tv Inside Story Al Jazeera June 4, 2015 5:30am-6:01am EDT
>> in a future where our cars will one day be online, it's a worrying time for experts. they have a long unpredictable road ahead. don't forget find out more about that and the rest of the day's news on the website. [ ♪♪ ] in india more than 1,000 die from the unendurable heat. in drought stricken texas, houston is under water. in california, lakes and rivers are not underwater. we can argue about the cause, what extreme weather means, but it's hard to argue that we are ready for it. coping with extremes is the "inside story".
[ ♪ music ♪ ] welcome to nds rj, i'm ray suarez -- "inside story", i'm ray suarez. you can go around and around on the why, the cause, but recent weeks brought enough unusual weather event that endless arguments is beside the point. alaska broke 80 degrees, parched texas had too much water almost everywhere, and tornados for good measureful california ramped up water restrictions to new heights as may saw no snow pack. the mountain tops melting run-off. it was bear. no snow. more than 1,000 died from extreme heat. after months of extremes the old saying everyone talks about
the weather, no one can do anything about it, may need a rethink. that's the raw power of mother capital. >> this is nuts a powerful storm, uprooting trees in downtown d.c. it's nothing compared to extreme weather that has been pummelling the rest of the country and other parts of the world. >> we have a roof. >> an outbreak of tornados ravaging the states in may. >> large vortex tornado on the ground. >> communities in kansas, nebraska, oklahoma, texas, shredded by funnel clouds. it wasn't just tornado alley that took a beating. 13 were killed when a twister touched down in mexico. producing rain that left parts of region under water. >> to the north, parts of new england are recovering from a record-setting winter.
that is not a garbage dump, it's a 3-storey pile refusing to melt in downtown boston. two months ago it was twice as big after more than 9.5 feet of powder blanketed the region. it was the polar opposite in the west where many were not able spin their lifts due to a lack of snow. >> i asked this gentleman, have you stood in this meadow on a day there wasn't snow. he said no . low snow pack is making the worse drought worse. other parts of the globe are suffering extreme conditions, 2400 are dying in a heat wave in india, most forcing day labourers to work outdoors. >> what can we do, we are poor. if we don't work, how will we feed ourselves. >>
temperatures topping 114 last week. on the surface it seems some major weather patterns are changing. hurricane sandy devastating new york and new jersey three years ago. hurricane katrina in 2005. the costliest weather relied disaster history. residents in the south say rising tides are chewing away at the shore leans as the planet warms and polar ice melts. >> it's been here a long time, and around a long time. my wife and i are convinced it's global warming. >> if you look at the numbers, it's tough to deny something is happening. that boils down to about an inch every dozen years or a full food over the course of 120 years. new satellite data indicates the rate has accelerated since 1992. 2011 was a record-setting year
for tornados, nearly 900 twisters in the u.s. 1973 was the only other year that came close. when you break it down to violent tornados, f3 or higher, 1973 was worse. the national weather service started to keep track in the 1950s. and the sea level data dated back to the 20th century. it could be considered the blink of an eye for a planet thought to be more than 4 billion years old. joining me now is douglas sister son. senior manager at the u.s. department of energy's atmospheric measurement climate research facility at argon national laboratories, welcome to the programme. are there more extreme weather event or are we just paying more attention? >> well, there's quantifiably more extreme weather event
frequency. >> what can we point to as sign posts, perhaps as causes? is there moisture in the atmosphere world. is there more energy in the form of heat? >> yes to all of those, if we think of climate and weather, and the relationship. climate is sort of a 30-year average of the weather where we live. imagine taking hourly measurements, and keeping track of them for 30 years, so that average would tell us what we would speb, but the day to day weather is what we get. what we are concerned about is the climate has not changed drastically over the last several thousand years, and the question that we are worried about is it seems that the weather patterns have changed which consistently shows that it is not predictable. something must be happening. we understand that climate is
more or less a constraint for the weather. climate is changing and weather patterns are changing, in a way that you will see more extreme weather events. >> for instance, when people talk about 100 years, or 1,000-year storms, we don't have one. >> exactly. i could give you a study done by the illinois state water stay, and they looked at rain fall in the city of chicago. in the last 150 years of collecting the data, the earliest 130 years had only one occurrence of 100 year event. that's what you would expect of things changing. in the next 10 years, with had one 100 year event in 10 years. in the last, the most recent, we had 500 year event. this is what is alarming. we see that the frequency of the
extreme events not only was rainfall, but other things, snow fall, drought, fires, they are all changing. this 1 in 100 year event seems to be occurring every year. >> a meterology professor at the university of georgia says when it rains hard, it rains harder than it did 20-30 years ago. this is not something that old folks talk about. this has practical consequences, doesn't it? >> it does. i remember growing up we used to have garden variety thunder storms. it would be nice to sit on a porch listening to the background of the thunder and rain pitter pattering on the roof. unfortunately, these days, it seems like almost every rain event we have was potential for extreme weather. they were running for the basement. that has increased in intensity.
