AN OPEN LETTER: IT'S TIME FOR TRUTH TELLING
We are here on the day before the beginning of the hurricane season to denounce the Bush Administration’s cover-up of the growing scientific link between monstrous hurricanes and human-induced global warming.
Despite a flurry of peer-reviewed scientific studies linking planetary warming to storms like Katrina, leaders at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Hurricane Center (a subset of NOAA) continue to claim – with no supporting data -- that the recent hurricane devastation is part of a “natural cycle” having nothing to do with a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We condemn these responses as an abdication of government responsibility when millions of Americans are increasingly vulnerable to violent storms in a warmer world.
After a record four major hurricanes hit Florida in 2004, the 2005 hurricane season was even more devastating. Of the six most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the United States in the past 150 years, three occurred within 52 days in 2005. These were Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. The damage from Katrina alone was over 1,500 dead, two million Americans displaced, and at least $200 billion in damages.
Meanwhile, just since August 2005, no fewer than four major scientific studies – one conducted by NOAA itself – have shown that warmer sea-surface temperatures created by atmospheric warming are increasing the frequency, power, and lifespan of major, Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. Yet there is no mention of these studies at the National Hurricane Center web site despite the agency’s official mission “to save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts and analyses of hazardous tropical weather, and by increasing understanding of these hazards.” And NHC director Max Mayfield denied any substantive connection between global warming and hurricanes before a US Senate panel last fall.
Meanwhile at NOAA, The Washington Post and other media have documented the ongoing campaign to cover up global warming data. Under the directorship of Bush’s friend and political appointee, Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., NOAA climate scientists are being intimidated from talking to the press and their papers are being withheld from publication.
These actions at NOAA and the NHC are part of an obvious political campaign orchestrated by the White House to avoid the serious cuts in fossil fuel use scientists say are needed to fight global warming. But by ignoring the science and denying the warming on behalf of Exxon Mobil and other major oil corporations, the Bush Administration is putting millions more Americans this year and for years to come at great risk for experiencing the kind of suffering and loss seen throughout the Gulf Coast in 2005.
The cover-up must stop now!
Endorsed by (list in formation):
U.S. Climate Emergency Council
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Climate Crisis Coalition
Alliance for Affordable Energy, New Orleans, La.
Global Justice Ecology Project
Global Warming Solution.org
GRACE Policy Institute
Green House Network
Greenwood Earth Alliance
Just Transition Alliance
Labor Community Strategy Center
Organic Consumers Association
Pax Christi, USA
Rev. Laura J. Collins, National Capital Presbytery Environmental Team Convenor
Rev. Charles Morris, Director, Michigan Interfaith Power and Light
Rabbi David Shneyer
Mike Tidwell, U.S. Climate Emergency Council