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Friday, August 24, 2012

Climate change hitting New England the worst

Data shows we are getting hit with more and bigger storms
By Will Collette

The frequency of severe storms in Rhode Island has almost doubled since 1948, according to a new Environment America Research & Policy Center report, When It Rains, It Pours: Global Warming and the Increase in Extreme Precipitation from 1948 to 2011.

According to this report (click here to read the entire report – pdf), the region of the US hit the hardest by this widespread increase in the frequency of heavy weather is New England.

Further, the big storms now produced an average of 26% more precipitation than they did in 1948.

While the report does not offer an explanation for why New England is the hardest hit region in the US, the study’s authors blame climate change for the overall increase in weather severity.

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Dick Durbin (D-IL) helped Environment America roll out the report.
“Any Rhode Islander who lived through the historic storm and floods of 2010 knows about extreme weather,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). “The clear scientific evidence of increased extreme weather is also a warning – to prepare our communities, our natural resources, and our economy for the potentially devastating effects of climate change."
Extreme storms, as well as sea level rise, are two effects of climate change that have a direct and potentially severe effect on Charlestown. Though there are no quick fixes or magic bullets to heal the damage that a century of excessive fossil fuel burning has done to the climate, the report (not to mention common sense) suggests the urgent need to reduce our carbon emissions.
Our current town government, controlled as it is by the environmental troglodytes of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, are unlikely to take practical steps to move Charlestown toward less reliance on fossil fuels.
The only kind of environmental issue the CCA recognizes is open space, and I suppose, open water, like what we’ll have after sea rise claims half of the land South of One.
About half of Charlestown south of One in danger
They have shown their disdain for alternative energy as an appropriate activity for Charlestown despite the urgent need for communities, large and small to reduce fossil fuel use.
In many ways, they resemble the state of North Carolina, which recently enacted legislation aimed at denying the extent of sea level rise. A state-sponsored panel of scientists concluded that sea level may rise by up to three feet in North Carolina coastal waters by the year 2100.
But rather than accept the facts, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that calls for a moratorium on using those numbers until 2016, calling instead for more studies (hopefully cooked to their taste) and to permit preparations on the assumption that the most the coastal waters will rise is 8 inches, rather than three feet.
Governor Beverly Perdue (D) allowed the bill to become law without her signature.
The Texas and Virginia legislatures also adopted measures to censor references to sea-level rise in legislation on planning.
The North Carolina approach reminds me of the approach CCA’s Town Council President Tom Gentz and Planning Commissioner George Tremblay take on affordable housing – cook the numbers till they come out just right. Sprinkle on a little cow manure and serve it up to your gullible followers.