Tuesday, July 3, 2012

  • "This Is Just the Beginning": Forest Fires, Deadly Storms, Record Heat Reveal a Changed Climate

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    The past two weeks have witnessed the worst forest fires in Colorado history, a deadly Mid-Atlantic storm that left 23 dead and four million without power, and a record shattering heat wave across the East Coast and Midwest that has not seen since the Dust Bowl. More than 2,000 heat records have been broken in the past week. As the words "extreme weather" flash across TV screens, where are the other two words: "global warming"? We speak to The Guardian’s U.S. environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg and Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground website. "What we’re seeing now is the future," Masters says. "We’re going to be seeing a lot more weather like this, a lot more impacts like we’re seeing from this series of heat waves, fires and storms. ... This is just the beginning." [includes rush transcript]

  • Climate Disasters’ Toll Worsened by Sustained Attacks on Public Sector, Science and Regulation

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    As we discuss the spate of extreme weather in the United States, the author and professor Christian Parenti argues that the Republican-led assault on the public sector will leave states more vulnerable to global warming’s effects. "Another thing that’s missing from these discussions is not just the words 'climate change,' but the words 'public sector,'" Parenti says. "I mean, who’s out there fighting these fires? It’s the public sector, you know? Where do people go when there are these cooling centers? It’s the public sector. ... This assault on the public sector must be linked to climate change." We’re also joined by The Guardian’s U.S. environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg and by Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground website. [includes rush transcript]

  • Will U.S., the World’s Largest Arms Manufacturer, Back Landmark U.N. Arms Trade Treaty?

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    Delegates from 190 countries have gathered at the United Nations to begin talks on the first-ever global agreement regulating the arms trade. According to arms control campaigners, one person every minute dies as a result of armed violence around the world. The global weapons market is valued at more than $60 billion a year, and critics argue that a binding treaty is necessary to prevent guns from flooding into conflict zones and fueling wars and human rights violations. The United States is by far the world’s largest producer, importer and exporter of armaments. "Believe it or not, bananas and bottled water are regulated more stringently than conventional weapons. These are weapons that are killing 1,500 people every day, up to 750,000 a year," says Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "These are the real weapons of mass destruction, because they’re killing, year in, year out, person by person, family by family, village by village." [includes rush transcript]