The devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan is both staggering in scope and heart breaking. At least 10,000 people have been killed, while millions have been displaced. Food and water is in short supply. There have been reports of wide-spread looting and shell-shocked survivors staggering across a devastated landscape “like zombies”.
There is little point in engaging in the sterile debate over whether or not to attribute this monster storm to climate change. Studies predict storms will become stronger as the globe warms:
“…future projections based on theory and high-resolution dynamical models consistently indicate that greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2–11% by 2100. Existing modelling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6–34%. Balanced against this, higher resolution modelling studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km of the storm centre…” – Tropical cyclones and climate change, Nature Geoscience 3, 157 – 163 (2010)
Storms like Haiyan are what we can expect.
To those denying the seriousness of climate change, attempts to link the events in the Philippines with the well understood science are anathema. Apparently drawing a connection between unprecedented weather extremes and climate change is “insensitive” to the victims and politicises human tragedy.
Thus in typical fashion, the Murdoch owned Herald Sun (home to arch denier Andrew Bolt) rails against anyone who dares suggest there is a connection:
First it was Greens MP Adam Bandt who foolishly tried to somehow make Prime Minister Tony Abbott responsible — because of his government’s climate change policy — for the recent bushfire tragedy in New South Wales.
Now, as the Herald Sun reveals today, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has drawn a link between the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the Federal Government’s plans to axe the carbon tax.
“You’ve got record storms in the Philippines and now you’ve got record stupidity from Tony Abbott, who’s basically going to unwind some of the world’s most ambitious and important climate change legislation,” Di Natale told the Herald Sun’s Phillip Hudson.
He then accused Mr Abbott of making no sense at all by taking an anti-science stance on climate change.
What is really stupid and makes no sense is this repeated use by the Greens of death and destruction to try to gain political advantage.
It is to be hoped Australians of all political persuasions see this unsavoury tactic for what it is — cheap opportunism of the sort to be deplored.
Bandt was wrong to make the link last month and Di Natale was misguided in following Bandt’s lead yesterday.
They both deserve our widespread condemnation for their ridiculously insensitive and hurtful statements.
Clearly the Greens are ideologues who will use any human tragedy, no matter how large the loss of life and property, for their own selfish political ends.
To silence those making a connection is a political act. The very last thing sceptics want is the public drawing connections between extreme weather events, climate change and the inadequecy of Tony Abbott’s laughable “direct action plan” (or more broad scale policy failures).
Perhaps the editor of the Herald Sun should pay attention to the words just spoken by the Philippine representative, Yeb Sano, at the latest round of climate change negotiations in Warsaw:
To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of you armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, and the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce. Not to forget the massive hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard of North America. And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now.
Sano wept as he described the devastation.
He also made clear the link between climate change and Haiyan:
“The science has given us a picture that has become much more in focus. The IPCC report on climate change and extreme events underscored the risks associated with changes in the patterns as well as frequency of extreme weather events. Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the Earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.”
Sano pleads for the world to “end the madness”:
“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.”
We await the condemnation of Sano by the editors of the Herald Sun for making the link between climate change and the deaths of tens of thousands of his fellow citizens.
Let them call Mr. Sano an oppurtunist for begging the world to take serious action.
Or perhaps the editors of the Herald Sun should take up Mr. Sano’s invitation and get out of their ivory tower and see first hand the devastating impacts of climate change.