— The Erimtan Angle —

The California-based Post Carbon Institute was founded a decade ago, in 2003, and ‘is leading the transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world . . . Post Carbon Institute provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, environmental, and equity crises that define the 21st century. [Post Carbon Institute] envision[s] a world of resilient communities and re-localized economies that thrive within ecological bounds’.[1]  So far, so good. For example, here is a little something the Post Carbon Institute did back in 2010: ‘Fossil fuels have powered human growth and ingenuity for centuries. Now that we’re reaching the end of cheap and abundant oil and coal supplies, we’re in for an exciting ride. While there’s a real risk that we’ll fall off a cliff, there’s still time to control our transition to a post-carbon future’.[2]

A worded on the organisation’s dedicated website: “Post Carbon Institute offers concrete, tangible resources that help individuals and communities grow their resilience, take appropriate action, and build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future … for all”.[3]

It would stand to reason to assume that, by now, a strong scientific consensus as well as growing public awareness should have led to a world where anthropogenic climate change, as expressed in increasing amounts of greenhouse gases causing global climate fluctuations, in turn leading to catastrophic weather events, like hurricanes and typhoons. Still, the sceptics’ lobby is hard at work reassuring humanity that all’s well that ends well. The respected Christian Science Monitor’s staff writer Dan Murphy even published a piece entitled “Is global warming generating storms like Typhoon Haiyan?” recently. Murphy starts off by asking, “So global warming is causing stronger, more frequent storms right?” and answering “Wrong. At least, as far as anyone can make out, there’s no evidence of that yet. [‘]Historical Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls[‘], an article in the July 2012 Journal of Climate, argues that no evidence yet exists that climate change is to blame for more dangerous tropical cyclones – the generic name for hurricanes and typhoons. The authors constructed a database of hurricane-strength landfalls of tropical cyclones over the years, but found that ‘The analysis does not indicate significant long-period global or individual basin trends in the frequency or intensity of landfalling (tropical cyclones) of minor or major hurricane strength’. In other words, no consistent pattern, and no evidence that storms are growing stronger or more destructive globally. Why more damage? Because more people are living in flood plains and near the coast and building more things there. Also, there’s a lot more of us around today: In 1960, the planet held 3 billion people. Today, it’s more than 7 billion”.[4]  Murphy then concedes that this “is not to say that a warmer climate won’t lead to more powerful and damaging tropical cyclones. Warm surface ocean temperatures are linked to stronger cyclones. But it’s just that it doesn’t appear to have done so yet. While the conventional wisdom on this often feels driven by people seeking to use to the latest storm headline to push back on global-warming denialists, the ends still don’t justify the misuse-of-information means”.[5]

Murphy does present a reasonable and cogent argument, but goes on to say that the present evidence does not “suggest [that] a warmer climate isn’t a threat – or won’t very clearly threaten more lives and livelihoods when powerful storms strike land. Rising sea-levels will make more and more places inhabited by people flood prone – which means more devastating storm surges . . . [but] Haiyan isn’t provably a result of a warmer planet. Nor is there yet strong evidence that global storms are more destructive”.[6]  Instead the evidence suggest that more people are nowadays living in harm’s way, which is equally, if not even more, worrying trend. In view of the projections regarding global population increase, the future does appear to look bleak, even if, as yet, climate change can not be directly blamed for current extreme weather events threatening human lives across the planet.

[1] “about” Post Carbon Institute. http://www.postcarbon.org/about.

[2] Published on 8 November 2010.

[3] “building resilience” Post Carbon Institute. http://www.postcarbon.org/approach/strategies.

[4] Dan Murphy, “Is global warming generating storms like Typhoon Haiyan?” Christian Science Monitor (21 November 2013). http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/Backchannels/2013/1112/Is-global-warming-generating-storms-like-Typhoon-Haiyan-video.

[5] Dan Murphy, “Is global warming generating storms like Typhoon Haiyan?”.

[6] Dan Murphy, “Is global warming generating storms like Typhoon Haiyan?”.

Comments on: "Fossil Fuels, Typhoons & Humanity: Haiyan or Not???" (2)

  1. sitanbul said:

    Here is Al Jazeera reporting on the impact of climate change (13 Nov 2013).

  2. Looking for ahead of time to reading extra from you in a while!? I’m usually to blogging and i genuinely respect your content.

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