Katrina’s Real Name
Gelbspan | August 30, 2005
THE HURRICANE that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the
National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.
When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause was
When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia and cut
power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the United Kingdom,
the driver was global warming.
When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the Missouri
River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the reason was global
In July, when the worst drought on record triggered wildfires in Spain and
Portugal and left water levels in France at their lowest in 30 years, the
explanation was global warming.
When a lethal heat wave in Arizona kept temperatures above 110 degrees and
killed more than 20 people in one week, the culprit was global warming.
And when the Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai) received 37 inches of rain in
one day -- killing 1,000 people and disrupting the lives of 20 million
others -- the villain was global warming.
As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense
downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.
Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off
south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the
relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.
The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.
Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane
Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars
to keep the public in doubt about the issue.
The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to
cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the
survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.
In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal industry
had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were public dissenters
on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more than
$13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations and
In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory yet
when President George W. Bush was elected president -- and subsequently took
suggestions from the industry for his climate and energy policies.
As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we have
already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change.
Against this background, the ignorance of the American public about global
warming stands out as an indictment of the US media.
When the US press has bothered to cover the subject of global warming, it
has focused almost exclusively on its political and diplomatic aspects and
not on what the warming is doing to our agriculture, water supplies, plant
and animal life, public health, and weather.
For years, the fossil fuel industry has lobbied the media to accord the same
weight to a handful of global warming skeptics that it accords the findings
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- more than 2,000
scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations.
Today, with the science having become even more robust -- and the impacts as
visible as the megastorm that covered much of the Gulf of Mexico -- the
press bears a share of the guilt for our self-induced destruction with the
oil and coal industries.
As a Bostonian, I am afraid that the coming winter will -- like last winter
-- be unusually short and devastatingly severe. At the beginning of 2005, a
deadly ice storm knocked out power to thousands of people in New England and
dropped a record-setting 42.2 inches of snow on Boston.
The conventional name of the month was January. Its real name is global
Ross Gelbspan is author of ''The Heat Is On" and ''Boiling Point."
C Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
Wonderful and very important article. Thank you...and
now my say:
If you are a realistic person, you know that some reporters and some ridiculed
radio personalities [such as Art Bell, a liberal, of course] have released and offered
to their readers and listeners this information for years. I am alone, I have no desire
to move to the equatorial area of the Earth. My family likes to label me an hysteric
when I address subjects like this.
These weather changes are cyclical and swift. We know this from the animals, humans
and plants found preserved in the now melting ice fields at both the North and South Poles.
I already keep the winter indoor heat at 62 degrees, which is very cold and very painful to us
osteo-arthritics---especially on a windy day when the heat is just blown out of the house. In the
summer, especially this one, I refuse to use air conditioners as my electric bills [provided by
NStar aka ConEd] are now over $125. dollars a month.
My one luxury is a cool shower which I take frequently. My cost for oil this winter--compared to
1960 @ $125. a season--will be no doubt not be within my ability to pay. The car, the cheapest
unleaded, is now $3.12 a gallon (today). I want to see my husband and mother in a nursing home
more than once a week, but I have to plan carefully when to do this so I can combine food shopping
and one of many medical appointments. Speaking of medicine, I have no coverage for it; the Medicare
plan is a farce with its $3,600. per annum deductible. I need to take 20 medications a day, including
insulin, anti-pain and an anti-agoraphobic, just to stay alive.
Katrina's real name may be Global Warming to you.....to me it is KILLER, for surely I, and many, many
other people will soon be dead. President Bush appears to have no interest in the future of the country
or her citizens. Lots of luck everyone. Treasure your moments with your loved ones......it's September.
With love, Carole Shore