Archive for November, 2012
Hurricane Sandy proved that projections in the United Nation’s 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report about rising sea levels were shamefully off––and that by sixty percent! They were also wrong that one of Earth’s poles would compensate for the other’s melting ice!
These errors were discovered recently through satellite measurements. Andrew Kemp of Yale University writing for LiveScience quotes Stefan Rahmstorf, German oceanographer and climatologist who leads a recent study:
“This study shows once again that the IPCC is far from alarmist, but in fact has underestimated the problem of climate change. That applies not just for sea-level rise, but also to extreme events and the Arctic sea-ice loss.”
Rahmstorf, Grant Foster and Anny Cazenave published their findings in ‘Environmental Research Letters’: “ . . . the rise in CO2 concentration and global temperature has continued to closely match the projections of the IPCC’s models over the past five years, while sea level continues to rise faster than anticipated. The latter suggests that the 21st Century sea-level projections of the last two IPCC models reports may be systematically biased low.”
The IPCC also projected that the Antarctica would gain enough mass to compensate mass losses from Greenland. In ‘Researchers: Sea Levels Rising 60% Faster Than Previously Expected,’ Meteor Blades adds:
“The three scientists said average sea levels are rising at a rate of 3.2mm a year. That contrasts with computer-model estimates of 2mm a year presented by the IPCC just five years ago. That 60 percent higher rate may not sound like much, but sea-level rise is already presenting problems for coastal cities.”
Kemp explains: “Seas-level rise is thought to be driven by glacier melt as well as a phenomenon known as thermal expansion, which occurs when ocean water expands as it warms. Rising tides are a concern because they boost the threat of extreme flooding in populous coastal areas, putting millions of people at risk worldwide.” The East coast beaches Sandy decimated are ample proof.
Rahmstorf and his colleagues issued their scathing critique of IPCC 2007 calculations in time for the United Nation’s Climate Change meeting which begins Monday in Doha, Qatar. But again, will the world leaders listen, and act aggressively to Stop Global Warming? Or is it just a case of ‘Too Little! Too Late?’
If Christians are ever going to put aside denominational, political and other differences and get down to serious repentant prayer, the time is now! These scientists are not just talking about ‘foreign’ nations or ‘other’ people. They are talking about us, the U.S.A.! Surely Hurricane Sandy is proof enough of this.
A verse selection in Christian Prayer Books reads: “He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them (Psalms 145: 19).” If we are ever going to let Our God hear our cry, the time is Now!
In view of mounting destruction across the globe, world leaders seem to be getting more serious about confronting Climate Change and Global Warming. But as scientists were 60% off about sea levels rising time, will it be too little, too late?
Starting this coming Monday, some 200 nations will hold another round of climate talks in Doha, Qatari. The two weeks of meetings are arranged by the United Nations Environmental Programme, headed by Christiana Figueres.
“A faster response to climate change is necessary and possible.” Figueres says. Marlene Moses, chairwoman of the Alliance of Small Island States, agrees. Seeing islands quickly shrinking she adds: “Time is clearly not on our side.”
“New research from the University of Gothenburg and Columbia University shows that negotiations based on such a threshold fail because its value is determined by Nature and is inherently uncertain. Climate negotiators should therefore focus on other collective strategies.”
A recent World Bank report, ‘Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided’ agrees with these assessments. World Bank president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, writes: “It is my hope that this report shocks us into action.”
The United States has never signed the Protocol, present commitments from other nations expire on December 31. AFP says: “The EU, Australia and some small Kyoto parties have said they would take on commitments in a followup period, but New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Russia will not.” But too many politicians in Japan, Russia and the U. S. don’t admit that Global Warming exists.
Our nation needs to move up from this ignorance about the planet’s pending demise. As used Christian Bibles proclaims: “Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff [stubborn] neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another (Psalms 75: 5-7).
Not to be overly dramatic by paraphazing Yeat’s poem, ‘The Second Coming,’ but Hurricane Sandy has irrevocably changed the lives of those on the East Coast it has displaced, and its affects threaten the essence of modern life.
As James Atlas wrote for the New York Times in ‘Is This the End?’: “We’d seen it before: the Piazza San Marco in Venice submerged by the acqua alta; New Orleans underwater in the aftermath of Katrina; the wreckage-strewn beaches of Indonesia left behind by the tsunami of 2004. We just hadn’t seen it here.”
But he adds, New York City had ample warnings of Global Warming’s dire threat. Three years ago, NYC’s Panel on Climate Change issued a foreboding report: “In the coming decades, our coastal city will most likely face more rapidly rising sea levels and warmer temperatures, as well as potentially more droughts and floods, which will all have impacts on New York City’s critical infrastructure.”
