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Katrina's Real Name

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  • Mike Neuman
    Katrina s real name By Ross Gelbspan | August 30, 2005 THE HURRICANE that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31 10:32 AM
      Katrina's real name
      By Ross Gelbspan | August 30, 2005

      THE HURRICANE that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina
      by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.
      When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the
      cause was global warming.

      When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia
      and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the
      United Kingdom, the driver was global warming.

      When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the
      Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the
      reason was global warming.

      In July, when the worst drought on record triggered wildfires in
      Spain and Portugal and left water levels in France at their lowest in
      30 years, the explanation was global warming.

      When a lethal heat wave in Arizona kept temperatures above 110
      degrees and killed more than 20 people in one week, the culprit was
      global warming.

      And when the Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai) received 37 inches of
      rain in one day -- killing 1,000 people and disrupting the lives of
      20 million others -- the villain was global warming.

      As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense
      downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.

      Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced
      off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity
      by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of

      The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.
      Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of
      Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent
      millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.
      The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires
      humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of
      course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial
      enterprises in history.

      In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal
      industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were
      public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more
      than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public
      relations and lobbying campaign.

      In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory
      yet when President George W. Bush was elected president -- and
      subsequently took suggestions from the industry for his climate and
      energy policies.

      As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we
      have already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change.
      Against this background, the ignorance of the American public about
      global warming stands out as an indictment of the US media.

      When the US press has bothered to cover the subject of global
      warming, it has focused almost exclusively on its political and
      diplomatic aspects and not on what the warming is doing to our
      agriculture, water supplies, plant and animal life, public health,
      and weather.

      For years, the fossil fuel industry has lobbied the media to accord
      the same weight to a handful of global warming skeptics that it
      accords the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
      Change -- more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to
      the United Nations.

      Today, with the science having become even more robust -- and the
      impacts as visible as the megastorm that covered much of the Gulf of
      Mexico -- the press bears a share of the guilt for our self-induced
      destruction with the oil and coal industries.

      As a Bostonian, I am afraid that the coming winter will -- like last
      winter -- be unusually short and devastatingly severe. At the
      beginning of 2005, a deadly ice storm knocked out power to thousands
      of people in New England and dropped a record-setting 42.2 inches of
      snow on Boston.

      The conventional name of the month was January. Its real name is
      global warming.

      Ross Gelbspan is author of ''The Heat Is On" and ''Boiling Point."

      Note: Winters in the Northern Hemisphere under global warming are
      predicted to produce heavier snow and ice storms provided
      temperatures are cold enough (associated with more moisture in the
      atmosphere due to warmer temperatures).
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