. Anything on an industrial scale driven by multinationals is worthy of dismantling and destruction.

      I’m a localvore, and I produce food for sale locally, along with wood fuel that’s harvested and replanted. This is where Steve is so right; the blight of cities and suburbs and the retail/FIRE specialization of so much of the country has to go. Centralized Industrialization should be swapped for a return to a more agrarian/decentralized existance. As stated above, I’m not a climate change believer, but I have faith that our resources are finite, that prices will rise, and those who build community and a local infrastructure will be rewarded and will prosper.

      1. alex

        “the blight of cities”

        People who live in densely populated cities and use public transportation use less energy. Manhattanites are amongst the most energy efficient Americans. Furthermore, densely concentrating people leaves more land that can be left (or allowed to return to) a natural state.

        1. bluntobj

          The natural state is not desired. This is placing the value of everything else over humans. If the ultimate goal is stuffing all humans into cities so the world can exist without humans, either you put everyone into matrix-type pods or you liquidate the surplus propulation, to quote scrooge. Or some other method that turns a human being into a thing to be managed by elites.

          That counts as disregard for human life.

  11. dutch

    Rank Year ACE Index
    1. 2005250
    2. 1950
    243
    3. 1893
    231
    4. 1995
    228
    5. 2004
    227
    6. 1926
    222
    7. 1933
    213
    8. 1961
    205
    9. 1955
    199
    10. 1998
    182

  12. dutch

    A look at the list of the ten most energetic hurricane seasons since 1851 does not indicate a particularly strong AGW effect. Given the difficulties in estimating sustained winds for historically remote storms, the over-representation of seasons from the past two decades is not that surprising. Its hard to make the case that fossil fuel use is making hurricanes much worse over time.

    Rank Year ACE Index (Accumulated Cyclonic Energy)
    1. 2005 250
    2. 1950 243
    3. 1893 231
    4. 1995 228
    5. 2004 227
    6. 1926 222
    7. 1933 213
    8. 1961 205
    9. 1955 199
    10. 1998 182

  13. They didn't leave me a choice

    I think Stoller might want to take a deep breath to calm all that hyperventilation. The last thing we want is for this site to start emulating the exaggerated style of catastrophy porn that MSM prefers. A minor, but critical point: we have absolutely no way of knowing if a storm, any storm, was in fact caused by climate change. At /best/ we can say that there has been long term movement towards this or that direction. I know it’s probably difficult to restrain ones desire to make a point on a critical issue and to “flesh out” an otherwise abstract problem, but I don’t think this is the right way to do it.

    It is simply flat out wrong to say that this or that storm was caused by, or made worse by climate change, if you don’t have a spare earth in identical situation sans climate change to test that hypothesis. Do note that I’m NOT saying that the storm was NOT caused or made worse by climate change, just that /we have no way of knowing either way/.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Take a long drag on a smokestack. Just because you can’t identify if a particular cigarette is the one that caused cancer doesn’t mean the smoker has an indefinite amount of time to quit smoking.

      It is established science that warmer waters fuel stronger storms as well as that humans have contributed largely to global warming. Sandy presents a long overdue occasion to bring that fact to the fore and this article is hardly a case of hyperventilation on the subject.

      1. They didn't leave me a choice

        How did you misread what I wrote to come into the conclusion that I support the continuation of the fossil fuel led consumption paradigm? Just because I adressed one particular problem in a post does not mean that I in any way endorse the usage of fossil fuels in any way. In fact I heartily endorse pumping plenty of resources into research of alternative energy production and storage methods and cutting fossil fuel use to zero in as rapid a pace as is humanely possible. This does NOT in any way excuse hyperbole of the kind

        >This storm is not a natural disaster, it is a result of us pumping huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere
        >As the fantastic new group Forecast the Facts notes, this is a a fossil-fueled storm.
        >This is a climate emergency

        represented by these comments. I am in no way a “climate sceptic” or any of those fools, it is merely highly annoying to see this kind of piss-yellow journalism level crap on a respectable site like this.

        1. alex

          I completely agree. Stoller made the ridiculous statement “this storm is not a natural disaster”. To call that an inaccurate paraphrase of what any respectable climate scientist would say is being very charitable.

