Deconstructing Sandy

Yesterday, I got to have a great conversation on Minnesota Public Radio's The Daily Circuit. Host Tom Webber and I spent a good 45 minutes talking about Hurricane Sandy, climate change, and why it's so hard to talk about the connections between the two in an easily digestible, sound-bite format. In the meantime, he might have gotten some good sound bites out of me.


  1. It’s like accidents and SUVs
    SUVs don’t necessarily cause accidents, but if one hits you it’s a lot worse than if a regular car hits you.

    There , how’s that ?

    I’d listen to the podcast if I had sound on this computer , but I don’t so if this is a instance of RTFA syndrome, I apologize.

  2. Very enjoyable conversation.  Was thinking about the problem of how the complexity of climate change makes it difficult to point to any one event (like Sandy) and say “There: climate change.”  (Apologies for belaboring the obvious below; just thinking out loud and throwing it out there for someone’s use.)

    It seems like the basic problem is that climate change can only be “known” as a statistical phenomenon; any single weather event only relates to climate change as part of a statistical aggregate.

    In addition to Maggie’s analogy of “giving directions” vs. “describing the house,” I’d suggest a simpler one, though it’s not perfect: seasonal change.  We’ll get a cold day in early September and say, “Aha, fall is here” — and then be treated to another week of balmy weather.  But once that cold day is added to the statistical aggregate, it can be seen to be part of the trend toward colder temperates.  Similarly, all the various phenomena that “go with” or are entailed by climate change relate to it in the same way: as part of the overall statistics.

    Everyone who lives in a seasonal climate learns from infancy the diffuse, “general trend” quality of seasonal change.  Seems like this universally understood experience could be put to good use as an analogy to help explain specific weather events in relation to climate change.

  3. Debating climate change is like debating gravity. It simply is a fact of life. We simply need to deal with the costs of dealing with that fact. The home that I grew up in will not survive a rise in sea level. Can we deal with that? I don’t have the answer. But I’d like to stop debate the question and start looking for answers. Enough is enough. 

  4. I wish I could share in the ‘Glad Tidings’. I really do.
    I wish I could shout Huzzanah! and sing Ave Maria and really mean it.
    I wish I could run through the streets, weeping, ‘Green Jebeezus is Born!

    But I can’t. None of us will ever hear Him. Green Jebeezus was born a Mute.
    Oh, yes, His acolytes will recite the scrolls of Gore in his Temples, and
    eager Mullahs and lordly Ayatollahs will somberly cipher over their gray
    tree rings and frozen ice cores, pondering vestigial molar teeth of extinct
    sharp-snouted day frogs in sleepless night to announce to all His Runic Word.

    ‘Green Jebeezus is Born, Let Us Burn Our Food, and All Mankind is Saved!

    I think Green Jebeezus could speak in protest to their Plan, if He wanted to,
    but He won’t. He knows we seek Him only for His corpse, for His death, for
    His Golden Chalice of Hope, and His dry mummy in a glass sarcophagus,
    rotting evanescent in storage in some natural history museum in Brussels.
    like hoar frost melting on an exposed mammoth carcass, ravaged by wolves.

    We can’t wait for His youth, for His wilderness wanderings, for His First Sermon.
    We are Past The TIpping Point™. The Science is Settled™. We want His Hope~!
    We NEED It~! We will have to pay for His GCH, because we emit so many GHGs.

    We are all Sinners, may Green Jebeezus forgive us. We have eaten of the Apple
    of Oil and Gas, and so obtained the Knowledge of Progress and Penury. It was
    only a century ago that we emerged, hayseed ragged and shoeless, into the Final Act
    of the Second Millenium, when Oil Blew Gold Dust across the American landscape,
    and Mankind fell under its Spell of Plenty. By WW2, in Atoms Fall, We Sinned All~!

    Now we are engaged in Global Oilmaggettin’, and Green Jebeezus Has Returned~!!
    Hozzanah~! Huzzah~!! A Penance~! Another 100,000 square miles of tropical rainforest
    logged off in His Name, ‘AGW’, growing five BILLION bushels of food to sacrifice at the
    smoldering altars of His Biofuels~! Are we not Saved, that we Burn Our Own Food~!?

    Oh, yey, verily, I say unto you, we cannot wait for convincing proof~! The Time is Past,
    The Mute Corpse of Green Jebeezus commands us from the grave,:”Let’s Roll~!” We must
    Convert the Heathen~! We must Silence the Deniers~! We must … have … Our Sacrifices~!

    Together we must build a Church of Carbon soaring to the Heavens, stoking its sacrificial fires
    with ever more Food~! Are the G-ds not Hungry Too? Do They Not Demand Our Sacrifice~!?
    All are welcome~! Come into the Glowing Flames~! That is your Hope and Your Salvation~!

    All else is just the ceaseless winds, prowling from pole to pole, moaning for more corpses.

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