Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back on the agenda?

As we enjoy another pleasant day here in California much of the North East of the country is being pounded by superstorm Sandy. Will this put climate change back on the agenda?

The problem seems to be the complex nature of climate change. It's very hard to say that climate change caused this storm.

George Lakoff is trying to reframe the debate by introducing the term systemic causation: Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy.

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy -- and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let's say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.

Fox News (what? I'm being fair and balanced) goes with the more predictable:  Did global warming cause Sandy? Boulder scientist says ‘not entirely’

Broome asked if global warming could have been one of those elements. To say that might be a stretch, Weber said.

“We’re going to have to study this for a long time,” Weber said. “Global warming could have factored into this, but there are a lot more factors in play – the atmosphere and ground cover, to name a few.”

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