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Articles by Christian Parenti

Christian Parenti, a Nation contributing editor, fellow at The Nation Institute, and visiting scholar at the CUNY Graduate Center, is the author of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq, and, most recently, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence.

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The Northeast could not have recovered as quickly from Hurricane Irene without the help of the federal government. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

The Northeast could not have recovered as quickly from Hurricane Irene without the help of the federal government. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission.

Look back on 2011 and you’ll notice a destructive trail of extreme weather slashing through the year. In Texas, it was the driest year ever recorded. An epic drought there killed half a billion trees, touched off wildfires that burned 4 million acres, and destroyed or damaged thousands of homes and buildings. The costs to agriculture, particularly the cotton and cattle businesses, are estimated at $5.2 billion — and keep in mind that, in a winter breaking all sorts of records for warmth, the Texas drought is not yet over.

In August, the East Coast had a close brush with calamity in the form of Hurricane Irene. Luckily, that storm had spent most of its energy by the time it hit land near New York City. Nonetheless, its rains did at least $7 billion worth of damage, putting it just below the $7.2 billion worth of chaos caused by Katrina back in ... Read more

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