The day after
Sunset over a peaceful sea
The storm has passed
Day of the storm
Boats race against the coming tempest back to a safe haven
It was the the middle of August and a big, national, summer holiday. Everyone except emergency crews and restaurant and hotel staff was on vacation. The heat and humidity were oppressive.
Then the storm came. It lasted, with varying intensity, through the night. The lightening was focused on Capri: it blazed through closed shutters, dousing the house with light. Reluctantly, because of the heat, we had to close every window and door; the shutters were ineffectual at keeping out the rain. The deafening thunderclaps pounded us from less than a mile away. I have never experienced a storm so violent. (Hurricanes are in another category.) We were warned that global warming would produce extreme weather…
Next morning, no power, no surprise. No power also meant no water. Big holiday. The electrician was away and the plumber didn’t answer his phone. The power company threw up its defenses and no one answered those calls either. Soon we found out that we were the only ones without power.
A full day passed. We carried buckets of water upstairs from the garden, where one tap was still flowing. We charged our portable devices at a neighbor’s house and left candles at the ready. Back home, it seemed quaint to carry lit candles from room to room as we readied for bed. No streaming movies, but thanks to our electronic devices, we could enjoy reading.
Fortunately, power was restored the next morning, lifting the sense of isolation and allowing us to appreciate the storm’s gift: refreshing, cool, dry air.
Hurricane Harvey 2017
Twenty storms causing a billion dollars or more in damage have taken place since 2010, not including Hurricane Harvey, compared with nine billion-dollar floods in the full decade of the 1980s, according to inflation-adjusted estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Seven have hit just since 2016…
Wall Street Journal
The oceans are growing warmer at an accelerating rate. Half the entire increase in temperature since pre-industrial times has occurred in the past 20 years. Water absorbs much more heat than air. The oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels.
Warm water fuels the storms. Hurricanes and tropical storms suck up the moisture that evaporates from the warm water surface and dumps it as rainfall on the land.
Harvey, Katrina— If toxic politics don’t destroy America, global warming will. The Trump Administration has revoked the Paris accords to control climate change and is dismantling the E.P.A., which studies climate change and issues regulations that are designed to combat and slow it down.
Seen at Earth Day / Science march
Finally! A “monumental triumph,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Nearly 200 countries agreed to combat climate change after two weeks of tense negotiations and more than of 20 years of debate and dispute and failure to stabilize, let alone slow, global warming.
Climate change “requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries,” because it “represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet,” reads the agreement. The cap it sets on global warming is below 2˚ C., which is still not enough, according to many scientists.
“This agreement won’t save the planet, not even close,” climate activist and advocate Bill McKibben wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. It doesn’t include, for example, a specific timeline for phasing out fossil fuels.
But it is a giant step forward nonetheless. It is “the best chance to save the one planet we’ve got,” President Obama said in his remarks to the nation on Saturday.
Shanghai smog, 1993
“Big Oil’s long history with climate change,” posted September 19 on this blog, asserted that “Exxon Mobil has known for almost 40 years that fossil fuels pose a lethal threat to Earth and all its inhabitants.”
“Exxon’s Climate Concealment” was published today in the NY Times. The article deals with the same scandalous campaign of deceit, disinformation and denial by Exxon and other industry leaders that climate change is real and caused by burning fossil fuels. The Times clearly used the same source as VBI did, Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization with a Pulitzer-Prize-winning web-site, because the two articles are substantially the same.
Despite the satisfaction of “scooping” the Times by three weeks, I’m glad they eventually deemed the story worthy of publication. Their readership is (obviously) orders of magnitude greater than VBI’s, and the story is important. (No) thanks to Exxon we have wasted too much precious time trying to clean up their mess and switching to alternate forms of non-polluting energy. But petrodollars talk — very loudly — and there still remains a steep uphill climb to counteract Big Oil’s propaganda.
Birds killed by oil from the Exxon Valdez spillBig Oil
Was anyone really surprised last Wednesday when InsideClimateNews (ICN) revealed documents confirming that Exxon Mobil has known for almost 40 years that fossil fuels pose a lethal threat to Earth and all its inhabitants? ICN, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning web-site, published the first installment of an exposé of Exxon’s role in suppressing research on climate change and disseminating disinformation. (Exxon [then Esso] and Mobil merged in 1999.)
In 1977, James Black, a top technical expert at Exxon, informed a group of top-level oilmen at Exxon headquarters that
[T]here is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.
The following year Black persisted. Speaking to a wider audience, he warned that the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continued to increase and would raise temperatures everywhere, but especially at the poles. Continue reading