Thus, Atlas summarizes: “there’s a good chance that New York City will sink beneath the sea.” In anticipatory contrast, the City and its State could also sink under the financial load left in Sandy’s wake. Michael Gormley’s Associated Press story, ‘Cuomo: Sandy Cost NY, NYC $32B in Damage and Loss,’ indicates that Governor Cuomo expects the federal government to pick up this tab. Cuomo’s estimate includes Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $19 billion for our largest city.
And, Gormley continues, these totals do “not include an additional accounting of over $9 billion to head off damage in the next disastrous storm, including steps to protect the power grid and cellphone network.”
Power grids and cell phones––essential elements for today’s lifestyle. Sandy and so many other storms have well proven that electrical power sources should be piped underground, but politicians don’t touch this simple solution in public.
They also don’t discuss the insanity of rebuilding on the same sand-weak beaches that Sandy’s ‘relatives’ can so easily destroy. As James D. Fraser, Sarah M. Karpanty and Daniel H. Catlin discuss in ‘We’re Too Close To The Sea’ for the Washington Post: “Billions of dollars have been spent building seawalls, jetties, beaches and dunes, in efforts to control water flow and sediment movement and, ultimately, to stabilize dynamic shorelines to protect people and property.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have often failed. All engineered solutions, whether “hard construction” such as seawalls or ‘soft construction’ like dunes and beaches, have a limited life and have to be rebuilt repeatedly. . . the levels of destruction wrought by Hurricanes Katrina, Irene and Sandy show that efforts to date have been wrongly directed or insufficient.”
Success demands that we look to Almighty God. First, we must repent for ignoring Global Warming. Second we must cry out for His mercy, as wholesale Christian Bibles illustrates: “Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt (Psalm 123: 3.)”
East Coast residents still struggle to regain normalcy in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. But they have a long way to go. While people try to save their homes, city and state officials consider better safe-border regulations, and the federal government looks for ways to pay for it all.
John Murphy, Chief of Field Operations for the Buildings Department in Queens, New York, has inspected some 1,000 homes on the Rockaway Peninsula to determine which ones can be saved. Murphy’s department has assessed some 80,000 buildings and publicly classified them according to degree of damage: a green card duct-taped to a home indicates stability; a yellow sign means excessive damage and restricts access; and a red card indicates the house is unsafe.
The New York Times reports that, although Joanne Brand’s house in Breezy Point, Queens, has a red placard on it because Sandy moved it off its foundation by a few yards and left it at a 30-degree angle, Murphy says it can still be saved.
Murphy also figures some red-card house have enough structural support to be saved. But about 200 homes, most of them in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, are not savable, according to his department.
The New York Post claims that some red-card houses will soon be fined $2,000 a day if owners do not have them torn down. Other homeowners complain that building codes, construction permits, and other red tape can cost up to $ 8,000. And after that comes enormous costs for reconstruction with new ‘safety’ codes.
Other considerations include help from FEMA, flood insurance payments, and whether coastal borders remain the same as Sandy thoroughly shattered protective sand dune walls: i.e. in Fire Island dunes 75 feet deep are gone.
But a team from Virginia Tech say all of this discussion is for naught because America is just too close to the sea, and we should retreat from the seas in a planned and orderly manner. A team there led by James D. Fraser proclaims:
“Coastal storms have killed thousands of people and have caused more than $250 billion in damages in the past 12 years. Costs are increasing with each storm because more and more people live, and build infrastructure, in risky places. . . The population density of U.S. coastal counties increased 28 percent from 1980 to 2003, to about 153 million. Clearly, coastal development must be rethought.”
With this in mind, citizens in Louisiana and Alabama tell the East Coast that FEMA has yet to pay them for storm losses. Businesses have not been restored, and some homeowners still live in government trailers.
Indeed America must do a lot of rethinking about its coast lines, and about Global Warming. And re-praying as well. God promises in Bible prophecies that judgment can begin at a nation’s coast line: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast (Ezekiel 25: 26).”
Dear Father, thank you for the abundant food with which You have blessed America with this year, for our stores stocked with good fresh and healthy good. Truly You have blessed the United States of America. We pray for those who do not have homes or families. We ask You to give them comfort and community.
Even as we lament the loss of life and property on the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy, we are thankful for so many wonderful acts people have done to help those who lost homes and belongings in that storm. We thank you for New York police officer Arthur Kasprzak who lost his own life after getting all of his family––including his 15 month old son––out of a rapidly flooding basement.
