Or rather, it is premature and may never be possible to attribute this hurricane to human impacts on climate.
It can be said for certain, however, that the disaster for humans this time was a direct result of decisions taken by (other) humans. A recent paper for the American Society of Civil Engineers said:
"Human activity, directly or indirectly, has caused 1,500 square miles of natural coastal barriers to be eroded in the past 50 years. Human activity has clearly been a significant factor in coastal
Why city's defences were down, a 1 Sep Guardian article citing this analysis, puts too much emphasis on recent spending cuts. The point is that the situation always was unsustainable. For a better understanding, see Atchafalaya in John McPhee's The Control of Nature, first published back in 1989.
Another aspect of the disaster relating to human choice is the fact that evacuation plans for New Orleans did not seem to consider the plight of those too poor to afford private cars.
All this is not to say that global warming will not be a worry in future. If, as the evidence strongly indicates, the intensity of tropical cyclones increases as the atmosphere warms, then New Orleans may be just a beginning.
The best rememberanceI've seen so far is I'm just glad I saw it by Howell Raines - a sweet elegy (notwithstanding praise for the Aryan ethnic cleanser Andrew Jackson) with a bitter coda:
"The populism of Huey Long was financially corrupt, but when it came to the welfare of people, it was caring. The church-going cultural populism of George Bush has given the
My own memories of New Orleans will always be easy time with good friends, eating great food under a huge magnolia and listening to John Coltrane.
Aubrey Meyer, who began his professional life as a classical musician, writes: "for musicians, Louisiana without New Orleans is like Austria without Salzburg".