By Bill Maher
Let’s just stipulate, yet again, that no matter how bad global warming gets, no matter how screwed we are, even if the oceans rise and a hurricane surge turns Manhattan into Venice, there will never, ever be a single storm that we’ll be able to point to as “caused” by climate change.
But Typhoon Haiyan comes pretty close.
Indisputably one of the strongest storms in the history of storms, Haiyan packed sustained winds of 196 miles per hour and gusts up to 235. To put that in perspective, the hardest gusts of Hurricane Sandy to hit New Jersey were around 95 mph or so. Obviously, that was a very different kind of storm, but still, those are some pretty insane numbers. The Philippine government actually did have its shit together when it came to planning – but there was just no way to prepare for this.
Ocean surface temperatures while Haiyan was forming were around 86 degrees. But that’s not even the whole story – the water was warm pretty deep down, so the winds didn’t churn up cold water, which is usually one of the big factors in limiting a storm’s power.
When this comes up, conservatives will sound just like gun nuts after a school shooting: they’ll talk about the need to Respond and Help and Grieve, and they’ll warn reality-based people that this is not the time to talk about climate change. But thousands dead? That’s one big-ass school shooting.