Activists propose naming hurricanes after politicians who deny climate change

August 27, 2013

Environmental activists are petitioning the World Meteorological Organization (WHO) to start naming storms after policy makers who deny human's role in driving climate change.

Campaigners with 350.org, an advocacy organization that is pushing to reduce carbon dioxide levels from the current 400 ppm to 350 ppm, have launched ClimateNameChange.org to rally support for their proposal to revise the WHO's naming system for tropical storms. Currently hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons receive randomly selected names in alphabetical order.

Instead 350.org wants storms to be named after politicians who refuse to accept that greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to rising global temperatures. It cites Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) as examples of prominent climate change deniers.

A spate of studies indicate that climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of tropical storms in most parts of the world. Water temperatures above 82 degrees are needed to sustain a hurricane. Rising sea levels could exacerbate the economic impact of tropical storms.

350.org plans to present the petition to the WHO once it has attained 25,000 signatures.

The path of every hurricane between 1851-2012. Given the predicted rise in ocean temperature — surface temperatures above 82 degrees F (28°C) are needed for a hurricane to strengthen — a number of studies have forecast increased hurricane activity in coming decades. Visualization developed by John Nelson.

AUTHOR: Jeremy Hance joined Mongabay full-time in 2009. He currently serves as senior writer and editor. He has also authored a book.

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Activists propose naming hurricanes after politicians who deny climate change.