Katrina's real name is global warming

Packing 145-mph winds, destroying thousands of homes and killing more than 60 people, Hurricane Katrina is a devastating reminder of the power of nature.

But as Ross Gelbspan writes in today's Boston Globe, there's a bigger cause to Kristina and many other weather anomalies this year:
When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause was global warming.
When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the United Kingdom, the driver was global warming.
When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the reason was global warming.
In July, when the worst drought on record triggered wildfires in Spain and Portugal and left water levels in France at their lowest in 30 years, the explanation was global warming.
When a lethal heat wave in Arizona kept temperatures above 110 degrees and killed more than 20 people in one week, the culprit was global warming.
And when the Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai) received 37 inches of rain in one day -- killing 1,000 people and disrupting the lives of 20 million others -- the villain was global warming.

Katrina 2

Even if professor Kerry Emmanuel from MIT was right when he told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! yesterday, Atlantic ocean hurricanes like Katrina are likely not on the rise because of global warming, there's no doubt that global warming has been a major cause in a variety of weather disasters we've felt in recent years.

Some of the many, many negative effects we're likely to witness in coming years (and have already witnessed) are rising sea levels, rising temperatures, the shutdown of the Gulf Stream, more extreme weather, increased spread of infectious diseases, and decreased productivity in agriculture.

The fact that Bush only decided this afternoon to cut his vacation short after Katrina devastated New Orleans is none too surprising. But the question remains: what, if anything, can we do to get him to act on global warming?

p.s. Thank goodness for MSN Money's Jon D. Markman, who helpfully tells us who we should be investing in if we want to profit from this disaster. As Markman writes, "It may seem craven, but this is just capitalism's way of allocating financial resources at a critical time to the companies that need it from the sources that have it. Call it Katrina's invisible hand."

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