The environmental group 350.org has launched a new campaign called Climate Name Change that proposes to revise to how hurricanes are named: call them, the groups says, after policymakers who say that humans are not to blame for global warming.
This will save the Katrinas and Sandys of the world from the injustice of having their names attached to major disaster, the group says. And, as a bonus, it will produce some peculiar weather reports.
“Rick Perry leaves trail of death,” scrolls a line under a broadcast titled “Rick Perry: The Tragedy.”
“Michelle Bachman is incredibly dangerous. If you value your life, please seek shelter from Michelle Bachman,” says an official in another segment, addressing a news conference.
“David Vitter is turning out to be one of the hugest and costliest disasters in American history,” says another newscaster, before the video cuts to a windbreaker-clad reporter getting knocked around as “David Vitter” flings boats out of the water.
Finally, act now, urges the video, “before John Boehner blows your entire city away.”
As of this morning, the group had 7,709 signatures on its petition, short of its goal of 25,000 by Nov. 30.
The campaign is unlikely to sway the World Meteorological Organization, the wing of the UN that has since 1954 named Atlantic tropical storms from a an official list. The organization, which did not put men’s names on its list until 1979, is not too lenient about deviating from its single name roster, which this year includes the names “Flossie,” “York,” and “Octave.”
“The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity,” according to the organization’s website. Examples of names that won’t be used again include Katrina (2005) and Mitch (1998).
But the campaign’s goal seems less to actually name a hurricane after the speaker of the house, and more to call attention to an issue that this month has reached an alarming level of seriousness. The commercial comes just a month before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its most recent report on the state of global warming and a week after a draft of the report was leaked to Reuters.
In the draft, scientists concluded will near certainty – about 95 percent sure – that humans are to blame for the worldwide temperature hikes over the last few decades. That was a revision from the 2007 report, which put scientific certainty that human activities were driving global climate change at about 90 percent.
And global warming, the report said, is not slowing down – if anything it is accelerating. That means that sea levels could balloon upward as much as three feet by the end of the century, if emissions continue at their current pace.
Still, as the Washington Post Climate notes, hurricanes are not the best sign of global warming. Though current data suggests that unabated global warming will in the future churn up terrible super storms, there is still not enough evidence to support the idea that climate change underpins the recent hurricanes that have ripped at the US’s eastern coastline.