Global Warming and Weather: It's Complicated
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, a recurrent debate is resurfacing: Did climate change cause this extreme storm?
The scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is a key cause of global warming is unequivocal. That's like connecting A to B. The scientific consensus on how much a warmer planet causes extreme weather is less clear. That's like connecting A to F. You need more data points.
In Washington, these data points are pushed aside for talking points that say: "global warming caused Sandy." But talking points need data to be truly effective. And the latest data points show that this hurricane season is poised to become one of the quietest on record.
Of course, this doesn't mean global warming isn't real. But it does throw cold water on one potent set of talking points.
Tread carefully, Washington.
TOP ENERGY NEWS
WEST VIRGINIA SEES SECOND CHANCE IN FRACKING. The explosion in natural gas could give the state prosperity that coal promised but never delivered.
SOLAR POWER ON RISE IN GOLDEN STATE. The world's largest solar project will be lighting up 140,000 California homes by next year.
GREEN GROUPS OUTSPENDING INDUSTRY FOES. In a handful of key races, environmental groups have the coal industry and big business on the run.
LAWMAKERS: SPEED UP FRACKING REGS. A number of Democrats, including Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Diana DeGette of Colorado, sent a letter to the White House asking for faster processing of fracking regulations.
UPTON: ENERGY AND COMMERCE WILL TAKE UP EFFICIENCY BILL. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said his committee will take up energy efficiency legislation if it passes the Senate.
EARTHQUAKE HITS JAPAN NEAR FUKUSHIMA. The plant has not sustained damage from the 7.3 magnitude earthquake, however.
CHINESE RESPONSE TO AIR POLLUTION MAY INDICATE POLICY SHIFT. Authorities closed schools and shut down public transportation in one Chinese city to keep residents safe amid elevated levels of smog.
EXPANSIVE OIL RESERVES FOUND IN ALGERIA. An oil field with up to 1.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil has been discovered in southern Algeria.
EXTREME WEATHER EVENT. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) holds a discussion on "Building Resilience to Extreme Weather."
SWING STATE CLIMATE POLL RELEASED. The League of Conservation Voters will release the results of polling in 11 swing states asking voters what they think of the Environmental Protection Agency, climate change and other environmental issues.