Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour


I heard people on the TV say                                  E   E7
Big trouble gonna come our way.                          A   E   B7
Been raining every night and day.                         E  G#7  C#m7
Fake weather, we get it play by play.                     F#7  B7 B+5
We got fake water, ‘bout 5 foot deep,we got         E    E7sus4
Fake motorboats in the street, but                         A   A#dim6
I don’t care.                                                                  E   C#7
I know it ain’t really there!                                       F#7  B7  E

My neighbor says it’s just too warm,
And it’s making such a perfect storm.
Hot water means hotter air, it means
Big hurricanes everywhere.
And they move water from here to there.
It’s just science, fair & square.
But I don’t care.
I know it ain’t really there!

My gov’nor says it’s all BS,                                         A  A#dim
It’s all fake science and liberal press.                       E   E7sus4
And my man in the White House says it’s fake,     A   A#dim
And I know he doesn’t make mistakes!                   E  C#7  F#7  B7
We’re just too big and we’re much too great
To get it wrong in the Lone Star State.
So I don’t care
I know it ain’t really there!  

Houston, we’ve got a problem.                            C#m — G#7 —
Houston, we’ve got a problem.                            C#m  E7   A7    G#7

We might have a problem here,                          A   A#dim
Storm of the century every year.                         E   C#m7  Bm7
This water is gettin’ old.                                        A  A#dim
It ain’t real, but it sure is cold!                            E  C#m  F#7  B7 —
And I keep hopin it’ll be alright,                         E   E7sus4
Just keepin my eyes shut tight.                           A  A#dim
And I don’t care                                                     E  C#7
I know it ain’t really there!                                  F#7  B7  E
I don’t care
I know it ain’t really there!
I know it ain’t really there!

©Doug Hendren, 2017

What’s it about? It’s no secret why hurricanes are getting bigger. This 2019 article from Business Insider has a clear and well-illustrated explanation of how planetary warming makes hurricanes “stronger, slower and wetter.” Climate Signals outlines the basics of “extreme precipitation increase,” including how deluges follow heat waves, and warmer surface water creates much larger and more powerful hurricanes.

Why, then, are we so slow in connecting the dots? Many otherwise intelligent  who have in good faith followed their political leaders into ignoring our climate emergency.  Many people, however, are waking up from the trance spun by politicians, news media, and the powerful corporate interests they serve.

At some point, the truth becomes obvious. Many good people in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean basin are coping with a difficult moment of recognition even as they face crushing, mostly uninsured personal losses. They deserve our support. They also deserve leaders who tell the truth and serve them rather than a few wealthy corporations.

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped an astonishing 51 inches of rain on the people of Houston.  Harvey was followed within days by highly destructive hurricanes Irma, Maria and Jose.

Texas politicians, some of the most active opponents of action on climate, include Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz, and Rep. Lamar Smith. Houston is the epicenter of the global oil industry, and connecting the political dots is not difficult.

Harvey is the most costly disaster in US history, estimated at $190 billion.  Most of these costs are uninsured, landing squarely on the people of Texas. Before Harvey, the costliest US disaster was Katrina, from which New Orleans has not fully recovered. Sandy was devastating to New York, and could easily have been Providence or Boston. Sixty million Americans live in coastal cities, all playing Russian Roulette with increasingly menacing storms going forward.

Politicians often claim that fossil fuels are essential to our economy. In the 21st century, this is no longer true. Today, the carbon economy has become exceedingly dangerous. Just as the real cost of smoking includes cancer and heart disease, the real cost of the carbon economy includes extreme hurricanes, wildfires, pollution, climate mitigation, and, ultimately, the destruction of capital represented by some of America’s greatest cities. This is no bargain.

It’s time to start paying less attention to politicians and more attention to science. The basic facts of climate change are quite simple: Earth is warmer than it used to be, mainly from fossil fuel combustion. Half of all fossil fuel combustion in human history has happened since 1986. For hurricanes forming in the Atlantic, further warming of equatorial waters is like adding jet fuel. Warmer water means warmer air, which holds more moisture and adds energy to the forming hurricane. The result is storms that are bigger, have higher winds, and move more water from one place to another. The basics are not difficult. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!


What we know about the climate change-hurricane connection. Scientific American

Harvey. Irma. Maria. Why is this hurricane season so bad? Washington Post.

Harvey, Irma, Maria: This is the hurricane season scientists expected…and feared.

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