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Cyclone Nargis

CYCLONE NARGIS....Wingers sure are weird. The Wonk Room documents how one of Brent Bozell's media watchdog groups spliced together an NPR interview with Al Gore to make it sound like he was blaming the recent devastating cyclone in Burma on global warming. In the audio splice, they play the end of the interview followed by the start of the interview without any indication that they're taking his words out of order.

But what makes this weird, as opposed to just mendacious in a garden variety way, is that they didn't need to do it. Gore was careful to acknowledge that no individual storm can be blamed on global warming, but he followed that up by saying that global warming is responsible for a trend toward more powerful storms and that the Burma cyclone is an example of that. So why bother splicing the tape dishonestly?

Beats me. Maybe it's just in their blood. In any case, what surprises me is that more people haven't been making the connection between the Burma cyclone and global warming. That kind of talk was all over the place after Hurricane Katrina even though it made little sense in that case. In the end, Katrina made landfall as a strong Cat 3 hurricane, hardly a superstorm, and the bulk of the damage to New Orleans was done not by Katrina itself but by the breaching of poorly built levees. That had nothing to do with global warming.

By contrast, the Burma cyclone really is a good example of the kind of thing we're likely to see more of in coming decades. It's not just that it was a very severe cyclone early in the season, but that it's also highly typical of the damage that global warming is likely to do in the future. It isn't North America that's going to bear the brunt of the damage from climate change, it's poor, low-lying area like Burma and Bangladesh. We'll respond (or try to respond) with aid whenever something like this happens, but all the aid in the world won't make up for the fact that we're the ones warming the globe but it's poor developing countries that are going to pay most of the price.