Storm Warnings Intensify

Feature story - August 1, 2005
As this season’s hurricanes slam into our coastlines, MIT scientists have hit us with a dose of reality: global warming is to blame. If you thought that hurricanes were creating greater damage, it hasn’t been your imagination. And the most distressing news is it’s only going to get worse.

Trailer park homes were completely destroyed by hurricane Charlie in 2004.

According to a study published by MIT this week, global warming is likely a major cause of the increased ferocity of hurricanes in the past decade. The study, published in the journal Nature, notes the accumulated power of hurricanes has more than doubled in the past 30 years, with a particularly dramatic spike since 1995.

Kerry Emanuel, a climatologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of the study writes, "My results suggest that future warming may lead to an upward trend in tropical cyclone destructive potential and - taking into account an increasing coastal population - a substantial increase in hurricane-related losses in the 21st century."

The study should prove particularly interesting for residents along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Caribbean who are recovering from what forecasters call the most active start to the hurricane season on record. In just two months, six storms grew strong enough to merit names.

During the height of the 2004 hurricane season, President Bush visited the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.  He addressed the crowd with this assurance: "I want the people of Florida and other affected areas to know that the federal government is doing everything we can to help you."

Not Enough

President Bush is quick to offer kind words and disaster relief funds to victims of hurricanes.  Yet his administration refuses to take action on global warming, which would reduce the power of these storms and save lives.

On July 29, the Senate passed the Energy Bill - despite more than 17,000 of our supporters asking it to reject this bad legislation.  This bill is a triple cocktail of seismic testing in our waters, incentives to build new nuclear power plants, and pay-offs for fossil-fuel giants like ExxonMobil. It will do virtually nothing to reduce America's growing dependence on oil and coal and does not address global warming.

Good Times

The executives at President Bush's favorite oil company, ExxonMobil, are undoubtedly pleased with with the passage of the Energy Bill.  But they have an even bigger reason to celebrate.

On July 28, ExxonMobil released its earnings report for the second quarter. In a time of steep gas prices, Exxon has broken all profit records, earning $7.84 billion in net income during the 2nd quarter, and $15.5 billion for the first half of the year total.  In fact, the $15.5 billion in profits is a 38 percent increase from the first half of 2004.

Take Action!

Make sure that your money won't end up in ExxonMobil's next earnings report.  Don't buy Exxon or Mobil gas, invest in its stock or work for the company.  Tell Exxon's CEO that he just lost a customer.

MIT isn't the only one noticing how ferocious hurricanes have become. Hear from ordinary people whose lives have been affected by hurricanes.