Apprehension, not celebration, greets this World Environment Day

Aurora, Colo., tornado (Photo: Brittany McKown)It’s World Environment Day, and all I can think about is how the Gulf oil disaster has been book-ended by two environmental commemorations. The BP oil well blew out two days before Earth Day in April, though it was barely covered in the news until a few days later when people realized that oil was leaking into the ocean unabated. (In the back of our minds, we tend to assume that someone has a plan for these contingencies. Surprise! No plan.)

Climate change indicators show that…climate change is happening

From Green Right Now

Climate deniers will just have to grit their teeth over the latest report from the EPA showing that climate change is having a measurable effect on the Earth.

The EPA’s Climate Change Indicators report , released Tuesday, tallies up the heat waves, storms, sea level measurements and glacier melts that all point to a planet under duress.

Hurricane Ike: worse because of global warming?

By Barbara Kessler

Hurricane Ike, which knocked Galveston and Houston with a right hook reminiscent of Katrina, again raises the question of whether global warming is fostering monster storms.

It has become almost ipso facto among many climate change scientists and activists that global warming is a key culprit behind worsening hurricanes. They point out that tropical storms feed on warmer water, and warmer sea waters are a given these days, whether you believe that the sea change is caused by Mother Nature, greenhouse gases or little green men in space.

But weather forecasters and meteorologists take a more measured view of hurricanes. Trained to distinguish between causes and consider time lines and probabilities, they do not use “weather” and “climate change” interchangeably. Weather is a sudden occurrence – albeit with a hurricane it can malinger and loom with maddening deliberateness – whereas climate change is a gradual thing, building over many years.

So to the weather experts, the shorthand formula is not as simple as Storms + Warmer Waters = Worse Storms.