We thank you for the thousands of men and women in the Armed Services who rushed in to rescue victims of Hurricane Sandy, and who stayed behind to feed and shelter them. We also think you for the mayors and governors who You strenghtened to stand faithfully through all of this turmoil. Please bless them.
And we thank you for the new crop of civilian volunteers arriving daily to provide food, shelter, clothing and medical attention to those thousands stranded in strange places, kept away from unsafe homes, without secure shelter, or hot bath, or the many comforts that most of us take for granted.
Our Prayers: Father, we thank You for the thousands of brave men and women in uniform stationed around the world to protect us. Please keep them safe and bring them home soon. And Father, forgive us for the shoddy neglect we offer them when they return home. Help us to change. Give them healing, family reconciliation and full employment when they return home.
And we thank You that––for all of our failings––we are still the greatest nation on earth. Help us to live up to the good in our history, and to be more worthy of all the kind blessings You have given.
Our Repentance: Father, we ask Your forgiveness that for our stubborn disbelief about Global Warming. We were wrong to ignore the evidence of melting Arctic ices, more violent storms, and parading diseases. And we pray for those Sandy hit in the Caribbean who don’t begin to have our types of survival resources.
Please give us more leaders who admit that Global Warming is a dangerous threat to our future. We look at the havoc on the East Coast, and this summer’s droughts in the West and realize we may not be able to weather another year as destructive. So please help our leaders to build better Global Warming defenses.
Knowing that we do not deserve more of Your grace, we nonetheless pray Your forgiveness, and ask You to continue Your Hand of Blessing on Our Land, because, as Christian Prayer Books assert: “Thou, even Thou, art LORD alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth Thee (Nehemiah 9: 6).”
To watch the full length of Congressional Hearings on the New England Compounding Center (NECC) debacle was both painful and infuriating. Painful to watch Margaret Hamburg, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, squirm from discomforting questions. Infuriating to see Barry Cadden, NECC co-owner, plead fifth amendment Constitutional protection to avoid responsibility.
I agree with what David Morgan and Bill Berkrot report for Reuters in ‘U.S. Congress Takes Aim at FDA Over Meningitis Outbreak’: “In a highly contentious hearing that lasted four hours, committee members repeatedly accused FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg of failing to answer questions about FDA authority and a lack of action against NECC.
“Hamburg in turn insisted that the FDA lacks clear authority to regulate compounding pharmacies due to conflicting court rulings and other regulatory ambiguities.” And so they went round and round, with neither side giving in. Hamburg never admitted that FDA should have done more. But she should have!
Instead Hamburg repeatedly asked Congress to more clearly define FDA’s authority over compounding agencies, and (with the help of maps showing limited FDA oversight) craft laws preventing regional courts from siding with compounding businesses to prevent FDA oversight. Yet the nation cannot be comforted by Hamburg’s defensiveness. While she lamented those killed and sickened by NECC negligence, she accepted no responsibility for FDA’s failures.
In contrast, Dr. Lauren Smith, recently appointed Interim Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, had fired or demoted staff members for failed oversight of NECC. And she had also sent Congress all files related to these incidents. Hamburg, meanwhile, has held none of her staff accountable, and she has not supplied Congress any files on the various cases.
So the Congressional Committee (which is on vacation this week) is suppose to write laws to straighten out this mess before the end of the year. It won’t happen, because: 1) According to Hamburg, the FDA has no idea how many compounding agencies are operating in this country, nor does it know the volume of drugs these agencies mix and ship across the country or to servicemen overseas;
2) Apparently the FDA has different rules and protocols of authority and communication with 50 individual states––there is no ‘one size fits all’ rule in place; 3) Also no protocol exists to compel states to communicate with the FDA or with one another about possible renegade compounding companies; 4) Congress has not held sufficient oversight over the FDA or compounding agencies since 1997, and even then their laws were vague, without definitions of pharmacies or compounders, or other essentials, etc., etc., etc.
Our nation’s only hope is prayer and dependence upon God’s grace. As used Christian books tell us: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2: 8).” How we thank God for that gift!
John J., Jr.: Once West Nile Virus, and the Meningitis thing sprang up, Jael put our Global Warming Conference on hold. Then she had us lookin’ for stories on people who died with same-lookin’ ‘sympteems’, but “were misdiagnosed.”
And just as as we was knee-deep in down-loaded copies of news stories, morgue notices, doctors’ summaries, with medical terms we didn’t understand––Hurricane Sandy hit. And you guessed it! She has Newsworthy, Ad Versary, all of us doing triple-time on Hurricane fall-out.
