Climate catastrophes like the Alberta floods have the potential to shatter political careers

No single extreme weather event can be linked to climate change.

However, when there are a series of unusual catastrophes, it raises questions about the impact that carbon-dioxide emissions are having on the planet.

This year, two of those disasters have occurred in areas represented by North America's most intransigient climate-change-denying politicians.

Devastating tornadoes turned a suburb of Oklahoma into kindling.

Ironically, Oklahoma senator James Inhofe has been called "the standard-bearer for climate contrarians in Congress" by New York Times energy blogger Justin Gillis.

Inhofe even wrote a book called The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Our Future. Not surprisingly, he's been the beneficiary of massive campaign donations over the years from the fossil-fuel industry.

The junior senator from Oklahoma, Republican Tom Coburn, is another climate-change dinosaur. He voted against factoring global warming into federal project planning and opposed starting implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

ANDREA ORELLANA ABREU ON INSTAGRAM

Calgary experiences dramatic flooding

Over the past 24 hours, massive floods have occurred in Alberta, which is Canada's centre of climate-change denial.

Approximately 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Calgary as river levels rose sharply after massive rainfall.

In the past, Calgary West Conservative MP Rob Anders—perhaps Canada's most right-wing parliamentarian—has characterized a carbon tax and cap-and-trade emissions trading as "socialist policies".

His boss, Prime Minister and Calgary Southwest MP Stephen Harper, has muzzled government scientists and refused to seriously address climate change.

With Harper leading the nation, Canada routinely wins the most Fossil of the Year awards at international climate conferences—prizes that Harper's environment minister, Peter Kent, says should be "worn with honour".

Politics of climate change

All it takes is for one massive climate catastrophe to turn an election.

Hurricane Sandy did the trick for Barack Obama. It shone a light on Republican Mitt Romney's climate-change denial in the days leading up to the last U.S. presidential election.

In Australia, massive fires in 2006 and 2007 spelled the end of the climate-change-denying John Howard's prime ministership.

It's starting to look like Harper—who has copied a Howard speech and Howard's foreign policy—could find his political career smashed for the same reason.

The reality is climate change is all about the math. When greenhouse-gas levels reach a certain threshold in the atmosphere, weird things start happening on Earth.

To deny that is to deny that one plus one equals two.

Most voters can easily figure that out when they see their homes and motor vehicles floating down a river.

Comments (34) Add New Comment
MarkFornataro
Amen.
63
61
Rating: +2
Living under a dark cloud
No climate change happening here says the PM. No worry over all those chemicals and coal burning getting that dirty tar sands to market helps bring on tears and floods. As even BC is under the weather as 6 months of rain turns into 12 months of the year. Old man Harper's climate denial ways have gone as far as shutting up Scientists which didn't work as climate change is biting at Alberta's heels. Living under a dark cloud is all the Dark Lord, Harper who has nothing else to offer. His own MPs call Harper the Dark Lord while Canadians call him their leader. But not for long, I want to see Nigel's cheque.
83
53
Rating: +30
Danielle
First off- my heart goes out to all those in Alberta, and worldwide who are dealing with environmental disasters.

I believe that climate change, while partially at fault of industrialized nations, is not all to blame on carbon emissions. Climate change is also cyclical and not just a random occurrence brought on by the westernized world and our ignorance and greed. However- that does not negate the necessity to reduce our carbon footprint (for lack of a better term) in the world we all live in today. Space is limited, resources are depleting, and our ever growing supposed needs are constantly increasing. This needs to be curbed.

However, I strongly believe that governmental decisions, viewpoints, stances and choices can be linked to an overwhelming urgency of natural disasters that are happening with more frequency around the world. Tarsands, fracking, mining, hydrodams, clear cuts…. I believe this statement sums up my frame of mind perfectly:

"By degrading forests, engineering rivers, filling in wetlands, and destabilizing the climate, we are unraveling the strands of a complex ecological safety net," said Senior Researcher and author of Unnatural Disasters Janet Abramovitz. "We have altered so many natural systems so dramatically, their ability to protect us from disturbances is greatly diminished."

