December 31, 2010
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
Letters to the Editor and other People Speak
Global warming Idiocy: Now Babies are Dying
Contributed by : Carol Gould
As we freeze, global warming conferences continue to proliferate......
Those of us who stay up late to watch the cycle of American news programmes on British television will know that a newborn baby died in New York this week because the ambulance called to attend could not get through the ice in time. A Brooklyn woman who had called 911 to seek help for her ailing husband watched him die as emergency services simply could not navigate the snow. All over the East Coast of the United States recriminations are reverberating : did Mayor Bloomberg underestimate the gravity of the storm? Were New Jersey Governor Christie and his Lt Governor right to have taken their respective holidays leaving Newark Mayor Cory Booker to personally shovel snow for his citizens? Finger-pointing is rife: were the airports in disaster mode because of local mismanagement? For that matter were hundreds of thousands of people stranded in Britain and Europe left to sleep on cold floors in airport terminals and in endless queues in sub-zero temperatures because of incompetence ?
Or was it something else? Already this week I am being browbeaten by the same colleagues and friends who loudly proclaim this latest winter nightmare the ‘result of global warming.’ When I meekly suggest I have been unable to grow tomatoes for three damp summers in a row even though I am south-facing I am told this is climate change. That is, global warming. An emailer in the United States has been sending me articles by scientists explaining that the slow rise in temperatures in parts of the globe ‘compresses the air patterns’ and ‘pushes cold air into particular geographical areas, causing temporary cold spells that metamorphose into sweltering summers.’ Fine -- if my punishing heating bills this winter mean I can at least grow a big crop of fruit and vegetables and save on grocery bills, I will be happy to accept the theory. Sadly I see no evidence of unbearable winters leading to glorious, sun-soaked summers here in Blighty.
In December 2006 I was lying in a hospital bed watching shocking television images of thousands of stranded Christmas tourists sitting in makeshift white tents and sipping soup at British airports due to freak freezing temperatures and fog. In pain from surgery I was glad to be in a warm, cosy place away from such vile conditions. I remember wishing I could stay an extra night and feeling the perishing cold on my face when I was discharged into the London fog and ice. Since then our winters have got colder and colder. But let’s look back in time.
My late mother used to tell me about women fainting on Yom Kippur despite carrying smelling salts at the local synagogue in Philadelphia in her childhood Septembers. She was born in 1914. She described the Philadelphia summers as deadly nightmares in which the only relief was the occasional release of water from fire hydrants. Remember all those pictures of the dust storms that consumed the United States in the early part of the twentieth century? In fact, in the early 1800s New England was the escape route for New Yorkers and Philadelphians leaving the scorching summer heat behind. Were there motorcars and factories spewing waste and contributing to global warming? No.
In 1916 the temperature in the Sahara desert rose to 136 Fahrenheit. Likewise in 1995 Chicago experienced its coldest temperature ever recorded: minus 27 degrees Fahrenheit. The average summer temperature for Philadelphia in 1995 was 78.6 degrees but in 2005 it was down to 77.8 degrees. Okay, I am willing to accept that globally 2010 was one of the hottest years on record but there were also anomalies : according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration unusually cool conditions occurred in western North America, northern Argentina, interior Asia and Western Europe. Germany had its coolest May since 1991, the 12th coolest on record. And if one more British friend screams at me ‘But Carol, this cold weather is a freak thing! It only happens once in a decade! We don’t need to waste money on ploughs and snow tires,’ I will cry.
So here is my point: I suggest we stop concentrating on global warming and start doing something about our shameful lack of preparation for catastrophically cold winters. Look at the pathetic scenes in London when temperatures had fallen to the minus 20s : I could not go out for ten days as I was not willing to break my hip navigating the endless rink of ice that was most of unsalted and ungritted North West London. Who will ever forget the sight of three men with shovels -- yes, shovels -- trying to clear snow from a massive runway at Heathrow? Or the weeping tourists so grateful to the Salvation Army for stepping in to give something to these folks to eat and drink because the British government didn’t have a clue as to what the hell to do?
We need to be ready for cold weather and we must never again have to witness the tragic scenes and fatalities that have ensued because of governments around the world wasting millions on global warming confabs. Instead we need to spend that money on making sure young mothers who have just given birth unaided are not abandoned because we cannot cope with the reality of global freezing.