British scientist blames hurricane intensity on global warming

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and portions of the Gulf coast, and as Rita reached category 5 strength, a “leading British scientist” criticised those in the United States government who dismiss the science on global warming, calling them “loonies,” and comparing them to those “who denied that smoking causes lung cancer.”

“The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming,” [Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution which advises the [British] government] told the [Independent] newspaper in an interview.

“If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we’ve got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation,” said Lawton.

The story in the Independent cites “[a] paper by US researchers, last week in the US journal Science, [which] showed that storms of the intensity of Hurricane Katrina have become almost twice as common in the past 35 years,” and quotes Lawton saying, “”Increasingly it looks like a smoking gun. It’s a fair conclusion to draw that global warming, caused to a substantial extent by people, is driving increased sea surface temperatures and increasing the violence of hurricanes.”

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