One-fifth of Pakistan is under water

Obama admin triples number of helicopters sent for flood relief

Think Progress updates the Pakistan/climate/security story.

Denizens of Washington DC are reeling from a catastrophic storm that knocked out power for 100,000, toppled trees, and flooded streets. Much of the Gulf Coast is under flood warnings, and the central United States is sweltering under 110-degree heat, following an early summer of record heat and rainfall across much of the United States. Severe weather fueled by global warming pollution is having an even more devastating impact around the world:

All of these disasters were predicted by climate scientists as a consequence of greenhouse gas pollution from burning fossil fuels.

Obama admin triples the number of helicopters it is sending for Pakistan flood relief

As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, massive flooding is causing a humanitarian disaster in Pakistan and there are fears that the lack of a robust response by the international community will allow extr


emists to take advantage of the tragedy to push their own agenda. This is further compounded by the fact that the U.S. had been unable to spare many Chinook transport helicopters to assist the effort due to their use for the war in Afghanistan. Late Wednesday, the Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he will be tripling the number of Chinooks it will be sending to Pakistan, citing the dangers in allowing extremists the “opportunity” to take over the disaster response:

The United States announced on Wednesday more helicopters and aid to beef up relief efforts in Pakistan, which is grappling with its worst floods in 80 years. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. military was tripling the number of helicopters in Pakistan from six to 19 and was sending in a landing platform to be used off the coast of Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city.

President Barack Obama wanted to “lean forward” in being helpful, said Gates, who voiced concern that Islamist militants would seek to expand their influence by giving much-needed aid while Pakistan’s civilian government struggled to reach victims. “It does offer them (militants) an opportunity and so we are pleased to do what we can to help the Pakistani government and military demonstrate their capacity and their intention to care for their own people.” Gates told reporters traveling with him to Florida. “We will do what we can,” he added.

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration’s assistance efforts are helping to build goodwill in Pakistan. The military says the Chinooks it already had deployed in Pakistan have “rescued more than 3,089 people and transported more than 322,340 pounds of emergency relief supplies.” The U.N. estimated this week that 1,600 Pakistanis have been killed in the floods, 980,000 have been left homeless, and six million people in the country are now dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

These are both reposted from Think Progress.

For background and links to groups providing help to Pakistanis, see Media wakes up to Hell and High Water: Moscow’s 1000-year heat wave and “Pakistan’s Katrina”

For more on the national security threat posed by unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions:

And that’s why 33 generals and admirals announced support for the climate bill last month, asserting “Climate change is making the world a more dangerous place” and “threatening America’s security.”

39 Responses to One-fifth of Pakistan is under water

  1. fj2 says:

    Excellent use of our tax dollars.

    One the best and effective ways to spread good will.

    Altruism can be quite practical!

  2. Leif says:

    All this just so a large segment of Capitalism and Corporations can pollute for free and make obscene amounts of money, twist science, buy politicians, disrupt the voting process with gobs of money pandering to their own prosperity, disrupt the integrity of the judicial system, …

    Gosh, I haven’t even been able to finish my first cup of coffee out here on the west coast.

    Well it sure looks like “push is coming to shove” to this dude.

  3. Mossy says:

    Referring back to media coverage, the Boston Globe is starting to “get” it — See:

    This is on page 18, but at least it’s there. Interestingly, the front page headline today is “Watch out, it’s everywhere,” referring to poison ivy, with the second paragraph stating that “Scientists believe the plant may also be gaining in potency because, especially in cities, it is thriving on increasing carbon dioxide levels, partly the result of burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests.” We could pick apart this sentence in several ways, but at least it’s there, and in the second paragraph. When I first saw this headline, my instinctive response, before reading it, was that I had to write to add the poison ivy is increasing because of increasing CO2, so I was pleased that this was mentioned in the article.

    Poison ivy does not compare at all to the crisis in Pakistan, but maybe it will help the clueless American to connect the dots.

  4. fj2 says:

    1. fj2, My mistake: “Altruism can be quite practical!”

    Since developed-world past and present policies are direct cause of these environmental catastrophes, this is just the right thing to do.

    And, it is not even clear that these meager actions conform to the most basic sense of civilization’s governance by the “rule of law.”

  5. Leif says:

    Exactly, fj2. I can only imagine what our Military budget of ~$650 billion spent on humanitarian aid would do for our standing.

  6. Preston Wright says:

    You mean we can’t use the death drones to spread humanitarian aid?

  7. catman306 says:

    Preston Wright, what a GOOD idea! Thanks!

  8. fj2 says:

    Current global “Pearl Harbor” climate-change events insufficent to mobilize American action!