Sissy: Take it easy on Jael John J. We’s all worken hard, startin’ with Jael herself! We’s dependent on cell phones and a few emails trying to keep up with scores of private citizen volunteers working out of churches have organized themselves into relief teams as military troops have left. Very little help is coming from the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and the usual folks the country expects.
Allie: What I want to know is how come the country wasn’t better prepared for storms like Sandy. Scientists and folks like us been warnin’ them ‘bout Global Warming for years. No excuse to not be better ready. Some folks don’t have toilet facilities, drinking water, heat, clothes––just bare things you need to live.
John J.: You’re right Allie: Lt. General Russel Honore who took command in straightenin’ things out after Hurricane Katrina says that it takes long-term work and planning to help these victims. It just can’t be done in a few weeks. But people up North in New York and New Jersey don’t seem to understand that.
Farley: Yep! You’re right Allie. And the docs are just beginning to look at the sewer filth now washin’ up, and the sicknesses that’s gonna cost. And news reports say city engineers don’t know how to stop that stuff from spewing out.
John J: Anyhow, Dr. Ad Versery says he is working on results of the House of Representatives subcommittee investigating shenanigans goin’ on in that FDA, Massachusetts health people, and them alleged criminals at that New England Compounding Center. He says it seems like no one is in charge of medicine now.
Arlene: Has anybody seen what’s happening with West Nile Virus? The Centers for Disease Control said last week that now the disease is in 48 states, with a total of 5,128 cases and it has killed 229 people. So these mosquitos are still bitting even in colder weather? Why can’t these science geniuses come up with vaccines for these viruses anyway?
Rev. Reprieslty: Oh my goodness kids. Sounds like things are getting worse, not better. If there were ever a time our nation needed The LORD Jesus, it is now. It’s like we’re in a war zone, but we just don’t know it. Do you remember Hosea 4: 6 from our Bible verse cards: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee . . .” Let us ‘stand in the gap’ for the United States and turn to God in prayer and repentance!
As Sarah Newsworthy is simply overwhelmed with various aspects of Hurricane Sandy affecting so many Americans in its aftermath, she asked me to deal with insurance ramifications for home owner and for states. But she has done me no favors: This too is proving to be a confusing and heavily-burdened task!
First, most home owners insurance coverage does not include damage from flooding, but if damage was caused by a different failure that allowed flooding, there may possibly be coverage.
Second, a storm’s ‘name’ when it hits your state can determine your coverage and liability. Bob Hunter, head of insurance for Consumer Federation of America says:“ If you are in New Jersey, for example, and the storm hits as a hurricane on the coast, but downgrades to a tropical storm by the time it hits your house, the higher hurricane deductible may still apply to your claim.”
Third, in the recent decades of destructions from Global Warming, insurance companies may opt out of paying anything at all. According to Reuters: “. . . many insurers have “anti-concurrent causation clauses” in policies now that say if you have damage from multiple causes, say wind and flooding, where wind is covered but flooding is not––they won’t cover anything at all.”
Fourth, even if you have the federal government’s flood insurance, you may still have a struggle collecting, because that program is going broke, and Congress is not anxious to re-fund it. So says writers Eric Lipton, Felicity Barringer and Mary Williams in ‘Flood Insurance, Already Fragile, Faces New Stress:’
“The federal government’s flood insurance program, which fell $18 billion into debt after Hurricane Katrina, is once again at risk of running out of money as the daunting reconstruction from Hurricane Sandy gets under way.
“Early estimates suggest that Hurricane Sandy will rank as the nation’s second-worst storm for claims paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program. With 115,000 new claims submitted and thousands more being filed each day, the cost could reach $7 billion at a time when the program is allowed, by law, to add only an additional $3 billion to its onerous debt.”
These reporters explain that homeowners on the national flood insurance program would have to an exorbitant amount in monthly premiums to accurately reflect market insurance rates. As it is those with federally-backed mortgages in areas at high risk for flooding can pay up to $ 3,000 a year for flood insurance.
Number umpteenth: In these end-time days, remember that old adage about insurance companies: They give great coverage until you need it! In contrast, God’s insurance is never-fail and it’s free.
Hebrews 7: 22 in used Christian Bibles says: “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.” That word ‘surety’ is the insurance in God’s Word filled His promises of love, grace, and mercy to all who accept His Son.
As of this evening some 19 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the skirmish between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza. International leaders from the United States, the United Nations and others are trying to negotiate a cease-fire.
