Do President Bush and so-called “global warming” have anything to do with the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina?

Climate change devastated New York City in last year’s fictional ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (courtesy: 20th Century Fox)

Yes, according to some politicians and public figures, who are already politicizing the disaster.

Among them is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a lawyer and environmentalist who is a host on the Air America Radio network.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“The science is clear,” writes Kennedy, son of slain New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, in a commentary at “This month, a study published in the journal Nature by a renowned MIT climatologist linked the increasing prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming.”

Kennedy cites a 2001 memo sent to President Bush from Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi – a state devastated by Katrina – arguing against the regulation of carbon-dioxide gases, saying Barbour himself derided the idea of regulating CO2 as “eco-extremism.”

“Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil-fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and – now – Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.”

Ross Gelbspan, author of ”The Heat Is On” and ”Boiling Point,” agrees with Kennedy, saying Katrina’s “real name is global warming.”

“Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue,” Gelbspan said.

He noted even though the storm started small, “it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.”

And from overseas, Germany’s Environmental Minister J?rgen Trittin held nothing back in his assault on Bush, stating, “The Bush government rejects international climate protection goals by insisting that imposing them would negatively impact the American economy. The American president is closing his eyes to the economic and human costs his land and the world economy are suffering under natural catastrophes like Katrina and because of neglected environmental policies.”

Climatologist Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia, a well-known critic of the theory of global warming, appeared on Fox News’ “Special Edition” to dispel the notion of that any alleged climate change had anything to do with Hurricane Katrina. He said if global warming were indeed a global phenomenon that increased hurricane activity and strength, then the change would be measurable in storms across the entire planet.

A New York Times article quoted hurricane forecaster William Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, as saying the recent onslaught “is very much natural.”

The severity of hurricane seasons changes with cycles of temperatures of several decades in the Atlantic Ocean, the article noted.

This week, radio giant Rush Limbaugh predicted a barrage of claims suggesting climate change was an underlying cause for the storm:

I was watching one of the networks, I forget which, and they went to Max Mayfield, this guy that runs the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and the reporter said, “Max! Max! What about global warming?” and you could see he looked disgusted, or annoyed. He looked annoyed with the question. “No, no, no. Global warming? We’re not talking about global warming here,” but nevertheless you can be prepared for the left to go full speed into their agenda blaming Bush for it, the government for it, and nature for it – essentially us – for what happened here, and then full-fledged liberalism will be proposed to fix everything that has been broken and replace things that have been destroyed.

Online reaction to Kennedy’s comments are mixed.

  • “Bobby, think about throwing your hat into the ring for presidency. … We need a president who truly cares for the people of this country, and more importantly, the future generations. (Martin Breau)

  • “I really appreciate Kennedy’s continued efforts to bring environmental issues to the fore in today’s political climate, but to suggest that Barbour’s efforts to fight the Kyoto protocol is in any way responsible for this hurricane is asinine and damaging to his credibility.” (Chris Christman)

  • “So Republicans are now responsible for the hurricanes? I think there’s a reason we [Democrats] can’t win elections.”

    Previous stories:

    Looters turn New Orleans into ‘downtown Baghdad’

    Insurers spared financial disaster

    ‘Intense damage’

    Hurricane pushing stocks lower

    Hurricane slams ashore, N’Orleans dodges bullet

    Nuke plant shuts down before storm hits

  • Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.