Thursday, June 16, 2011

Climate Change Storm Records Smashed Tornadoes Floods Rain Snow Drought Patterns Have Changed

Tags: Climate Change Politics Distorts Facts Special Interests Prevent Solutions Record Tornadoes Floods Droughts All Affecting USA

Are Sharp Increases in Violent Storms Normal or Has Something Changed?

NY Times, John M. Broder, June 15, 2011,

So far this year, there have been nearly 1,400 preliminary tornado reports nationwide; those reports will most likely be whittled down to about 900 confirmed tornadoes, the second-highest annual total recorded in modern times. The record is 1,011 confirmed tornadoes in 2008.

“Global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather because the environment in which all storms form has changed from human activities,” Dr. Trenberth said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Records are not just broken, they are smashed. It is as clear a warning as we are going to get about prospects for the future.” …

When politics or funding is involved, the public discussion of climate change becomes muddled. A review of some basics of weather and climate might help the layperson understand this more than the brief and distorted discussion often seen on television interviews.

First congress, the political dimension, often funds the money to do the research to understand our climate system so we can predict weather patterns for economic reasons such as growing food crops. Second, we need some advance knowledge of weather patterns to predict violent tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, for survival reasons, and when we can have outdoor picnics.

Then we have special interests who do not want any law or regulation that will cut their profits in oil, gas, coal, and nuclear plants in a similar manner to that the tobacco corporations had a sophisticated campaign of creating doubt about whether smoking caused the deaths from cancer and emphysema. It worked marvelously in keeping the profits up.

The same group of former Nuclear Scientists have also done the same in creating doubt about climate change from carbon dioxide and methane which had a scientific consensus back in 1969 and taught in universities such as Gore’s Harvard from our unregulated use of petroleum. The dilemma we Americans have is that we like the “good” life petroleum has played in our lives. Without it we would have almost no plastic products and containers, lighter cars, cheaper furniture, and countless items in our homes and workplace.

Because improving our energy efficiency will cut their profits, the Republican House refuses to fund this common sense solution. How much can we save. Largely corporate Think Tank, McKinsey&Company has made an estimate.

Energy Efficiency Study by Mckinsey&Company Cor… The research shows that the US economy has the potential to reduce annual non-transportation energy consumption by roughly 23 percent by 2020, eliminating more than $1.2 trillion in waste—well beyond the $520 billion upfront investment (not including program costs) that would be required. The reduction in energy use would also result in the abatement of 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse-gas emissions annually—the equivalent of taking the entire US fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the roads.

Such energy savings will be possible, however, only if the United States can overcome significant sets of barriers. These barriers are widespread and persistent, and will require an integrated set of solutions to overcome them—including information and education, incentives and financing, codes and standards, and deployment resources well beyond current levels.

In addition to the above central conclusion, five observations will be relevant to a national debate about how best to pursue energy efficiency opportunities of the magnitude identified and within the timeframe considered in this report. Specifically, an overarching strategy would need to:

  • Recognize energy efficiency as an important energy resource that can help meet future energy needs while the nation concurrently develops new no- and low-carbon energy sources
  • Formulate and launch at both national and regional levels an integrated portfolio of proven, piloted, and emerging approaches to unlock the full potential of energy efficiency
  • Identify methods to provide the significant upfront funding required by any plan to capture energy efficiency
  • Forge greater alignment between utilities, regulators, government agencies, manufacturers, and energy consumers
  • Foster innovation in the development and deployment of next-generation energy-efficiency technologies to ensure ongoing productivity gains

Read executive summary (PDF–1.52 MB)

Read full report (PDF–6.37 MB)

Jim Kawakami, June 16, 2011,

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