http://www.worldwatch.org/human-actions-worsen-natural-disasters


68
59
Rating: +9
Paul Beckwith
Torrential rains in some regions are causing massive floods while in other locales record droughts are occurring with higher frequency and severity and areal extent around the globe. Global food production is being hit hard, leading to large price increases and political instability. Areas under drought are experiencing numerous massive forest fires of incredible ferocity. The statistics of extreme weather events has changed for the worst due to changes in the location, speed, and waviness of the jet streams which guide weather patterns and separate cold and dry northern air from warm and moist southern air. The jet streams have changed since the equator to north-pole temperature difference has decreased due to the huge temperature rise in the Arctic. The huge temperature rise in the Arctic is due to a collapse in the area of highly reflective snow and ice, which is caused by melting. The melting is from warming from the increase of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning. The Arctic sea ice and spring snow cover will vanish within a few years and the weather extremes will increase at least 10x. - Paul Beckwith, June 20th, 2013

What can you do? Go talk to you politicians and friends about climate change and the need to slash fossil fuel emissions. Immediately. Cut and paste my comments above and post them on facebook, send them to newspapers, and educate yourself on the science behind all the above linkages. Leave my name on or take it off and plagiarize all you want, just get this knowledge out there...

From an unmuzzled climate scientist,
Paul Beckwith
96
41
Rating: +55
Brett
I live in Alberta. I have families and friends who are directly affected by this disaster.

I'm also a left-winger at odds with everything the CPC stands for, including their stance on climate change.

But you know what the citizens of Alberta don't need right now? Political schadenfreude. Pissy I-told-you-so's. An attempt to turn this into yet another political football.

Of course, if you had any connection to this province you probably wouldn't be callously attempting to score political points off the back of a massive human tragedy.

But nice work showing us all that it isn't just the right wing stereotypes that hold sole dominion over the image of the heartless politico who holds winning above human decency.
Rating: -43
Very Original Charlie.
Civilizations have been using floods as a sign of the impending apocalypse for thousands of years. It's good to see Charlie is following a time, tested and true method of fear mongering. At least he added his own little topping of smugness for originality.

Rating: -53
Evan Allen
I'm sorry but climate change is an evolution of the planet, we had an ice age didn't we?. Mix rain with melted snow from the mountains you get floods. Global warming was created to tax you, to make money off you. As preached in Agenda 21. Most scientist who speak the truth are shut up by money or by force. "Climate Change", the new term as Global Warming was outed as a scam so they just changed the name to what it really is. Scientist now tell us the GMO is good for you, Scientists are altering nature, Scientists are messing with Geo Engineering. Just got test any water source to see the unnatural levels of Iron in the waters. Food drought is not by climate change, it's Monsanto's GMO crop disasters, putting farmers out of business, forcing thousands to suicide every month. The seeds are designed to die after one harvest, they do not do what they were promised. These seeds without expensive irrigation and ridiculous amounts of pesticides just die. These pesticides also are killing off the bee population. Without bees, crops do not get pollinated. Without bees your food supply dies. People starve all over the world, not from lack of food in the world, but because they do not have access to it, or they can not afford it. Oklahoma has tornadoes every year. It's in Tornado Alley since 1950 Oklahoma has had 3472 of them. Extreme weather has always happened, we are just more aware of it due to what the media tells you and social networking. You build along the coast - You take your chances with tsunamis, usually brought on by earth quakes not Climate Change. You build a city along a river, when the river floods, so does your city. It's the chance you take. I'm still trying to figure out why Vegas winters are becoming colder and longer.. Must be getting hotter.. No. Perhaps the earth's access has shifted slightly, this would bring change. Yeah I'm all for not pumping carbon into the atmosphere. But Scientists trying to change Nature - Nature will fight you back and win. As for politicians. You know what really changes an election is having the federal courts find people guilty of election fraud and rigging like they did with the Conservatives and Steven Harpers election. Can't wait for the Matt Damon's Anti Fracking movie with funding from the middle east film company Image Nation Abu Dhabi. The Rain clouds are trapped by wind conditions, so moving very slow.
Rating: -57
Calgary Sandy
I live in Calgary. I was born in Calgary. My great grandparents and all their friends and families homesteaded in Alberta in late 1800s. I am a green socialist. So are my friends and my son. While many people in Alberta are dangerous to the survival of life itself not everyone is. Alberta had a very good reputation on environmentalism until recently. Spitting abuse at the Premier and the oil industry is fair. Dumping all that hate on the citizens will not change anything other than alienate those who are on the side of the planet. Generalizations are just bigotry.
88
87
Rating: +1
Evan
Climate Change is a natural evolution of the planet. We had an ice age did we not? Scientist have been preaching Gloabl Warming since the introduction of Agenda 21, look it up. Global Warming was proven a scam to tax the hell out of you. Hence why they call it Climate Change now. Scientist are paid for their backers interests, real Scientists who speak the truth are shut up with money or force. Scientists are also messing with 85% of the worlds food supply. Altering and mixing gene pools. Feeding the population ingredients meant to kill insects, create cancers, autism and many other diseases which never existed before the introduction of GMO foods in this world. People are not starving, there is no shortage of food, there is more than double for the world. People just don't have access to it, or can not afford it. Yes food production is going down, but not from drought, but from Monsanto's GE seeds which die after 1 harvest. Then require way more water than natural seeds, so farmers need new expensive irrigation systems, then they find out they must use a ridiculous amount of pesticides on their crops. This has bankrupted many farmers causing up to 1300 suicides a month in some countries. Killing off the bee population while they are at it which bee's are vital to pollination of crops. Without bee's no more food, yet.. we still spray the world's food supply in hasmat suits. Fracking - I can't wait to see the Matt Damon's anti-fracking film funded by Image Nation Abu Dahabi. We will be initiated with how bad fracking is based on the middle eastern oil companies protecting their oil production - hence staying reliant on their oil. As for this affecting politicians. Well how about the fact that the federal courts found the Harper Government guilty of conducting voter fraud by telling opposition voters that their voting station was moved to another location in which they were not. You would think that might effect a political career.
40
99
Rating: -59
Tom
Dear sweet Jesus, thank you. Prayers are answered, action is taken! Ye-es!
38
54
Rating: -16
Dwight Thomson
Check paleo geology for CO2 levels for the last 600 million years they are still at their lowest levels possible to let life continue plants at 200 parts are stressed at 150 they die which soon takes out the rest of the planets life optimum for green plants is 1200 parts/million ask any greenhouse producer
39
87
Rating: -48
Niche Geek
Evan,

