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Entries tagged "extreme weather"

This Week in OtherWords: After the Superstorm

November 7, 2012 ·

As authorities in the Northeast order new evacuations and the airlines cancel hundreds of flights in anticipation of another fierce storm, OtherWords is taking stock of the many ways in which Sandy may prove a teachable moment.

Daphne Wysham and John Talberth show how this latest bout of extreme weather exposes the shortcomings of relying on GDP to measure economic progress. William A. Collins, one of the 8.5 million people who lost power last week, asks whether Mother Nature was disciplining Wall Street for its dirty-energy finance. Michael Brune, who grew up in one of New Jersey's hardest-hit towns, calls for bigger investments in clean energy. Ryan Alexander calls for a more responsible approach to the nation's flood insurance system. And Khalil Bendib's cartoon can accompany any of these commentaries.

Be sure to visit the OtherWords blog, where many of our writers are parsing the elections. And please subscribe to our weekly newsletter if you haven't signed up yet.

  1. How Sandy Reveals the GDP's Twisted Logic / John Talberth and Daphne Wysham
    Extreme weather doesn't boost the economy.
  2. Hurricane Sandy's Wakeup Call / Michael Brune
    Sandy is only the latest and most devastating incident in a pattern of extreme weather that's become impossible to ignore.
  3.  Social Security: It Ain't Broke / Elizabeth Rose
    It's a basic part of what makes America run, like our national highway system.
  4. Rebuilding Resilience / Ryan Alexander
    We have to stop subsidizing people to live in harm's way.
  5.  The Invisible Hand Won't Stop Inequality in Its Tracks / Sam Pizzigati
    We'll have more economic and climate disasters on Sandy's scale unless our political systems intervene.
  6. Why the Chicken Crossed the Road / Jim Hightower
    Factory farms are animal concentration camps.
  7. Shivering in the Land of Climate Denial / William A. Collins
    If Wall Street doesn't get Mother Nature's hint, it will become the entire world's tragedy.
  8. Sandy Trumps Romney's Climate Joke / Khalil Bendib Cartoon

  9. Sandy Trumps Romney's Climate Joke, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib 
Durban Diary: UN Summit's Stormy Backdrop

November 29, 2011 ·

On Sunday night, as I met with colleagues from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America to prepare for the UN climate summit, the unseasonably blustery evening went from windy to rainy to a huge downpour.

It was a perfect illustration of why we were in Durban, South Africa. Scientists are finding increasing evidence that climate change is behind the recent surge in extreme weather. By the time we ran (literally) down the block for dinner the rain was hard enough to soak us in spite of raincoats and umbrellas.

There's a stormy backdrop as delegates from around the world prepare to discuss the future of the world. Photo by UNClimateChange.We woke Monday morning to news that the violent storm had killed eight people in Durban and neighboring Pietermaritzburg, and destroyed scores of houses. The security guards that checked our badges at the door reported that local farmers' crops were ruined. It was the second deadly deluge in the KwaZulu-Natal province in less than two weeks.

UN climate scientists recently predicted that extreme weather — heavier rainfall, more floods, stronger cyclones, more landslides and, ironically, more frequent serious droughts — will increase as we continue to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to rise.

This is a big part of why I've made the carbon-spewing trip from Washington DC to South Africa.

Over the course of this yearly summit, I'll advocate for rapid and deep cuts in climate pollution from the world's wealthy industrialized countries. I'll also call for financial support for poorer countries to move from dirty development pathways to low-emission strategies for lifting people out of poverty (like access to clean, renewable energy), and to build resilience to the impacts of climate change, like extreme weather-related disasters.

Janet Redman, co-director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies, is observing the United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa. www.ips-dc.org
Join the global call for climate justice by participating in 1,000 Durbans in conjunction with the December 3rd Day of Action on Climate Justice.