  9. mike roddy says:

    This is going to get interesting, because I recall reading recently that the CIA identified Al Qaeda in Pakistan as the greatest threat to US security.

    Maybe CAP can convene a meeting of generals and scientists to act together to make this most urgent case to the US Congress, to include both aid and actual climate policy. Most military leaders are Republican, so maybe they can shame GOP leaders into paying attention to the facts- and not their donors.

  10. Peter Mizla says:

    I am glad the President is responding to local residents in the Washington area- however has it struck him yet as to why these catastrophic events seem to be growing around the globe?

    He strikes me (Obama) as a very diffident and reluctant leader.

  11. Mike#22 says:

    It is already interesting. Epic floods right on schedule and some in Pakistan will make the connection between fossil fuel and this disaster. Al Qaeda active in the region. Oil revenue funding Al Qaeda and other Muslim extremists.

    Saudi Arabia is denier central in the region. What happens to their credibility when global warming type disasters grow more frequent?

  12. From Peru says:

    Jeff Masters is giving an explanation of the Russian Heat Wave+ Pakistani Floods:

    “Causes of the Russian heat wave and Pakistani floods”

    See also “A record quiet start to the 2010 Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season” right below!

  13. Colorado Bob says:

    Fish head south as sea temps rise

    Scientists say fish on Australia’s east coast are moving further south in line with an increase in ocean water temperatures.

    A report in Global Ecology and Biogeographyby researchers from the CSIRO claims south eastern Australia has become a climate change hotspot with well documented changes in the physical marine environment.

    The report found 45 fish species representing 30% of inshore fish families in the region, exhibited major distribution shifts thought to be climate related.

  14. MarkB says:

    Shockingly outstanding story from ABC:

    Deserves its own separate post here.

    One thing that would enhance it is direct references to the IPCC report.

    “South Asia

    Time-slice experiments with ECHAM4 indicate a general increase in the intensity of heavy rainfall events in the future, with large increases over the Arabian Sea and the tropical Indian Ocean, in northern Pakistan and northwest India, as well as in northeast India, Bangladesh and Myanmar (May, 2004a).”

  15. Mike says:

    “the central United States is sweltering under 110-degree heat” ??

    Where is it 110 F?

    Did you mean heat index?

  16. Eadsel Smith says:

    Flooding is H2O. My second grader says it is not CO2.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is a real unreflected post. But i’m sure that it is a good predicament for american bad conscience. One day they come with missiles and the next day they come with relief. The problem is that a lot of people confuses those two things and see them as one.

    Niels-Holger Nielsen

  18. Turboblocke says:

    #15 Mike: the original story was written on the 12th August.

  19. Mark says:

    #16 E. Smith

    My first grader understood the water cycle, and could understand how warmer air could hold more water vapor.

    Too bad some adults can’t.

  20. Eadsel Smith says:

    So the water over Pakistan is cooler and therefore unable to hold water. What would we do without kids.
    His cousin says that flooding is not drought.

  21. SecularAnimist says:

    Eadsel Smith wrote: “Flooding is H2O. My second grader says it is not CO2 … His cousin says that flooding is not drought.”



    Thanks for the belly-laugh, dude. This is all so serious, that we need some comic relief once in a while. Though I must say, it really isn’t nice to make fun of stupid people, even Ditto-Heads.

  22. Mark says:

    Apparently it’s not a water cycle, it is a water elevator. The water just goes straight up and then straight down. Who knew?

  23. PurpleOzone says:

    Pakistan has 2 million people displaced by flooding. A heap of them will become “climate refugees”.

  24. NeilT says:

    #16, #20, I started out with incredulity, then I thought that It might be worth a laugh. In the end it finished with a wry grin and a raising of my right eyebrow.

    I guess If I asked my 14 year old Grandson he might be able to tell me that excess heat in the seas causes excess evaporation. That the excess heat in the air is able to hold more of that water vapour. And I guess if he was up on his geography he might tell me that the areas of Pakistan and China which are suffering under a deluge right now are the areas where the low lying land out to sea meets the mountains, causing the clouds to rise and drop water.

    I guess he wouldn’t know that the high over russia is causing the clouds to stall and cycle over those mountains dumping ever more water in the process. That’s more advanced science than he’s doing right now.

    Your responses show a level of calousness which is typical of the disinformation camp. Deny the science any way you can so long as it’s business as usual and damn the consequences.

    6 Million today and we can do something. What do we do in 20 years when it’s 600 million all over Asia and Africa? If I recall correctly the US had enough problems sorting out Katrina and that was right on the doorstep.