Genetic Engineering started in the 1970s. We've found dinosaur fossils with cancer and Autism was defined in 1938 and reasonably well described in the 1700s. Which GMO travelled back in time?
61
62
Rating: -1
Dana Cameron
Given that large numbers of human deaths can now be tied to these ever more numerous and destructive weather events. Perhaps we are close to where it is possible to start trials for the deniers and politicians on grounds of crimes against humanity.
66
56
Rating: +10
Gypsy
I know I should feel bad for Alberta, but I simply can't. They are forcing two pipeline on BC which will dramatically increase the speed and rate of global climate change.

A message from the Tool song Aenima to all the Tar Sands boosters in Alberta:


One great big festering neon distraction,
I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.

Learn to swim.
65
58
Rating: +7
Theo Collins
They surveyed 12000 peer-reviewed scientific papers on the current bout of climate change and found that only 1% denied the connection with fossil fuels. That makes climate change denial (including denial of the human connection) very much a fringe view in science.
Statements about climate having changed before make about as much sense as saying, when someone died of a gunshot wound, that people have died before. There is always a cause. Scientists understand that cause. Inevitably CO2 is involved as a contributing factor, even if the trigger is Milankovitch cycles, as with the ice ages.
84
58
Rating: +26
Bahahahaha
That was the biggest pile of enviro-nutter fearmongering I have seen in a long time.
Well done Charlie - you get this weeks green star.
Rating: -69
Looney Canuck
One thing that people who dismiss climate change don't get, because the people who represent the consensus aren't saying it clearly, is that we are not trying to change nature, but to just stop contributing CO2 to it.
62
48
Rating: +14
Alibaba
This article seems to be painting all Albertans with an extremely judgemental brush. It is disappointing to read such a misanthropic take on suffering that your neighbours are experiencing just across the border. We are everyday people, just doing our best to survive. Many of the people affected by this disaster have lost everything, and your article chooses to associate Stephen Harper, the oil industry, and all Albertans as one big group of climate change denying idiots.
I have to be honest, your snide little comment about putting 1 plus 1 together whilst watching their cars, homes and lives destroyed is smug, misanthropic and wholly misled. Should I start bashing all Vancouverites as self serving, skinny pant wearing hipsters who think that they are holier than though. You, Mr. Charlie Smith are a smug, judgemental prick and I hope that your house falls into the fault-line your Vancouver loft is built on when the big one comes. Fuck you
41
73
Rating: -32
I am so sorry Alberta
Especially for its people who are also family and friends, all my love. Wishing I could be more help and God's speed to assist Alberta's with their plight.
54
35
Rating: +19
K Doucette
Don't you think Harper looks tired?
55
34
Rating: +21

Pages

Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.