NWF: "Train of Storms is Symptomatic of a New Era of Stronger Storms"

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 03 Sep 2008 21:56:00 GMT

In a news release, the National Wildlife Federation’s climatologist Amanda Staudt warns that “this hurricane season is a stark reminder of what science tells us to expect from a new era of stronger hurricanes fueled by global warming: higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades.”

Scientific findings she notes:
  • “The big picture is that global warming is allowing hurricanes to pack a bigger punch. Over this century, windspeeds could increase 13 percent and rainfall could increase 31 percent.”
  • “Even storms that do not reach category 3 and above will hit harder because they will likely bring more rain than a similar storm would have just a few decades ago. It is a law of physics that warmer air is able to carry more water.”
  • “Both Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gustav brought costly flooding, with rainfall totals exceeding 10 inches in some locations. As the remnants of Gustav continue to bring heavy rains, much of the lower Mississippi valley remains under flood watch.”

“We must restore the coastal wetlands, lowlands, and barrier islands that provide the first line of defense against hurricanes,” advises Dr. Staudt. “For example, about half of the wetlands around New Orleans have been lost in recent years. Because scientists estimate that every mile of healthy wetlands can trim about 3-9 inches off a storm surge – and an acre of wetlands is estimated to reduce hurricane damage by $3,300 – we must restore these wetlands.”

For more, read the full NWF report on the influence of global warming on the destruction caused by tropical storms.

Bush Exploits Hurricane Gustav To Demand More Offshore Drilling

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 02 Sep 2008 21:48:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

President Bush exploited this morning’s press briefing on the “follow-up efforts” to Hurricane Gustav to attack Congress about lifting the offshore drilling moratorium. Stating that “what happens after the storm passes is as important as what happens prior to the storm arriving,” he made the declaration that “our discussion here today is about energy.” Bush wasn’t referring to the 1.4 million Louisianans who have lost power due to the storm’s destructive force, and chose not to mention the 102 deaths caused by Gustav. Instead, he went on the attack:
I know that Congress has been on recess for a while, but this issue hasn’t gone away. And, uh, this storm should not cause members of Congress say well, we don’t need to address our energy independence. It ought to cause the Congress to step up their need to address our dependence on foreign oil. And one place to do so is to give us a chance to explore in environmentally friendly ways on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Watch it:

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were both floored by Bush’s decision “to use another hurricane in Louisiana to promote offshore drilling at this point,” after he “performed so poorly during Hurricane Katrina.”

Bush’s tasteless politicization of an ongoing civil emergency repeated tired right-wing talking points. As Van Jones told the Wonk Room last week, Bush is selling false solutions and more pollution:
Let’s be very clear. Number one: There’s no such thing as American oil any more. These are multinational corporations. If you let multinational corporations drill all this oil, they’re going to sell it to the highest bidder, whether it’s China, or India, it doesn’t matter. Why would we throw away America’s beauty chasing the lost drops of oil, so multinational corporations can sell it to India and China?

And people also got to remember, we didn’t stop this as an environmental issue. We didn’t stop offshore drilling for the duckies and the fishies. We stopped it because coastline communities were suffering. Because the property owners, the children who live in those coastline communities – not when there were oil spills – but every day, when your child goes out to swim, he comes back covered in oil, you have to use gasoline to get the oil off your child. That was happening coast to coast


BRZEZINSKI: Okay, that was President Bush giving reporters an update on the situation to the hurricane. And nicely weaving in a little pitch for off-shore oil drilling!

SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say, Mika. Anybody, anybody that thought this would be the warm and fuzzy George Bush, who would have a tear in his eye and say, “You know, maybe we didn’t have everything right last time, but this time we are worried about the Americans who have,”—no, he turned it around, “Drill now.”

BRZEZINSKI: Drill, drill, drill.

SCARBOROUGH: Drill here, drill now.

BRZEZINSKI: But in all seriousness, at the top of the hour we’ll be hearing from the director of homeland security as well as governor Bobby Jindal.


SCARBOROUGH: I’ve got to agree with the mayor. For this president, that performed so poorly during Hurricane Katrina to use another hurricane in Louisiana to promote offshore drilling at this point…

BRZEZINSKI: (Laughing) It was like going from music to news to the top of the hour.

SCARBOROUGH: You know who was screaming the loudest?


SCARBOROUGH: The McCain campaign …

BRZEZINSKI: (Sighing) Ohhh…

SCARBOROUGH: ...while they were watching the president. “Just stop, just stop!” Not warm and fuzzy.