I find it systematically tends to get underplayed and it often gets underplayed by my fellow scientists. Because one of the opening statements, which I’m sure you’ve probably heard is “Well you can’t attribute a single event to climate change.” But there is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.
That’s Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, on the warming-deluge connection. I interviewed him a couple weeks ago about Tennessee’s 1000-year deluge aka Nashville’s ‘Katrina’.
Center for American Progress senior fellow Van Jones believes that the American public want to be “called to service” by President Barack Obama to respond to the Gulf oil disaster. Appearing on TV One’s Washington Watch with Roland Martin, Van Jones described the challenge the president faces in moving from responding directly to BP’s environmental catastrophe to providing leadership for the nation. Obama will “use his first Oval Office speech Tuesday night to outline a plan to legally compel BP to create an escrow account to compensate businesses and individuals for their losses from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.” More importantly, Jones said, Obama needs to provide clear leadership for the American people:
The country’s frustrated, and the President has not had his megaphone moment. Remember the last president. After 9-11, people were very frustrated. They said, you know, “Where is the President?” et cetera, et cetera. He couldn’t find his voice. And then he’s stumbling at the megaphone moment. And he stood up, and he said, “They’re gonna hear from us,” you know, “soon.” And then the country said, “Okay. He gets it.”
The President has not yet had his megaphone moment. When he has it, things will calm down, but in the meantime, what we wind up doing is distracting ourselves with, “Was he mad enough?” “Is he not mad enough?” “Well, he said ‘ass.’” “Well, he said ‘jackass’ about Kanye. Well, let’s talk about Kanye.”
People actually just want to be called to service: “What are we supposed to do, Mr. President? And we will do it.” That’s what’s missing.
Obama agrees with Van Jones. “In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11,” the president told Politico, “I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.” Van Jones also predicted that “people are going to be shocked” by Obama’s “passion” in his address to the American public tomorrow:
You’re going to see him down, boots on the ground. You’re going to see him speaking more from his heart, and people are going to be shocked when they actually hear how much passion this president has to see a foreign company come over here, corrupt our government, kill innocent workers, slag up the coastline, destroy the ecology and economy in an American region that has been a jewel for us. When you hear his passion, I think people are going to be shocked. And then we’re not going to be talking about the profanity; we’re going to be talking about the profundity – of having a president that cares as much as the President does care.
On mountaintop removal: “I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it’s been flattened out…. I don’t think anyone’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there”
Sure the WashPost mocked Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL) as “the last flat-earther.” But that was a purely metaphorical description of the pro-pollution right-winger. Turns out U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul’s (R-KY) actually thinks a lot of Kentucky would be “quite desirable” if it were literally flattened by big coal.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Jun 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm
To demonstrate that it’s responsibly taking care of the oil spill and listening to public complaints, BP has touted the fact that it has set upcall centers to handle the response.
One of the operators at the BP Call Center in West Houston has revealed that she and the other 100 employees are just PR props. BP isn’t actually doing anything with the thousands of calls it receives, as TP reports:
By Climate Guest Blogger on Jun 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm
Late last month, Mississippi state House Speaker Billy McCoy (D) and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) created a select committee to investigate the Gulf Coast oil spill. “[T]he people of Mississippi deserve to know how this happened and what the future may hold for this most valuable part of our state,” said McCoy. A key part of the select committees’ mission would be to hold hearings with top officials from companies responsible for the spill. TP explains things didn’t quite pan out as planned.
The electricity market is in the doldrums, but the market for new generating stations that use natural gas is going strong, industry experts say. Why? Because gas is beginning to replace coal, according to Randy H. Zwirn, president of the Siemens Power Generation Group.
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