Addressing global warming will wreck our economy…

…and the damage done by more frequent and more powerful hurricanes pales in comparison to the wreckage inflicted by people biking to work.

From RealClimate: Hurricanes and Global Warming – Is There a Connection?:

Better protection against hurricanes will be an obvious discussion point over the coming months, to which as climatologists we are not particularly qualified to contribute. But climate science can help us understand how human actions influence climate. The current evidence strongly suggests that:

(a) hurricanes tend to become more destructive as ocean temperatures rise, and

(b) an unchecked rise in greenhouse gas concentrations will very likely increase ocean temperatures further, ultimately overwhelming any natural oscillations.

Scenarios for future global warming show tropical SST rising by a few degrees, not just tenths of a degree (see e.g. results from the Hadley Centre model and the implications for hurricanes shown in Fig. 1 above). That is the important message from science. What we need to discuss is not what caused Katrina, but the likelyhood that global warming will make hurricanes even worse in future.

Far from the hurricane zones, closer to home, what about the relationship of unchecked global warming to the pine beetle infestation — with a current price tag estimated at more than $100 Billion?

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