what is interesting is that what we are thinking about how the climate looked in the future. take a look now. this is what it will look like. we'll have maybe not more of these raisents, but the event will be more extreme. we'll go through greater extremes of no rain and lots of rain at once. i'm picking out rain, and other meteorological things as well. things that we are noticing over time, less or more cloud cover. less or more moisture in places. your lab is taking the measurements. what are you finding. >> we are finding that the atmosphere is getting warmer. there is a correlation that could be made. warmer air will hold more moisture. the complication begins there. how does it feed back to all the
processes that mother nature has. so if we get more, we can have more clouds, more rain fall, but it depends where the clouds are. it turns out that some clouds actually shield the amount of energy coming into the atmosphere and cool it in certain parts of the world. for now we have the complication that cools the atmosphere. depends whether they have water or ice crystals. the interaction is complicated. it's actually a solar umbrella that has cases returning heat back to space, and in some cases the cars are trapping the heat greater than green house gases. we look for the positive feed backs towards warming and negative feed backs to cooling, and look at the different scenarios that might occur that
when you sum them up, does it end up as a cooler or warmer environment. unfortunately, what we are saying is it leads to a warmer environment and you'll have more cloud, rain fall, and periods of locations where we have other extremes where there's no rain fall and drought. and it feeds back to ecology, plants, animals and species and health realitied. related -- related. >> the natural world thrives on predictability. if some of these events that you expect every now and then happen all he time, you can't plan if you are a mying at tri animal or if you are a bird. it seems to be knocking a lot of things out of whack. matter of fact, it's whacking
everything out of whack. if we think about how we are so depend on the weather. and as long as it's behaving in the normal raping, that's a comfortable environment -- normal range, that's a comfortable environment. we choose where we want to live and enjoy the climate region. animals have to adapt. they are not as might at tri as they may need to be. and adapt with a changing weather pattern. you are right. we are creatures of habit. we want to understand what tomorrow will bring, or a month or a year from now. those are uncertain now. >> douglas, joinings us from chicago. thanks a lot. >> extreme weather is posing threats to the livelihood of plunging. in the tropics, to infrastructure as scene with super-storm sandy, if extreme
>> we're here to fully get into the nuances of everything that's going on not just in this country but around the world. getting the news from the people who are affected. >> people need to demand reform... >> ali velshi on target weeknights 10:30p et you're watching "inside story". the wild weather over the last several months has gotten the world's attention, lives lost, property destroyed. if as widely predicted, extremes are the more daily normal events, how do we cope. joining me from studio city california, is brian holland. director of the climate programme from local and environmental issues, and associations of cities and counties, and they are in washington d.c., brenda, senior science
siften tist focused on building a better safer world. are we willing to spend the money it may take to build communities able to withstand some of what mather nature is dishing out. >> yes. it's a good question. you know, it's willingness and necessity. these events are happening now. they are happening at home, and every region of the country, it's a question of do we want to spend money to prepare, to reduce the risks up front and invest in the communities at the same time. or do we want to spend it on the back end, reacting and responding in the aftermath of disasters. researchers show it's cost effective to invest upfront. a lot of cities and counties are doing around the countries. >> it's taking a lot to convince
people that it's happening, which may help to make them want to spend money. >> absolutely. there are three things creating disaster risk, one is exposure to disaster, the vulnerability to the population, and the weather and climate that threw event. back in the 1900s human decisions affected the first two. now science is telling us that the third factor, weather and climate, there's an influence of human activities, making some events more severe, and the stronger. >> a lot of people live in vulnerable places on the planet. if you are in noirnedia, and it's going to be triple digit temperatures all day, you can't say "oh, i'll go inside and turn the ac", you have to work. the work of the community has to be done. does it force changes in the
pattern of daily life? >> absolutely, especially people in india forced to work outdoors for their livelihoods. this is a terrible choice. if you don't understand the health risk of being outside and extreme heat when monsoon rains have not come as they should in this situation, the extreme heat can be very - at the threat of your survival. we have to have cooling centers, places br people can go. we can have better health preparedness to reduce exposures. we can do better. >> brian, for city managers and county officials who might think some of what they read is hyperbolic, does dollars and cents close the sale. can they look at the park. and say we can't be in a position where it can be
destroyed every five years. >> sure. >> a lot of investments make sense for other years. the things that the counties are doing to build resilient communities are things that help goals. you mentioned this disproportionate impact on the poor in noirnedia. there are disadvantaged communities in the u.s. that are also calling for greater support, greater investment, and are disproportionately disadvantaged by these event. you have communities living in higher risk areas. at the same time they are more sensitive to being exposed to some of these events. living in housing not built up to current codes, and a lot of
times have less ability to adapt. communities that speak english as a second language. they have less motive to adapt. investment in the communities to provide green space, improve public health. it can build the resilience of the communities. in so many ways not just economically but socially and environmentally. brian and brenda, please stand by. this week in germany, a radical transformation was needed to blulent the effects of clak. the message go big, or go home. is the world doing smaller scale things reducing the burning of funnels and release of co2 into the atmosphere, why so much of the world is not picking the low-hanging fruit. stay with us, it's "inside story".
