Heat and Drought

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert documents this summer’s extreme climate changes—particularly heat and drought—and looks at their dire consequences.


Elizabeth Kolbert

Comments [19]

Henry from Manhattan

joe said:
"I wish Mr. Lopate would ask... where the empirical evidence is that the causes of climate shift are definitively man-made."

Here, let me Google that for you...

First hit

If that empirical evidence is not good enough to convince you (yet convinces intelligent scientists within their field of expertise of climate science), you need to explain what sort of evidence you would consider valid.

Also, whose expertise do you feel that we should weigh more? The climate scientists or some person commenting on the Internet. Note, this isn't an argument from authority, it's a matter of weighing probabilities as to who is more informed on the subject.

Jul. 23 2012 04:30 PM

Whether one acknowledges climate change or not, the corollaries made between climate and man-made activity are not based in empirical evidence. They are assumptions based on observed data correlated into hypotheses by intelligent people but those good intentions do not necessarily good science make.
There is the political fear that not offering the public a so called, 'tangible' cause will result in a lack of support for good environmental policy. But as the comments on this page exemplify, making non-empirical corrolations is a double edged sword which can engender skepticism rather than support.
The sad status quo is that we have to have reasons to practice good environmental policy.

Jul. 23 2012 02:57 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I don't see a scenario that this can work out well. At MIT they've found perhaps an inexpensive way to desalinate water, that would be a huge step forward.

Jul. 23 2012 02:55 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Amy from Manhattan

You're not reading what I'm saying. I'm not arguing there's no climate change - I'm criticizing the way it's being talked about on this show.

People are hard enough to convince as it is. Don't make them even more unlikely to believe you by making stupid statements equating a couple hot summers (THIS is what was said on the radio, not what you wrote) with climate change. As science from nyc pointed out - climate is measured over decades, not 2 summers.

Jul. 23 2012 02:17 PM
Amy from Manhattan

David, it's not just this summer's record-breaking temperatures. The overall proportion of record-breaking high temperatures to record-breaking cold temperatures is way up (don't remember the exact no. right now, something like 8:1) over the last several years, & just about everything the climate models have predicted has started to happen, much of it sooner & more severely than predicted--partly because those models were constructed conservatively to forestall criticism from climate disruption deniers. If the current drought & heat are put into the wider context, which Ms. Kolbert did, they can be evidence of global climate disruption.

Jul. 23 2012 02:05 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ science from nyc

Ah - but that is NOT what is being said on this program.

People sound like idiots when they take a couple of summers, or even worse, a single bad storm & say it proves global warming.

And the worst statement of all - this is the hottest it's ever been - WRONG. Not even correct to say hottest in historical times.

These kinds of statements don't advance the discussion.

Jul. 23 2012 01:59 PM
clark from nj

I just traveled through southwest WY & West Colorado last week. They all complain about drought but there is green lawns and verges everywhere. Here in the east we have limited use. I didn't see it there.

Jul. 23 2012 01:57 PM
Amy from Manhattan

There's no such thing as "getting rid of the water" from fracking (or other polluting processes. The water, w/its chemicals, goes somewhere & has effects on the environment where it ends up.

Jul. 23 2012 01:56 PM
Ed from Larchmont

It's an old tradition that when the weather becomes disturbed, that's the time to worry.

Jul. 23 2012 01:55 PM
science from nyc

RE: David from Fredericksburg, VA
Look at the SCIENCE. There has been a PATTERN over MANY YEARS (otherwise known as decades) that "suggests" (to put it mildly) that the planet is heating up in areas that previously were not hot - ie. ARCTIC.
Scientists are not casual enough to suggest that a few hot winters and a few hot summers "here and there" are "climate changing."

Jul. 23 2012 01:53 PM
Bobby G from East Village

As far as fracking is concerned, its a simple choice: which resource is more valuable, the gas or the water? There's no fracking without despoiling the water.

Jul. 23 2012 01:53 PM

APOLOGIES! Ms. Kolbert!

Jul. 23 2012 01:53 PM

I am staunchly for strong environmental policy and the signs of climate shift are clear.
But beyond the theories of good scientists, I wish Mr. Lopate would ask Ms. Ross where the empirical evidence is that the causes of climate shift are definitively man-made.

Jul. 23 2012 01:49 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

You're playing right into the hands of deniers when you run around like chicken little screaming climate change! climate change! because of this extreme weather.

An extremely hot summer & even a severe (record breaking) drought does not a climate make.

It's as stupid as the deniers saying, what global warming? when we had a few cold winters and springs.

Jul. 23 2012 01:45 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Ce sera sera. Regardless of the facts, not really much we can do about it in the short run. Drought, famine, disease, etc., will take its toll, and a third of the people will perish, and that will reduce fossil fuel consumption, and maybe the climate will stabilize. If not, we'll all roast to death. Can't fight that BIOTCH mother nature once she gets really mad.

Jul. 23 2012 01:43 PM
Ed from Larchmont

It's all too real, indeed.

Jul. 23 2012 01:30 PM
Ed from Larchmont

One of the last words of Jesus on the cross was 'I thirst'.

Jul. 23 2012 01:27 PM
Capt. D.C. Anderson from Westchester, NY

I have been a consultant to the United Nations (UNCTAD) and lectured around the world, including a talk on energy conservation given to the Organization of Nonaligned Nations in Havana, Cuba. I was the first person in the world to put auxiliary wind propulsion on modern merchant ships (1985/86). In 1995 I predicted 1) that climate change could not be stopped my man and 2) the problem of a warming planet would first be felt in food supplies/prices resulting from excess heat. In 2000 I had a cable program called Captain’s Anderson’s Global Show. Last month I released a book called The Survivor's Manifest in which I describe what will happen as a result of climate change, peak oil, resource depletion and population. But, unlike other books, I also suggest how each and every one of us can easily influence the decision making process in Washington thereby influencing what happens around the world. I would like the opportunity to ask Ms Kolbert a question.

Jul. 23 2012 01:04 PM
listener from nyc

as long people continue to "slow-cook" with their air conditioners I don't think any amount of alarm ringing is going to get results from people who vote their elected officials into office.

Jul. 23 2012 08:52 AM

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