          At best we can make fractional attribution to AGW of a specific weather event like a specific Atlantic hurricane. And exactly what fractional attribution to make is the subject of much debate and research. Some good explanations of the debate can be found at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/category/climate-science/hurricanes/

          I await someone claiming that realclimate.org is run by a bunch of closet denialists because they insist on a scientific approach instead of unquestioning zeal.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          As Colbert might say with a sheepish grin, “I accept your apology” (see comment below) and grant your point.

      2. Goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

        That doesn’t sound like a reasoned argument to me, it sounds more like you are trying to sell something quite big you don’t even own. Cancer is one thing, oceanic currents and their interaction with CO2 concentration in the atmosphere quite (a much more complex) another. While Stoller’s argument relies on fear, your own relies on common sense, which is not the same as science. And the ACE data posted by a commenter above doesn’t support your claim.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I think They didn’t leave me a choice has a point. The claim made in the post may well be over the top as a scientifically valid assessment and I jumped too hastily on his intentions in calling that out.

          As to the ACE data, it doesn’t support or deny anyone’s claim; the data is incomplete as the commenter who supplies it admits.

          My comments relying on common sense, that storms are fueled by warm water and that man made emissions are partly but considerably responsible for that warmth, are perfectly valid regardless of their relation to common sense and many climate scientists, a group I admittedly don’t belong to, have made similar, though of course more cautious and technically accurate, assessments.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          As to your rather clever reference to my chosen name and your tedious, booooooring reference to ownership, please note that our President as well as our upstanding TBTF banks utterly sneer at the concept; so why shouldn’t I? And, like them, I remain absolutely committed to providing the most favorable terms possible to make up for any minuscule vestigial inconvenience that antiquated notion might present to my oh so respected clients.

  14. Aussie F

    The ferocity of hurricane Sandy is the consequence of a 1 degree rise in temperature. Oil companies already have sufficent inventory to create a 3-4 degress rise in temperature – a lot of warm water means a lot of stored energy for the next hurricane, along with a rise in sea levels. Twelve foot waves will be a fond memory.
    Unfortunately the political class has a simple calculus: the cost of the crisis can be dumped on the public, and as long as Wall St and the corporate sector can privatize profits and socialise costs, who cares…?

  15. dutch

    “The ferocity of hurricane Sandy is the consequence of a 1 degree rise in temperature.”

    Sandy was not a particularly ferocious storm – only a category 1 after all. The ACE for Sandy is something over 13, while the highest ACE for any storm this season is about twice that. The 1 degree rise (if that is correct) didn’t seem to have much impact on Sandy.

    The damage in and around NYC was almost completely due to the fact that landfall occurred at high tide. Six hours either way would have resulted in much less damage.

    It is simply impossible to derive any information about climate change from one storm or one season – or one decade of seasons for that matter. To say that climate change is responsible for Sandy or for the 2012 hurricane season as a whole is completely unfounded. Let’s get back to economics.

  16. John

    It might be helpful to read George Lakoff’s article over at Huff Post on the distinction between systemic causation and direct causation.
    Global warming is a systemic cause for more extreme storms, heat waves, droughts, climate chaos. Just as smoking cigarettes is a systemic cause of lung cancer in many people.
    And for you deniers, you might want to think of it in terms of risk analysis. Are the consequences worth the risk? Particularly when there are economy stimulating alternatives. Think solar power and transportation systems in Germany.
    All for a few fossil fuel oligarchs.
    And of course, some say the problem will fix itself one way or another by the end of this century…either voluntary carbon reduction or chaos induced reduction when the whole modern human project gets a startup reboot.

  17. Jleb

    This article is stupid. There are multiple hurricanes every year. This one just happened to be a pretty nasty one that hit a major population center. It’s just mother nature being her old cranky self. Cutting emissions will not make the hurricanes stop. So stop banging your pots and pans.

    Please.

  18. different clue

    Suburbia won’t “go” anywhere. It will probably change into low-density peasant settlements and diffuse villages with much less transport in and out than now.
    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2008-11-25/resilient-suburbia-weighing-potential-self-sufficiency

    http://permaculturenews.org/2012/07/31/david-holmgren-on-retrofitting-the-suburbs-for-the-energy-descent-future/

    About the genocidal intentions imputed to the Global Warmists: the Global Warmists and the Georgia Guidestoners are two mostly-different groups of people. Most of the Global Warmists want a soft Global DeWarming landing for all the people already here now.

