Signal fires replaced by Sandy's climate change loudspeaker

The debate over how to combat global warming has masked for many Americans the effects that become more apparent every season.

This fire season began with the Waldo Canyon Fire that burned down 346 homes in Colorado Springs. This week Americans saw the scorched earth path of a fire in Queens that burned 110 homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

I reported in 2008 that the Yellowstone fires of 1988 were the signal fires of climate change. They were the fires in hindsight that showed conditions had shifted.

Next to them Hurricane Sandy is a satellite network.

The year 1988 was among the hottest on record at the time. The drought across North America was the worst since the 1930s.

In the former Dust Bowl states from Montana to Nebraska, Kansas and Texas, farmers reported dark clouds of dust again as their topsoil blew away. By June 1 alone, the Soil Conservation Service estimated 12 million acres were damaged by wind erosion.

Record temperatures hit cities across the country. American companies sold 4 million air conditioners and could not keep up with demand. Congress held hearings on the greenhouse effect and global warming. They were told by the nation’s top climatologists that it was likely that the climate was changing and that the burning of fossil fuels was the cause. But they weren’t ready to say they were confident it was happening.

A lot has happened since then. The Kyoto agreement called for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gases, prompting a backlash for fears of its effects on a world economy dependent on fossil fuels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its 2,500 scientists from around the world concluded with a certainty of more than 90 percent that the earth was getting warmer because of the increased amount of greenhouse gases from decades of fossil fuel burning.

But Al Gore, a polarizing, partisan political figure, made it easy for critics to exploit the fears of the costs of taking action to reduce greenhouse gases. Republicans made global warming denial a part of conservative doctrine.

A Pew study released earlier this month showed views on climate change are increasingly partisan. But the issue doesn't always break the way people think.

Resources for the Future said in a report this month that even though Democratic cap and trade legislation died, the United States is on track to reduce emissions by 16.3% by 2020, nearly the targets mandated by the failed law. The reason is natural gas is replacing coal for electric generation.

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ignored the issue the entire campaign until last week when Obama got a question from MTV. Romney once supported a Republican cap and trade bill.

The same scientists who say that climate change is linked to fossil fuels stuck to their consensus to say that they could not tie the changing climate to individual storms or weather events.
pole melting
This year the Arctic sea ice mass was the smallest in history, so small that nations are lining up to explore for minerals in areas what had been hidden by ice and snowpack.A view of the melted Arctic from September, left

So it came down to a herald of the American capitalist system to dismiss the scientists’ reticence to link individual storms to the new climate reality. “It’s Global Warming, Stupid,” declared the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek.

The article said Hurricane Sandy should bring clarity to the climate change argument. It quotes Eric Pooley, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund, who used a baseball analogy to tie the storm and the science together.

“We can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.”

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who owns the magazine, and is leading the cleanup effort in his city followed the article with an endorsement of Obama because of his views on climate change.

So if the 1988 fires were the signal fire of climate change, Hurricane Sandy may be the loudspeaker. But even if a consensus on what to do about it is not ripe, the nations leaders are going to have to help people adapt to it.


Of Rocky's windmill tilts.


The earth is flat, right?

As flat as your head

however not nearly so empty.

Thanks for the insult....

Which you apparently felt is a worthy reply to my sarcastic evaluation of your post. I'm just so sorry to admit that I forgot how good pollution is for us.

Makes me want to throw toxic CFLs, HDTVs in a pit.


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Just curious

Does it ever concern you that virtually no climatologists or other scientists studying climate change and no national or international scientific organizations agree with you? I would think that if you can, you might think, gee willikers, no one but a few right wing nuts and industrial polluters agree with me, maybe, just maybe I am wrong? Or is your ego so grandiose that you think, I'm betting, with virtually no actual study of the subject, you know more than the world's scientists who work with this stuff every day?


I preferred reading the Bloomberg Businessweek post about NYC rats surviving the storm.

Hey Rock, it's BloombErg, with an "e". For a guy who copy/pastes much of his blog, I don't understand how you make so many errors... Well, really I do. It's still fun to point out these things though- skipping over your many other errors on this post too. R O C K.

Good Blog

Good blog. Ridiculous comment section.



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What if it's a ridiculous blog as well?

Form follows function.


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I have to agree with FO. The "forum follows the blog"- Ridiculous.

When Rock learns to write with commas, a complete keyboard, not in the passive voice, stops telling lies, uses less of his self-indulgent stories of 'I was there', and he puts down the jelly donuts it might get better.

Look at the trees democrats have wasted thru

printings of monies for QE and no economy....

What does the Queen have to do, have to do with it? OY!


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In response to "It's Global

In response to "It's Global Warming Stupid" the thinking people respond "it's just weather stupid."

We are now in a hurricane drought.

The last cat. 3 to hit land was Wilma in 2005. Alarmists, like yourself cling to every disaster, and attempt to shut down our carbon based ecomomy. It's obvious the enviromental extremists just want end capitalism and go to a central planned economy.

1954 and 1955 saw three huge storms, Carol, Hazel, and Diane. If these storms hit in 2012 each one would have cost double of what Sandy will cost. Also the 1944 storm that wiped out South Jersey had much higher winds.

Hurricane history has shown us that these storms have active decades and inactive decades. South Jersey was due to have an event like this, with many years of inactivity.

This one still cannot compare to Camille.


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Link to Bloomberg's Business Week article

is here, for those who want to check it out for yourselves:


Tom, you're allowing Rock to absorb into your thoughts.

It is not "Bloomberg's Business Week".

It's just Bloomberg Businessweek. No 's, no space.
Hey, I didn't name. I just read it and repeat it.

Thanks for the link though, my Google is killing me for using it too much.

Ha Ha Bloomberg. Another liberal that can't run a city.

New Yorkers eating out of dumpsters, rats run wild eating pizza. No help for Staten Island residents and generators for marathoners. Yes marathon No marathon. NYC cluster^^^^ underway. A truck loaded generator at the fuel terminal would have solved 70% of the problems.

The lame duck Socialist ex-prez. cold schoulder in December will be fun to watch. Bush and Brownie would be welcomed back. Enjoy, Mets fans.

Didn't it USED to be 'Business Week' before Bloomberg...

or was that another mag?


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Pimp2, we are so lucky to have you here

making these important, substantive, essential corrections. Without you, the volume of posts would be cut in half.

We're keeping poeple EMPLOYED, kids!

Remember the Seattle Post-Intellgencer?


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