So far neither side has backed down, and Israel, threatening to start a ground war, has moved troops to the border of Palestine. According to Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor––Israeli Home Defense Minister Avi Dichter expounds: “There is no precedent in history of destroying terror by air power alone.” Israel’s claims it has not responded for weeks as Hamas pounded its southern borders with rockets. But Hamas counters that Israel declared war on Palestine, and that they are merely defending themselves.
Most of the 750 rockets Hamas has fired from Gaza missed targets where people live, some even going into the sea. Before today, a few have hit homes and caused injuries. While the weapons do terrorize Israeli citizens, Murphy insists: “The vast majority of the rockets from Gaza are like C-minus high school science fair projects, carry limited amounts of explosive, and are impossible to aim.”
However, today one Hamas rocket hit the top floor of an apartment building just 15 miles from Gaza, killing two men and one woman, and injuring a baby and several adults with shrapnel. In contrast, Murphy does point out that Hamas also has “an arsenal of Fajr rockets from Iran, that have much farther ranges.” So one of Israel’s aims is to take out the launch pads for those more powerful rockets.
Certain factors were suppose to be in place to prevent a restart of this decades-old war. The United States pays Egypt hefty financial support each year to act as mediator between the parties, but the current Egyptian government––newly elected since the Arab Spring––is not showing the necessary neutrality:
Isabel Kershner and Rick Gladstone of the New York Times quote Egyptian Premier Mohamed Morsi thusly: “The Egyptian people, the Egyptian leadership, the Egyptian government and all of Egypt is standing with all its resources to stop this assault, to prevent the killing and the bloodshed of Palestinians.”
The historical seven-day war wherein Israel routed multiple Arab nations simultaneously should have warned Arab nations of Israel’s strength. But by the same token, Israel must recognize that too much of the world is not on its side, and that Palestinians, and other Arab nations, will not always be the weaker ones. Israelis must also admit that not just the Middle East, but the entire world is endangered because its aggressive stance could well lead to World War III.
As wholesale Christian Bibles advise in Luke 14: 27-32, it is better to count costs of a war before starting it: “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.” Its better to heed the peace-makers before final terrors start!
All facets of this nation––governments, businesses, insurers and private home owners––must wake up to the fact of Global Warming. It is not going away. If each part of the economic whole persists on ‘low cost’ prominence continuing, then we will see more deaths, injuries and unprepared-for destruction here at home.
Political leaders who deny the realities of Global Warming––and then block those working to ameliorate its ravages––must face public backlash. Moreover, homeowners, real estate brokers, insurance companies, etc. who fight to preserve the status quo for the sake of ‘property values’ now gamble with peoples lives, and indeed the economic survival of the entire nation. Enough! We must face reality!
Eric Lipton, Felicity Barringer and Mary Walsh, write in ‘Flood Insurance, Already Fragile, Faces New Stress:’ “Some communities have long resisted imposing more appropriate building codes to prevent damage, putting the program at further risk of devastating losses when storms like Hurricane Sandy hit.”
They also write: “More than one million property owners who live in homes at least four decades old also have historically paid only about 40 percent of the estimated true cost of the coverage the government provides — in large part because of lobbying by the real estate industry, mortgage brokers, homeowners associations and other groups to keep federal authorities from charging more.”
For instance, in ‘Norfolk Weighs Stricter Rules For Flood Prevention,’ Julian Nolin points to governments and home owners in Norfolk, Virginia, who are trying to weigh neighborhood aesthetics against these sureties of incoming flood waters.
Fighting proposals to raise properties higher, contractor Dick Gresham argues: “That’s fine for new construction, but what concerns me is that Norfolk’s existing housing stock could be diminished because the existing houses would have to be torn down or at great expense elevated. It takes away from the fabric and beauty of neighborhoods when all of a sudden you start jacking up houses.”
Apparently by ‘diminished housing stock’ Gresham refers to property values. But he doesn’t point out that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already given Norfolk millions of dollars to prepare its properties for storms like Sandy. Obviously, some branches of governments know what Global Warming is bringing to Planet Earth! And it is time for the rest of us to get in line!
In addition, many have gone back to federal flood insurance tills dozens of times to do the impossible––i.e. repair houses over and over again that should never have been built in flood plains. Hence, the federal flood insurance program is going broke. The same communities that resist building codes necessary to confront rising oceans, also resist paying necessarily high insurance coverage.
An urgent entry in Bible verse cards is from Proverbs 16: 18––“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Its great to have pride in one’s home and neighborhood, but not at the cost of human lives! With storms like Hurricane Sandy coming, we must put human safety above aesthetic beauty.