    Apparently Sandy was “wider” and covered more “area” than the average hurricane. Or am I wrong about that? Is there a way to measure and express the total amount of energy processed by a hurricane over its lifetime? Number of hours in existence times its average size-area over that lifetime times the average windspeed over that area? And given how much energy it takes to evaporate water, is amount of water dumped as rain over a hurricane’s lifetime part of measuring how much energy that hurricane processed?
    Is anyone even doing that work? If they were/are, then we may have a way to compare and evaluate the energy-processed of hurricanes going forward and see if they are processing more energy than they used to.

    1. different clue

      Perhaps Dutch’s comment above offers a key to what I am thinking about. Total cyclonic energy per hurricane . . . measured how? Average windspeed I guess. How about area-size of the hurricane over its lifetime and how much area those average windspeeds covered? How about overall amount of water dropped? Including water dropped by the post-hurricane remnants as they rain themselves dry over higher latitudes?

  19. different clue

    Perhaps we need a new word for natural disasters which are made worse and stronger by human inputs. Something like . . . humanatural disasters. Do warmer ocean surface waters feed the natural-anyway hurricanes to a bigger stronger size than what they would have reached before? Well, that would be a humanatural disaster.

    Perhaps Sandy was not made worse than it woulda been in the good old days before Industrial ManDriven atmospheric carbon loading. Perhaps it was. Is there a way to know?
    And might this Sandy incident be a teachable moment regardless? (I suspect this year’s deep drought or last years Russia drought might also be good teachable moments . . . and might be more manmade than maybe Sandy was).

    Perhaps people should also think about how to arrange agriculture, forestry, landscaping across 50 million acres of suburbia, etc ; so as to increase the amount of plant-driven carbon-suckdown so as to carbon-deload the atmosphere. More permaculture where appropriate, less grainfed meat, milk, and eggs . . . approaching eventual zero. More grassfed meat, milk, and eggs to incentivise more farmers turning more carbon emitting or at best carbon neutral graincrop land into carbon sucking and carbon biofixing range and pasture land. Eat all the grassfed beef you want, eat no grainfed beef at all. Approaches like that.

  20. brazza

    If I was a betting man I’d say we are heading into global warming and its consequences with nary a cosmetic change implemented. But then the “perfect storm” is itself a metaphor for the confluence of vector/trends (climate being one) pointing to crunch-time for civilization. I’m sure carbon emissions from the East Coast were significantly lower yesterday … one way or another the planetary eco-sphere (of which we are merely a species!) will drive to a new homeostasis.

  21. mass extinction IRR

    Climate silence and mounting government repression go hand in hand. Does anybody think that the permanent government hasn’t seen the science? Of course they know what’s happening. They view it as a technical problem of controlling transhumance and allocating productive land. The policy is made at the collateral level, TS SCI and SAP, but the observable components of the government response are completely evident: AFRICOM, NORTHCOM and dispersed force projection to pen the human livestock in; enormous investment in repressive technologies to cope with shortages and concomitant unrest; concentrating wealth to limit the frictions of public choice. The government and its ruling elites are preparing to ride out a steep decline in world and US population and come out on top.

  22. Screw AGW Nazis

    By simply labeling crude oil and other petroleum fuel sources as “fossil” fuels, people like the well-programmed clown that wrote this article clearly exhibit their total and utter ignorance and expose the agenda they’ve been suckered into supporting.

    Oil does not come from rotten lizards, plankton and palm trees but that assertion is probably too abstract for the average AGW deciple or green fanaticist to get a handle on.

    The Russians aren’t the world’s top oil producer by accident and have proven abiotic oil theory for decades. Try and get the average petroleum geologist to affirm this though and you’ll get the same flavour of programmed spew as in articles like this.

    Climate change is real, as it has been for billions of years. Too bad there’s no interest in geoengineering an intelligent populace capable of critical thought and knowledge of basic chemistry and physics, in which case the entire globe would be in hysterics at the thought of virtually limitless dinosaurs-and-seaweed-sourced petroleum fuel and minute overall quantities of CO2 in our atmosphere causing our climate to change for starters.

    I’m not saying living environmentally sensitive and sustainable lives is not a worthy endeavor. Only that AGW is the most insidious anti-human religious agenda to be adopted by countless useful idiots and thus inflicted on humanity at large, in the history of humanity.

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