Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, also equated the drive for global warming legislation with the drive for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
But one global warming expert from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) told Cybercast News Service that such a remark reveals Markey’s ignorance on the subject of global warming.
“In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine,” said Markey.
“That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down. There was this scene where we have all of our American troops under fire because they have been put into the middle of this terrible situation,” he added.
Markey was referring to the battle of Mogadishu in 1993, when 18 members of a U.S. military team were killed in a helicopter crash and a resulting firefight. The battle was made famous by a 2001 Academy Award-winning film, “Black Hawk Down.”
Markey was speaking to 25 students from the World Wildlife Fund's Allianz Southeast Climate Witness Program. The students had come to the Capitol to brief members of Congress on the risks of global warming. The students were from the Gulf States.
But Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming Policy at CEI, told Cybercast News Service that Markey’s remarks reveal his ignorance about the science of global warming.
“Yes, that part of the world is subject to drought at times, but it has very little to do with global warming,” said Ebell. “It is subject to drought whether the global average temperature is going up, down, or staying the same. To say you know the conflict was caused by global warming is to show how really ignorant you are of the scientific issues involved.”
The students who testified at the event, most of whom had lived in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, described the difficulties they faced after the storm and blamed global warming for the disaster.
“Katrina woke me up and made me pay attention,” said 17-year-old Danielle Wold from Harvey, La. “One of the worst disasters in history made me want to do something. In 100 years, New Orleans could just be another Atlantis.”
Fifteen-year-old Stephen Bordes from New Orleans called on lawmakers to do something to end global warming. “Cutting carbon emissions is mainly in your hands since you pass the laws,” he said. ‘You basically control climate change. We should have changed yesterday, but it’s too late to change yesterday so we should start now.”
Bordes said that he thinks the warming of the atmosphere could lead to a situation in which his home, which is near the superdome in New Orleans, could become permanently inundated with water.
Markey also told the students that there no longer exists any debate about whether or not disasters like Katrina are caused by climate change.
“There now is no question that this harm is being caused by human activity,” said Markey. “It’s warming up the planet and melting the glaciers. There is an underwater heat wave going on. The waters get warmer and warmer and that intensifies the storms and creates even greater havoc when those storms reach land.”
“The planet is running a fever. It’s heating up but there is no emergency rooms for planets,” he said. “The worst consequences affect the planet -- not only New Orleans -- but the whole planet.
“The same thing is true by the way with Darfur,” Markey added. “Darfur is really about water. This is an issue which really goes to the heart of the incredible impact that climate change is having upon our planet. “
But Ebell said that droughts in Darfur are probably not an effect of global warming. “In that region, droughts have been going on for hundreds of years and before human beings started to burn coal and gas,” he said. “They will continue because of precipitation patterns. Again, I think Chairman Markey has revealed the extent of his ignorance on this issue.”
Markey finished his talk by comparing the debate against global warming to the 20th century fight for women suffrage. “Back 100 years ago, women rose up and said we want the right to vote, and they were successful,” he said. “Now, you are like the green generation and you are rising up and saying we must ensure the planet does not suffer the worst consequences of climate change.”