2013-08-27

Co.Exist

What If We Named Catastrophic Hurricanes After Climate Change Deniers?

We give hurricanes such friendly, blameless names. What did Sandy ever do to anyone? An advocacy group wants to name disastrous storms after the politicians who are blocking effective climate policy.

Spare a thought for people named Ivan, Katrina, and Sandy. Through no fault of their own, they're now associated with horrific weather events that killed people and caused millions of dollars in damage. It doesn't seem fair somehow.

Climate group 350 Action came up with an alternative: naming weather systems after high-profile figures who publicly deny the realities of climate change. After all, these are the people who are (arguably) making the next storm both more likely and difficult to deal with (we mapped the state of political climate denial here).

Watch this video, from creative agency Barton F. Graf 9000, to see how "Hurricane Michele Bachmann" might get reported. It's funny, in a tragic sort of way:

It's worth pointing out that the link between climate change and specific weather events is inconclusive (or at least less conclusive than the evidence that man-made climate change is happening). What's incontrovertible is the record of many politicians on the subject, from John "Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide" Boehner, to James "Global warming is a hoax" Inhofe (Think Progress has a good round-up). Given the damage they've caused to climate policy efforts, it at least doesn't seem inappropriate to name a storm after them. It's a lot more apt than Andrew or Rita. They've got nothing to do with it.

Check out the petition to the World Meteorological Organization to name hurricanes after climate change deniers here.

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6 Comments

  • mememine

    Science's own consensus of "MAYBE" a crisis instead of "WILL BE" a crisis is what feeds all denial-ism so why doesn't science save the planet by ending this costly debate now and finally agree a real inevitable climate crisis WILL happen? Not one IPCC warning says anything beyond "could be" and nothing close to "eventual". How close to unstoppable warming will science lead us before they say our kid are doomed for sure not just another 28 years of never agreeing it WILL happen?

  • Anthony Reardon

    Interesting. Yeah, kind of funny, but the only people that would really end up benefitting from such a policy are politicians that position against irrational environmental sentimentalists. You do something like that and you undermine what is essentially a scientific argument with immediately observable evidence.

    However, the use of names doesn't support the argument either way. It does make it easier to report on, continually reference, and draw resource allocation to when appropriate.

    Some constructive use of terminologies might be beneficial though. It is worth considering.

    For instance, maybe we develop a protocol for articulating weather events in their relative frequency and magnitudes to averages. You might communicate if the event is more or less of a regular occurrence according to the data to help illustrate the fact of weather pattern changes as they are happening.

    Besides that, each year you reincorporate the new data to refigure in the new average, so opponents to the climate change argument ought to be pretty confident the results will end up reflecting in their favor too.

    Best, Anthony

  • Blue_Oak

    Actually it is the other way around - sane folks are laughing at Al Gore.  Perhaps we can name destructive legislation after its creators... oh wait, we already do so with the "healthcare" act.

  • Leslie Graham

    Heh heh.
    Excellent.
    Not going to happen of course but a funny idea anyway.
    I've noticed that the last of the deniers are simply being laughed at these days.
    That's a good sign.
    Now that climate change is obvious their denial has  become hysterical and the only proper response is to laugh in their faces.