The first time I tasted the ability to tell bad things was when I was in college. I mentioned how I got rubella when I was young. Bristling, a student from Bremen, said: “What kind of German measles is this? No German at all!” “Well, I don’t know—that’s how I called it when I was a kid,” I stammered.
In fact, this disease (now called rubella) is so called because a German scientist named Friedrich Hoffmann was the first to identify it as a unique type in the 1700s. Disease. But my classmates are distressed, which is not surprising; this reaction is now well known. To prevent inadvertent defamation, the World Health Organization now excludes geographical names from diseases and uses Greek letters to indicate new COVID variants. Therefore, what we are now worried about is not the “Indian variant”, but the less provocative pronunciation of “Delta variant”. Defamation is not always unintentional. Donald Trump often referred to COVID as the “Chinese virus” and deliberately tried to blame the Chinese for the pandemic. Either way, it is clear that naming is tantamount to humiliation.
But this may not always be a bad thing. The Germans are not responsible for rubella, but some destructive forces are actually released by bad guys. Climate disasters are a good example-so I suggest we name climate-related extreme events, such as the floods that destroyed Germany and the droughts and wildfires that afflicted the western United States, because the behavior of polluters continues to heat up despite repeated warnings from scientists. Planet.
This is an example. The National Weather Service labels tropical storms based on a list of proper names.For many years (for example, in 2020), when these names are used up, the meteorological authorities have switched to using the Greek alphabet, although this practice is Recently retired The World Meteorological Organization supports a longer list of distinguished names. But what if they switch to the list of the largest greenhouse gas emitters? Imagine if ConocoPhillips and not Hurricane Harvey swept Houston in 2017, people would make the right connections. Or if we were hit by Exxon Mobil instead of Elsa this year?
There is no reason to stop in front of a tropical storm. There are now human fingerprints in many extreme climate-related events, including hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves, and floods. If the West is currently suffering from the marathon oil drought and the Peabody Energy Thermal Dome breaks the temperature record, what impression will people get? The right one. Companies may even have the incentive to clean up their actions. For example, Royal Dutch Shell, if it follows the recent court order to drastically reduce its carbon footprint, then it may free itself from the stigmatized list.
Let us not forget the biggest emitter of methane, which is the second most important greenhouse gas.Maybe if Silco Energy The fire is burning in New Mexico and its citizens will not be so happy if the company emits emissions from its refinery operations there Much more methane per unit Than other companies produce oil or natural gas.
In North Carolina, where I live, imagine if the Duke Energy heat wave makes the summer hotter than usual.Maybe the farmers who tried to prevent the death of their crops would think twice when voting Assembly members Who made Duke one of them Least ambitious Renewable energy adopter of any major power company.Similarly, use Florida Power and Lighting The hurricane may help convince voters in Florida that the Sunshine State should actually use all potential solar energy (you think it’s easy).
Will the government adopt such an idea? Probably not, because the National Weather Service refuses to provide any names for extreme weather such as heat waves. It also did not officially recognize the name Weather Channel gave to non-hurricanes. But there is a silver lining, because without government involvement, we are free to personalize and include promoters. I can already imagine the news feed: “The damage caused by the Charles Koch flood along the Missouri River is being exacerbated by the heavy rain brought by Hoff.” Or “Texas is facing a power outage, and Florida oranges follow Abbott and The heat wave of DeSantis bake the South and shrinks. Perhaps even “when the American Chamber of Commerce fire swept through the four states, the score might be dead. “
Of course, you might argue that we are in danger of running out of names. But you are wrong. Look at the records of dozens of companies, CEOs, and hundreds of state and federal lawmakers. It’s sad but very clear.
This is an opinion and analysis article; opinions expressed Author or author Not necessarily those Scientific american.