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Fwd: White House feels heat on warming after storm

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  • Pat Neuman
    ... wrote: White House feels heat on warming after storm Elisabeth Rosenthal International Herald Tribune As politicians and commentators
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2005
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      --- In fuelcell-energy@yahoogroups.com, "janson2997"
      <janson1997@y...> wrote:
      White House feels heat on warming after storm

      Elisabeth Rosenthal

      International Herald Tribune

      As politicians and commentators around the world took in pictures of
      the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, many seized the
      opportunity to blame the fierce storm, at least in part, on the Bush
      administration's environmental policy.

      The United States is one of the few nations that have not signed the
      Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to limit global warming by reducing the
      levels of industrial emissions that most scientists now believe
      promote climate change.

      "Katrina Should Be a Lesson to the U.S. on Global Warming," read a
      headline on the Web site of the German magazine Der Spiegel.

      "The Bush government rejects international climate protection goals
      by insisting that imposing them would negatively impact the U.S.
      economy," wrote Jurgen Tritten, Germany's environment minister and a
      Greens Party member.

      "The American president is closing his eyes to the economic and
      costs his land and the world economy are suffering under natural
      catastrophes like Katrina," Tritten charged.

      While it is impossible to link Katrina specifically to warming,
      scientists said, most now concur that global warming does tend to
      increase the intensity of hurricanes, if not their frequency.

      "There is new research that shows there may well be an increase in
      the destructive power of hurricanes because of global warming," said
      Wayne Elliott, a meteorologist with the British weather service.

      But the experts add that it was scientifically unfair to blame any
      one hurricane on the warming trend.

      "We would expect hurricanes on average should be getting more
      because of global warming," said Jay Gulledge, senior research
      at the Pew Institute for Climate Change, "but it's hard to make the
      connection in any one event, like Katrina."

      The United States has experienced Category 5 hurricanes like Katrina
      before the warming of the last decades, he pointed out.

      But the connection between global warming and Katrina was made
      prominently in many media outlets in European countries, all of
      have signed the Kyoto accord and in which Bush administration
      environmental policies are widely unpopular.

      In Italy, the Legambiente, a powerful national environment lobby,
      called Katrina "a dramatic event on par with Sept. 11," referring to
      the terrorist attacks of 2001, and demanded change from the U.S.

      The strength of a hurricane is connected to sea surface temperature,
      which is slowly rising with global temperatures. In the last
      global temperatures have risen more than 0.7 degree Celsius (1.26
      degree Fahrenheit) and sea temperatures about 0.6 degree Celsius
      (1.08 degree Fahrenheit), and the pace of change is accelerating,
      according to the European Environment Agency.

      September 4, 2005



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