I’m not a climate change denier. A skeptic, certainly. But not a denier.
Let’s assume, though, that climate change is real. Worse still, let’s assume that anthropogenic global warming is real. According to a Gallup poll conducted in March 2017, only 45% of Americans are concerned about climate change, and only 42% believe it will pose a serious risk within their lifetime.
If global warming is, in fact, occurring, and if we’re headed for dire consequences, shouldn’t scientists concern themselves with convincing Americans that we need to sit up and take notice of the change that’s occurring to our climate?
Here’s one way to not do that: engage in hyperbole at every turn and hype every significant weather event as an example of the global warming’s impact. That is the equivalent of the boy who cried wolf. It convinces no one, and turns believers into skeptics, while hardening skeptics into deniers.
This is a real and growing problem. Beginning with Superstorm Sandy in 2012 (and, really, before then, but that’s when it seemed to especially hit the mainstream), every serious weather event in the world — flood or drought, heat wave or cold snap — is somehow caused by climate change.
When cold weather blankets much of America (as is happening this week), the skeptics will naturally begin to scoff. “Gimme some of that global warming!” they might say. And the climate change alarmists are quick to yell, “WEATHER IS NOT CLIMATE CHANGE!”
I’d agree with them, actually. You can’t cherry-pick episodes of extreme weather to make the case for or against climate change.
Yet, when a hurricane slams the Gulf Coast, the very same climate change alarmists are even quicker to yell, “GLOBAL WARMING!!!”
Now they’re taking it a step further. And, again, this hyperbole didn’t start this week; this week is simply the latest example of it. Now the climate change alarmists are blaming the cold on global warming.
Former Vice President Al Gorge, the world’s leading proponent of global warming theories, said yesterday that climate change is to blame for the record-setting cold that’s blanketing the central and eastern portions of the U.S. In fact, Gore tweeted that extreme cold is exactly what we should expect from climate change.
But, as Climate Depot points out, Gore was saying as recently as eight years ago that the lack of cold and snow is an indication of climate change. Now he’s saying that too much cold and snow are an indication of climate change.
Isn’t that convenient? (No pun intended.) It’s hard to be wrong when you adopt this methodology. If it snows, climate change. If it doesn’t snow, climate change. Cold? Climate change. Warm? Climate change.
It’s hard to be wrong, but it’s also hard to win believers to your cause, because they see right through the shallow inconsistencies.
We’ve been here before. As I wrote in August, climate change alarmists were quick to tell us back in 2005 that major hurricanes were going to be commonplace in the U.S. because of global warming. That was an easy prediction to make in 2005. Three major (class 3 or stronger) hurricanes made landfall along the U.S. coastline that year. Then we went 11 years and 11 months without a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. before category 4 Harvey slammed Texas.
Naturally, the alarmists pounced on Harvey — just as they do every episode of extreme weather — as an example of climate change. Never mind that there hadn’t been a major hurricane in the U.S. in almost 12 years. This, they told us, is proof that catastrophic cyclones are becoming more common in this age of global warming.
I wrote then that blaming every weather event on global warming cheapens the argument and creates skeptics because the average American sees through the schtick. But the mainstream media is doing itself no favors by latching on to the alarmists’ narrative. Several leading outlets — such as Time and the New York Times — are guilty. CNN definitely declared that, “Yes, climate change made Harvey worse.” It was a story that was presented not as opinion but as straight news.
Harvey’s impact was blamed on global warming because hurricanes typically pack lots of rain or lots of wind, but typically not both. Harvey presented both, and the result was catastrophic in Texas. As I wrote in August, alarmists pointed out that warmer air holds water better, which explained Harvey’s significant flooding. But they glossed over the fact that much of the flooding was because Harvey didn’t get swept up by the jet stream and was able to meander along at a snail’s pace — an almost unheard-of two miles an hour — and dump copious amounts of rain. That was just bad timing and misfortune for Texas, and had little to do with global warming.
Keep in mind that scientists also told us back in 2005 that hurricanes in general were going to become more frequent because of global warming. That hasn’t happened. Since 2005, we’ve averaged 6.7 hurricanes per year in the Atlantic basin. Contrast that with 1950-1962 (a time period I chose because hurricanes were believed to be becoming more frequent then), when we averaged 6.8 hurricanes per year in the Atlantic basin.
So they then told us that while the number of hurricanes might not increase, the strength of the hurricanes certainly would. But this is proven only by using math from unusually busy hurricane seasons, like 2005. After three category 5 hurricanes that year, and two more in 2007, there were none in the Atlantic basin for nine full years, before Matthew formed in 2016.
It’s hard to believe climate change advocates when it comes to hurricane activity, and it’s hard to believe them when it comes to outbreaks of arctic cold. It’s those of us who don’t align with either the talking points of either the left or the right who are left with nowhere to turn. Could global warming be occurring? Certainly. There’s no denying that the earth is warmer today than it was 20 years ago. Is that warmth cyclical or permanent? Good luck finding the answer to that. The truth might be had, but the debate has turned into a political quagmire.