Meteorological Bad Luck
The Washington Post reports that some believe the horrendous Midwest floods were at least partially caused by bad land use, while others believe they're just the result of "meteorological bad luck." The Dubuque Telegraph Herald provides a little context:
The last time a "once-in-a-lifetime" flood swamped the tri-state area was 1993 -- less than a lifetime ago for most people.
"We had floods in 1993, 2001 and now in 2008," said Steve Kuhl, meteorologist in charge at the Quad Cities office of the National Weather Service. "It is certainly true this flood is historic -- especially along the Cedar and Iowa rivers. Now, we're expecting the Mississippi River from Muscatine south to approach 1993 levels."
Historic "once-in-a-lifetime" floods every several years. Just bad luck. Sure. The Cedar Rapids paper, The Gazette, quoted Elkader Fire Chief Mike Anderson:
"Nobody here has ever seen a flood like this — ever. We've had about seven 100-year floods since about 1990. (Now) I think we're at the 1,000-year flood."
More bad luck.
Meanwhile, with market manipulation very possibly contributing to high energy costs, Republicans killed even a weak global warming mitigation bill, ostensibly because of worries about high energy costs, while Saint Maverick offered "a bit of a capitulation"- more offshore oil drilling. The New York Times had the good news out of Iraq:
Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.
Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.
The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations.
The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production.
Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it? Warm, anyway. Because to McCain and the Republicans it's always and only about being able to burn more fossil fuels. Let's get the oil from our coastal waters, or from occupied Iraq, and political and environmental consequences be damned. Oh, and the BBC had this:
Arctic sea ice is melting even faster than last year, despite a cold winter.
Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) shows that the year began with ice covering a larger area than at the beginning of 2007.
But now it is down to levels seen last June, at the beginning of a summer that broke records for sea ice loss.
Scientists on the project say much of the ice is so thin as to melt easily, and the Arctic seas may be ice-free in summer within five to 10 years.
In his own way, McCain might, indeed, be the candidate of change. Or maybe it will be just more and more meteorological bad luck.