Putting a Climate Scourge’s Words to Video

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Last month, in the wake of the catastrophic Joplin tornadoes, founder Bill McKibben published a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post mocking those who show caution about linking climate change and extreme weather:

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

As you’d probably be able to tell from our posts there, I’m a lot more hesitant to automatically attribute storms, floods and other weather disasters to man-made warming, simply because the science isn’t really there. (Of course, that fact doesn’t blunt the importance of smart climate and energy policy.) We have a short memory when it comes to weather—and as Andrew Revkin has pointed out on Dot Earth, our climate has experienced massive, terrible changes well before we ever started putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

But you have to give McKibben credit for his polemical skills. And now Stephen Thomson of has put McKibben’s words to a stark video of weather destruction. Check it out: