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06-12-08 CAP-EnVIRONMENT by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Saty

06-12-08 CAP-EnVIRONMENT by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Saty

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Published by: Mark Welkie on Mar 13, 2011
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June 12, 2008
ENVIRONMENT
by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Ali Frick, BenjaminArmbruster, and Brad JohnsonThe evidence for the consequences of global warming is appearing with alarmingfrequency. This morning's headlines are filled with tales of deadly weather: "At leastfour people were killedand about 40 injured when a tornado tore through a BoyScout camp in western Iowa on Wednesday night"; "two people are dead in northern Kansas after tornadoes cut a diagonal path across the state"; "[t]wo Maryland menwith heart conditions diedthis week" from the East Coast heat wave. These eightdeaths come on top of reports earlier this week that the heat wave "claimed thelivesof 17 people" and the wave of deadly storms killed 11 more: "six in Michigan, two in Indiana and one each in Iowa and Connecticut," as well asone man in New York.Tornadoes this yearare being reported atrecord levels. States of emergency have been declared inMinnesota,California,Wisconsin, North CarolinaandMichigan  because of floods and wildfires. Counties in Iowa,Indiana, Illinois, South Dakota, and Wisconsinhave been declared disaster areas due to the historic flooding that hasbreached dams,inundated towns, and causedmajor crop damage, sending commodity futures tonew records. The floodwaters are continuing down theMississippi River, with "crests of 10 feet or moreabove flood level" for "at least thenext two weeks."
GLOBAL BOILING:
This tragic, deadly, anddestructive weather -- not to mention the droughts inGeorgia,California,Kansas,North Carolina,Florida,Tennessee,North Dakota, and elsewhere across the country-- are consistent with the changes scientists predicted would come with global warming. Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) calledthe three weeks of storms that gave rise to the floods in his state "historic inproportion," saying "very few peoplecould anticipate or prepare for that type of event." Culver is, unfortunately, wrong. As far back as 1995,analysisby the NationalClimatic Data Center showed that the United States "had suffered a statisticallysignificant increasein a variety of extreme weather events." In 2007, the U.N.Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it is "very likely"that man-made global warming will bring an "increase in frequencyof hot extremes,heat waves and heavy precipitation." The Nobel Prize-winning panel of thousands of scientists and government officials also found, "Altered frequencies and intensities of extreme weather, together with sea level rise, are expected to have mostly adverseeffectson natural and human systems." In 2002, scientists said that "increasedprecipitation, an expected outcome of climate change, may cause losses of US cornproduction to double over the next 30 years -- additional damage that couldcostagriculture $3 billion per year." Scientists have also found that the "West will seedevastating droughtsas global warming reduces the amount of mountain snow andcauses the snow that does fall to melt earlier in the year."
WAKE-UP CALL?:
Of the Memorial Day storms thatkilled eight peopleand "led to about $160 million in claims," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) rose on the Senate floor onJune 5 to say, "the storm mayserve as a wake-up call to those of us who have become somewhat complacent about severe weather warnings." The next day,

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