Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More tornado alleys?

The GOP is this election's tornado bait. Disgusted conservative Christians staying home on one side, enraged Democrats (and not a few independents) charging to the polls on the other--something was going to get ripped up and splintered in between those two continental-scale masses.

Here in relatively sedate Japan, the news is of a literal tornado that has killed at least 9 people. Now, in America, that kind of death toll is not big news. But since 1961 (and better housing) the most lethal tornados in Japan have killed only one or two. Tornados of intensity higher than F4 are simply not seen. (I just caught a clip on TV news of a what may have been just a very large dust-devil in a schoolyard here, with students unsure of whether it was safe to approach it. In Oklahoma, they'd be taking shelter, fast.) The Japanese word tatsumaki doesn't even distinguish between tornado and waterspout.

I hate it when somebody seizes on a weather news item and declares Global Warming the cause. You heard a lot of that when Katrina hit. Statistically, tornadoes don't seem to be on the increase in Japan. However, the main outcome of global warming may be seen in increases in intensity of extreme events, not frequency.

Democrats getting into a the House? Possibility that state capitols will become majority-Democrat? Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican governor, declaring a split with the Bush administration's Kyoto Protocol policy, and making carbon-trading deals with Eastern seaboard states? (And his Attorney General announcing a lawsuit against major automakers for the damage done by their vehicles' carbon emissions?) A British report recently that untrammelled Greenhouse Gas emissions will cause more economic damage than abatement measures? Maybe it's finally all coming together: the big American turnaround on climate change issues. Maybe we don't have to wait until Bush leaves office.


Post a Comment

<< Home