we are back with nds rrg, and are -- "inside story", and are talking with how the world is coping with extreme weather event, and what it would take to get more extreme weather reports. >> today in the united arab emirates - okay, it's hot - it was 124 degrees farenheit, spending more life indoors. only uses more energy. back now with brian holland, director of the programme for international council for local and environmental initial ties. and the senior scientist. are we doing the easy thing, people talk about how give it is to do the massive things, but
are we saving in easy ways. >> you're right. we can do more. individuals can upgrade to more energy efficient waves of living. on a national and international level. we have to man about preparing our community for climate change. in order to do that. instead of reacting to disasters, and spending tonnes of money on that. after it's too late and property and lives are lost, we can do a better job at protecting communities. if you will, the first responders are planning for the next disaster. that to me is a reel hero. they can avoid the disasters. everyone can ask the local up to , village. is my community investing, do we need money, where is it coming from.
these are the questions we'll hear more about. people are alert to being reared to do anything. it's a tough thing, if you are running a county or city across america, to say this is with it. >> sure. unfortunately, a lot of communities are getting out in front of this. sort of taking action before it's required per se, recognising that there are a lot of benefits to building more resilient communities, not just being safer and stronger and bouncing back. creating places that have a better quality of life. taking care of their residents, improving public health. we have seen a network of over 1,000 cities. in the u.s., more than 200 sign
on. resilient communities, riding the action plans, and sharing success stories. seeing what is working, transferring the lessons, and scaling up. a lot of this leadership is coming from the local level before anyone is requiring it of them, i guess. >> at some point is the insurance industry going to put pressure on communities to say look, you can't build that way any more, we will not underwrite it, because we don't want to pay to rebuild it? >> absolutely, yes. it's an important dynamic, we are seeing a little bit of that. a lawsuit brought by reinsure against communities in chicago, who supposedly hadn't done enough for reflooding. what you see more of is cities and insurers, both share the
same interests in reducing risks. cities, communities, insurers, so they can continue to offer affordable coverage in the markets. collaboration, finding news ways of financing. we are seeing a lot of collaboration in cities. re assurance in particular. >> there's a couple - do we have a chance to do it right. we have more access to energy, more alternate reducing the administrations to root cause, making the events more severe, and we can build more resilient cities, because more are moving were urban areas to rural areas, and we need to have a sustainable community protecting everyone
brian holland, the director of climate programme from international local environmental initiatives. brepda, the senior climate scientist at the union of concerned scientists. i'll be back in a moment with the last thought on emissions and opinions. if you want to follow us on twitter, you can. to enter a conversation, visit facebook, and let us know what's on your mind.
i was reading the comments thread following a story on climate change, on a popular news website. i know, i use it as a way of checking out what ideas are in america's news. one comment made me look twice, someone calling himself jim said in part imagine if every day of the year where you live were 1.5 degrees farenheit warmer, how much would it affect climate in your area. mass heat waves, severe storms and flooding. i didn't think so. most americans still insulate from the worst of the weather by living in a temperate zone. if you are from india or the potentials or a native alaska watching your town slide into the ocean, or you are trying to sleep in india in hopes that you
may be able to work that evening, you don't have the luxury of resetting the thermostat. are you a farmer in arab ethiopia. slaughter months ahead of schedule because the price of feed is sky rocketing. yes, i didn't think so. thank you for joining us for time. i'm ray suarez. >> on hard earned, inspiring new beginnings... >> these workers got the fight in them, they just don't know it. >> facing up to old demons... >> i am really really nervous... >> lives hanging in the balance... >> it's make or break... i got past the class... >> hard earned pride... hard earned respect...
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