The We Campaign’s action alert sent yesterday to activists about the U.S. Climate Change Science Program report on global warming’s effects on extreme weather.
As the Wonk Room has reported in our Global Boiling series, scientists have warned for well over a decade that global warming will make extreme weather events like the Midwest floods and California wildfires that are ravaging the nation commonplace. However, the Bush administration has failed to mobilize the nation, instead suppressing the research and letting polluters control policymaking. Now, spurred by activists, major environmental organizations are calling for action.
On June 19, Friends of the Earth led the clarion call:
The warming climate has made more extreme precipitation inevitable, and in response, the U.S. must dramatically refashion its failed flood control policies.
The world’s largest grassroots environmental organization noted that U.S. flood control policy has been misguided for decades, pointing to government panels from 1966 and 1973 that recommended “more attention be paid to relocation out of flood zones and called for greater emphasis on non-engineering solutions.” Instead, due to pork barrel spending “totally unnecessary and often environmentally destructive projects are built while those of higher priority go unaddressed,” destroying up to 95% of the wetlands of Iowa and Illinois. With global warming, policies that were once problematic are now disastrous.
Yesterday, National Wildlife Federation head Larry Schweiger called on Congress to hold immediate hearings to revise the National Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act. The accompanying report from the largest environmental organization in the United States, “Heavy Rainfall and Increased Flooding Risk: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the Central United States,” recommends the U.S. stop its levee-larded strategy for flood control and begin aggressive reductions in global warming pollution. Offering her thoughts and prayers to those grappling with the “catastrophic flooding in the central United States,” NWF climate scientist Amanda Staudt connected the dots:
The big picture is that global warming is making tragedies like these more frequent and more intense. Global warming is happening now. Our dependency on fossil fuels like oil and coal is causing the problem, and people and wildlife are witnessing the effects.
Unfortunately, not all leaders are recognizing the severity of this crisis. Major news networks employ global warming deniers and industry apologists in senior positions, The Wall Street Journal publishes right-wing extremists who think climate science is a “sick-souled religion,” and the New York Times publishes stories on the future of the Everglades and the effects of extreme floods on Midwest agriculture without even mentioning climate change once.