Walter E. Williams

President Bush, in his post-Hurricane Katrina address to the nation, said, "And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility." Accepting the blame for the federal response is one thing, but I hope he doesn't shoulder the blame for the hurricane itself.
 
In a Sept. 9th speech to the National Sierra Club Convention in San Francisco, former Vice President Al Gore told the audience that Hurricane Katrina and global warming are related. He warned, "We will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming."

 Our European allies, most of whom have signed the Kyoto Protocol, have been scathing in their attacks on President Bush. "Katrina Should Be a Lesson to the U.S. on Global Warming," read a headline of the German magazine Der Spiegel. Jurgen Tritten, Germany's environment minister and a Green Party member, said, "The American president is closing his eyes to the economic and human costs his land and the world economy are suffering under natural catastrophes like Katrina."

 Writing in the Aug. 30th edition of the Boston Globe, Ross Gelbspan said, "The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming." President Bush, according to Gelbspan, is to blame because he's taken his environmental policy from "big oil and big coal."

 Major categories 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes are relatively rare. If you check out the website of the National Hurricane Center (www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastdec.shtml?), you'll find that the most active hurricane decade was 1941-50 -- recording 24 hurricanes, with 10 of them being giant category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes. The peak for major hurricanes (categories 3, 4 5) came in the decades of the 1890s, 1930s and 1940s -- an average of nine per decade. Of the 92 giant hurricanes that have struck the U.S. mainland between 1851 and 2004, 61 of them occurred before 1950, long before global warming was an issue.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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