At least fourteen people were killed in Florida last nightas powerful storms swept across the center of the stateafter midnight. Officials provided as much as fifteenminutes of warning, but many of the affected areas arerural, and residents could not hear sirens, or there were nolocal warning systems in place. At the same time, theIntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change issued a report in Paris yesterdaystating that there is a 90% certainty that human generated greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for global warming.

Witnesses are describing destruction “beyond words” andsaying that the devastated area is much more severly damaged than during the successive hurricanes that hit the state in 2004.

While the news media were flooding the area with warnings,most residents were asleep around three in the morning whenthe storms hit. It is not yet clear whether they were alltornadoes, or some areas were affected by in-line winds. Ifthis is the case, the gusts would have been extremely powerful.

The worst damage took place in Lady Lake, north of Orlandoand almost in the center of the state. At least two mobilehome parks were struck and the Lady Lake Assembly of Godchurch was heavily damaged.

These storms come during an exceptionallv violent winterstorm season worldwide, with billions of dollars worth ofdamage from California to Poland and nearly a thousand liveslost.

Climate change models predict exactly the sort of violent weather that has become more common since 1999, when ferocious December winds destroyed property and millions of trees in Europe.

“The evidence for warming having happened on the planet isunequivocal,” said U.S. government scientist and IPCC memberSusan Solomon. “We can see that in rising air temperatures,we can see it in changes in snow cover in the NorthernHemisphere. We can see it in global sea rise. It’sunequivocal.”

Even companies like Exxon, which was one of the leaders ofthe fallacious global warming debate, is beginning to20867,21160762-36375,00.html,changeits stance, now that Lee Raymond, called the “Darth Vader”of the global warming debate by environmental groups, hasretired, the company is beginning to soften its stance.

Last month the Union of Concerned Scientists published areport arguing that “to serve its corporate interests,ExxonMobil has built a vast echo chamber of seeminglyindependent groups with the express purpose of spreadingdisinformation about global warming.”

Exxon is reportedly ceasing to fund these groups. As yet,however, the enormously profitable company has investednothing in alternative energy source research.

One of the reasons that so many companies are changing theirstance is that Wall Stree fears that those who don’t aregoing to be “rolled over,” according to John Llewellyn, asenior adviser at Lehman Brothers.

Sources have claimed to Unknowncountry that, at certainlevels within the European Union, there have beententative discussions about expropriation of the profits ofcompanies that deny global warming, in order to help pay forthe damage it is causing. Thus far, these discussions havenot reached the parliamentary level, but they reflectgrowing worldwide anger over the problem, which wasemphasized by the French decision to turn out the lights onthe Eiffel Tower in protest against continued denial.

The Bush administration continues to lead the debate on theside of the deniers, but is being generally abandoned by theRepublican party on this issue. However, as was reported inthe Unknowncountry.comnewsletterlast week, the administration has apparently directed the USEnvironmental Protection Administration tocloselibraries and destroy files, in what may be an effort todeny scientists and the public access to data that it hasbeen ignoring.

Beyond the IPCC report, there is some evidence that methanehydrates frozen on the ocean floor may be melting in variousareas, and releasing methane into the atmosphere. Methane isan extremely powerful global warming gas, and, in the past,the release of trapped hydrates has led to instances ofextremely destructive and abrupt climate change.

Such a “methane storm” is not factored into any but the mostextreme global warming models.

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