Could it be that the destruction wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may finally change some Republican minds about global warming? Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, hopes so:
"The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming," Lawton told the newspaper in an interview.
"If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation," said Lawton.
It has become crystal clear in recent years that the trend in the United States is away from scientific knowledge and the debate over global warming is no exception. Conservative business leaders, along with the Republican party they own, have only recently begun to admit that global warming even exists. However, they largely still refuse to acknowledge the role of industrial pollution in exacerbating the problem.
The most frightening part is that Rita and Katrina may be just a taste of things to come. Sir John Lawton again:
Lawton said hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea.
"Increasingly it looks like a smoking gun," he said.
"It's a fair conclusion to draw that global warming, caused to a substantial extent by people, is driving increased sea surface temperatures and increasing the violence of hurricanes."
How much further storm-related damage can the United States withstand? We are only mid-way through the 2005 hurricane season and the chance for at least one more storm is quite significant. How can the U.S. economy, already weakened by the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration and the disastrous war in Iraq, withstand another major blow to its infrastructure?
I don't know the answer to these questions but I do know that they are questions to which the Bush Administration will likely have to find some answers and soon.
I am not overwhelmed with confidence...
[From the Progressive Bloggers Union]