Another Dim Bulb Leading Global Warming Efforts

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is chairman of the House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee.  He sure seems to know his stuff, huh:

A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels….

“In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine,” said Markey.

“That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down. There was this scene where we have all of our American troops under fire because they have been put into the middle of this terrible situation,” he added.

Ugh.

  • Captain Obviousness

    To be fair, it is true that climate change causes droughts which lead to conflicts and civil war. But “climate change” is very different from anthropogenic climate change, and people seem to forget that these days. Climate has always changed, always making some places better to live in while making other places worse to live in, if not impossible to live in.

    As far as Katrina, it’s not fair to blame that on any kind of climate change. Hurricanes ain’t new.

  • Sedulous

    To be fair, Africa and other places in the world have droughts with or with out Global Warming (as was observed by Captain Obviousness) and, also, Somalia had been under civil war since 1991, resulting in the the UN sending in forces to attempt to bring order and that then resulted in “Black Hawk Down”. This scenario could have happened with or without drought in Somalia.

    And of course, if the government’s levee had been maintained and not broken, and if the federal and local governments had done their job, Katrina would have been much less catastrophic. And why would one build a coastal city at or below sea level and believe nothing bad will ever happen to it?

    If Representative Markey’s statements are reported accurately, then he should be apologizing for them due to their blatant inaccuracies. That would only be fair.

  • deweyp

    This story does not originate with a reliable news source. CNSNews is not a reliable news source. Although humorous, this story is very likely false.

  • dearieme

    Hasn’t he got a more plausible yarn, one involving – say – the US Marines versus the Eskimos?

  • Re the comments on Katrina…

    Levee failure was only a minor part of the problem. The system was designed for a category III storm. But Katrina’s storm surge (which of course is what the levees had to deal with) was record breaking – high category five.

    Many levees were simply overtopped – they weren’t broken or in disrepair. There is video on you-tube of one of the major canals filling and then spilling over its walls onto the grounds of a power plant (which I’ve been too – it is in a major residential area).

    N.O. is an example of urban “planning” at its worst. The city should never have been there, and should not be replaced. However, at least the insurance companies have learned something – some of the repaired homes are now sitting on pilings 15 feet above their lots as a result.

  • Doug

    Gads, let’s not leave out POLITICS, shall we? 1) Democrats hounded Bush The First to send the troops to Somalia for all the wrong reasons: humanitarian purposes. I bet Malarkey was part of that throng. Clinton inherited those unfortunate troops, and the rest is history. 2) New Orleans squandered countless hundreds of millions of dollars from levee strengthening programs to other, more politically-popular projects. Things like bigger, better, taller government buildings and museums. If you REALLY want to lay the blame for Katrina, look at the locals who frittered all of that money that most likely would have prevented it from happening. Or at least delayed the inevitable.

    A hundred years from now, we’ll STILL be wringing our hands about the poor, unfortunately Katrina victims, especially if there’s government money that can be diverted to soothe the native’s scarred souls, or a vote to be gained by raising the subject.

  • An Inquirer

    John Moore,
    I suggest double checking your sources on your impression of New Orleans levees during Katrina. I am not taking time in this posting to provide websites, but my memory and understanding have some differences than yours. Some of our differences are probably due to what levees we are talking about. Katrina did not hit New Orleans as Category 5. It came on shore as Category 4 and was weakening. There were a couple or so levees on the south side that were overwhelmed by the surge, and, yes, they were not built to withstand Category 4. However, more severe consequences occurred farther. According to the intensity with which they were hit (and they were not overwhelmed), they should not have failed, but they did. In the construction of the levees, apparently the soil type was not diagnosed sufficiently, and the levees were even more inferior than required for a Category 3. Their failures caused the most damage.
    I first visited New Orleans in 1976 and looked at the levee / water level situation. Everybody in the group, including the guide, commented that this was a disaster waiting to happen. I do agree with your bottom line — “N.O. is an example of urban “planning” at its worst.”

  • An Inquirer,
    My information is correct. My sources about levee failures, among others are:

    1) A personal tour of the damage area
    2) Video of one canal overtopping at the power plant (also pointed out on our tour)
    3) Information (I don’t have URLs) that there were over 25 different points where floodwaters crossed or breached barriers. For example, the Eastern side of NO had levees against the bay which were simply not high enough for the storm surge. Many other barriers were not high enough. The system was simply not built to handle a surge anywhere close to this magnitude.

    As to the storm strength, my information is from various sources including my own participation in tracking the storm with the Hurricane Watch Network ( http://hwn.org/ ), discussions with a PhD hurricane expert, and various web sources about the storm surge.

    Yes, the hurricane was rapidly fading and was Cat 3 when it hit New Orleans. However, the storm surge is created by winds over water transferring momentum to the water. The momentum transfer is proportional to the wind speed and wind fetch (area over which it acts). As water is much denser and less compressible than atmosphere, the rapid reduction in wind speeds did not cause the storm surge to lose significant momentum. Hence the surge was well above Cat 5 critera.

    If you drive along the Mississippi coast just E of Lake Pontchartrain (as I did last Christmas), you will see virtually no surviving structures for about 20 miles. You will also note that the destroyed structures were on tall pilings on land several feet above sea level. This is testimony to the storm surge height. Less reported by the media was the catastrophic damage to Mississippi where the surge went well inland.

    That same surge directly hit New Orleans on the East Side and rapidly spilled into Lake Ponchartrain (with enough force to destroy the I-10 causeway), abd then flooded NO from the north and filled the canals.

    Yes, there were a few dramatic failures of the system to meet specifications. However, much flooding came in places where the system operated as designed.

    Unfortunately, the politicization of Katrina in the media, driven by sensationalism, Bush Derangement Syndrome, blame passing by local officials, and normal media ignorance of science, engineering, hydrological, meteorological and many other subjects, led to an over-reporting of the sub-specification performance and gross under-reporting of the magnitude of the storm surge, the amount of flooding not caused by failures, and the near impossibility of protecting NO from such a high magnitude storm surge.

    Note also that had the storm had Cat 5 winds when it hit, the damage would have been catastrophic even without the flooding – look at what Andrew did to Miami with little flooding.

    A visit to New Orleans is sobering. About 90-95% of the residents were flooded out of their homes. Every local we talked with had been flooded out. An enormous area is devastated, and that damage continues for tens of miles outside the city.

    Interestingly, the residential areas do not look that bad, even if you drive through them – the houses are still there. But they look odd – there are no trees (salt water poisoning). The insides of the houses are full of mud, rot and mold. Every house has Search and Rescue markings on it, indicating who searched it when, and how many bodies were found.

    It is a lesson in failure to mitigate against natural hazards. If folks were serious about AGW (and I hope they aren’t :-)) and other more realistic natural disasters, they would focus on such mitigation rather than taking our energy usage back to the stone age.

  • Hi,
    I did a little “research” on Wilkins Ice Shelf too. I entitled it “Wilkins Ice Shelf Paranoia”:
    http://p2o2.blogspot.com/2008/07/wilkins-ice-shelf-paranoia.html
    Best regards to all