Here are a couple of news items involving climate change, lest you permit that important political, economic, and environmental topic to stray off your personal radar screen.
Oh come now, surely tornadoes like the batch that killed around 50 Americans yesterday have nothing to do with climate change? Well, think about it. Tornadoes, like hurricanes, are atmospheric disturbances that involve heat. The most dangerous time period in the USA for tornadoes is the Spring, when a rush of hot air from the Gulf of Mexico can meet colder air from the north with the result of tremendous turbulence. Yesterday's event was fairly typical, except that it was way too early in the year.
The Feb. 5 killer tornadoes - at least the 15th deadliest U.S. outbreak on record - had all the earmarks of a batch of twisters usually seen in March, said several meteorologists.
It was farther north than most February tornadoes and stronger, said Joseph Schaefer, director of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.
Part of the explanation is record warmth. It was 84 degrees in Oklahoma before the storm front moved through on its path of destruction. On Tuesday, 97 weather stations broke or tied records in Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky - the hardest-hit states. Sure, any meteorologist will tell you that stringing those facts together will not prove that climate change killed fifty people the day before yesterday. But I don't pay much attention to meteorologists, I am more of a climatology fan.
A research study has concluded that corn based ethanol is not a valuable tool in the fight to combat global warming. On the contrary, ethanol from corn is actually accelerating global warming. The study included co-authors affiliated with Iowa State University, the Woods Hole Research Center and the Agricultural Conservation Economics. It was supported by a grant from NASA's Terrestrial Ecology Program, and by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Searchinger, in addition to his affiliation with Princeton, is a fellow at the Washington-based German Marshall Fund of the United States. You can see why George W. Bush hates NASA so much and loves to get guys to re-write their work- because those NASA guys keep making trouble for him!
The study said that after taking into account expected worldwide land-use changes, corn-based ethanol, instead of reducing greenhouse gases by 20 percent, will increases it by 93 percent compared to using gasoline over a 30-year period. Biofuels from switchgrass, if they replace croplands and other carbon-absorbing lands, would result in 50 percent more greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers concluded. But switchgrass is an experimental ethanol source. commercially speaking, it pretty much all comes from corn here in the USA.
I guess that it's just a coincidence that the one thing that George W. Bush decided to do about climate change within the time period of his Presidency ends up making it worse. No, actually it's not really a coincidence, because with George W. Bush it was never about fighting climate change.
Good News on Climate Change
Sorry, just kidding, there isn't any.