    The only way to make sure you can deal with this kind of catastrophe is not to go there in the first place.

  25. From Peru says:

    The Arctic Dipole Anomaly is back!

    Bringing winds that will push the sea ice away from the Russian Coast:

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    The Arctic dipole anomaly is a pressure pattern characterized by high pressure on the arctic regions of North America, and a low pressure on the Eurasia region. This pattern sometimes replaces the Arctic oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation. It was observed for the first time in the first decade of 2000s and is considered a sign of climate change. The Arctic dipole lets more southern winds into the Arctic ocean resulting in more ice melting. The summer 2007 event played a big role in the record low sea ice extent which was recorded in September. Arctic dipole has also been linked to drier winters in Northern Europe and colder winters in East Asia

  27. paulm says:

    Eadsel Smith are you denying that CO2 is causing GW?
    Or are you denying that GW causes more intense flooding?

    Could you please clarify….

  28. All this science and causality stuff is pretty much lost on “Eadsel Smith.” One is sort of reminded of the exchange between Jamie Foxx’s and Tom Cruise’s characters in the movie Collateral:

    FOXX: Oh my God! You killed him …
    CRUISE: No. The bullets and the fall killed him.

    The difference, of course, is that Cruise’s character was being sarcastic whereas “Eadsel Smith” is merely impenetrable.

  29. Colorado Bob says:

    Eadsel Smith as a degree from the University of AM Radio .

  30. David B. Benson says:

    Spending a goodly portion of that $650 billion per year on replacing coal burners by NPPs would greatly enhance true national security. Here are modern designs ready to go or soon will be ready:
    I especially appreciate the many advantages of the miniNPP designs.

  31. Mike says:

    This is a preprint of a technical paper, “Changes in precipitation with climate change,” by Kevin E. Trenberth. It is a 43 page PDF file.

  32. Here comes the next denier argument: water is plant food right?

    Surely all this extra water is good for plants?

  33. paulm says:


    “Inside the church, the water was about two meters (6 feet) high,” a statement said, calling it the worst flooding since the monastery’s founding in 1234.

    Read more:

  34. Given the events unfolding across the entire Eurasian continent (record high temnpss in Tokyo, floods, fire, drought stretching from China to Germany) I think we could name this the “2010 Eurasian Climate Anomaly”, or “2010 Eurasian Climate Disaster”… any other suggestions?

  35. NeilT says:

    “any other suggestions?”

    A very small prelude to a very stark reality.

  36. @ NeilT

    … yeah, there is that.

  37. Jon says:

    Well it’s a country which lives on a diet of Curries and rice. All this adds up to Methane gas! Methane gas is known to speed up global warming and it also has a tendency to create rain too. Cut out the curries and there will be less flooding it’s the same in Europe and the West too! It’s not too late to change our diet here and also the cultures and habits of some of the people who live here in the West!

  38. Jon says:

    Hope these links work


    Human diet is one of the main causes of CO2 and Methain Gas we need to watch our diets! Cows, Sheep and pigs etc are part of our diet trouble is they cause Global Warming!

    Global Warming – Causes

    Global Warming is caused by many things. The causes are split up into two … Methane is a greenhouse gas. A greenhouse gas is a gas that traps heat in the earth’s …​causes.htm · Cached page
    Global Warming Pages

    … green house gas concentration. Some believe that global warming is caused … which cause global warming as well include methane, chloro fluro carbons and nitrous oxides, by human … · Cached page
    Runaway Methane Global Warming

    Runaway Methane Global Warming. Methane (CH 4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for … call the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, when methane burps caused rapid warming …​Global-Warming/​Methane.htm · Cached page
    Global Warming

    … methane (a greenhouse gas) from its ice complex (clathrate) has been hypothesized as a cause of past global warming … warming is human-caused. Effects. The predicted effects of global … · Cached page
    Methane Gas(CH4): A Major Cause of Global Warming
    More on this page
    It is the second biggest contributor to global warming. Methane occurs naturally and is the primary component of natural gas. It constitutes 1.8ppm, or 0.00018% of the atmosphere, much less than carbon dioxide.

    Compared to carbon dioxide, methane is: The difference in these numbers is partly because methane has a relatively short lifespan …
    Popular links

    * Global Warming Facts
    * What Are the Causes
    * The Source of Warming
    * Is CO2 the Cause
    * A Natural Force

    Go to the page

    Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas that you can help reduce … that past releases of methane from clathrates caused warming … The Global Warming Debate Human and Natural Causes of … · Cached page
    Forestry and Global Warming: How Can Our Forests Effect Climate …

  39. Dan L. says:

    You should fix the headline on this post, Joe.