Category — Climate exaggeration
“‘Environmentalism is properly the ideology of controlling everything, which is called totalitarianism.’ Thankfully, it is difficult to squash human ingenuity, and industrialization will be a hard beast to slay, though it is neither impossible nor even complicated.”
While debate still swirls around climate change, recent reporting shows the debate’s hot and cold episodes cycle pretty in tune with changes in weather. Perhaps it will help to stand back and take a broad view.
Climate realists have long been aware that global average surface temperature had stopped sometime around 2000, and even a few years before. Lately alarmists had to admit it. The period with no warming is now as long as was period of warming on which fears were based—17 years according to a leaked draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)—despite continued rise of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration.
Observed global average temperatures (GAT) are, in fact, below IPCC’s 2007 Assessment Report’s lowest—and most confident—temperature predictions. The new view in the leaked AR5 shows a complete reversal of the AR4 view, which still touted catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming.
Prominent climate alarmists had to respond. Some, like Michael “Hockey-Stick” Mann, remain stalwart. Others, like James Hansen, first admitted the global temperature standstill was real, then, in what may have been a faux pas, said the lack of increased warming was due to an increase in global coal consumption.
IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri acknowledged the “stalled” climate trend but employed the usual alarmist tactic and asked for more time to prove his predictions, thus kicking the can forty years down the road. [Read more →]
April 18, 2013 11 Comments
“Government interventions are problematic, so intervene only when the case is fully proven.”
- Margaret Thatcher, Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World. New York: HarperCollins, 2002, p. 453.
“An Inconvenient Truth About Margaret Thatcher: She Was a Climate Hawk,” declares Will Oremus in Slate. In “The Iron Lady’s Strong Stance on Climate Change” (Daily Climate, reposted at Climate Progress), author Douglas Fischer notes “how seriously [Margaret Thatcher] viewed the threat of climate change and the robustness, more than 20 years ago, of climate science and United Nations body tasked with assessing state of that science.”
True, UK Prime Minister Thatcher was the first and most important international figure to champion the cause of climate alarmism. But the above authors conveniently stop their discussion with her pronouncements in the early 1990s. For possessing an open mind, and coming to see the climate propaganda machine in action, she changed her mind quickly and completely. And the last 20 years gave her little reason to doubt her skepticism.
Early Alarmism (1988–93)
Thatcher “broke quite new political ground,” in her words, by “speaking ominously on climate change to the Royal Society (U.K. Academy of Science) in September 1988, just several months after James Hansen’s U.S. Senate testimony on the same subject. 
“It is possible … we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this climate itself,” she said.  This would require more, not less, government “for energy production, for fuel efficiency, for reforestation,” she concluded.  [Read more →]
April 11, 2013 9 Comments
In the wake of “Superstorm” Sandy, the political spin and distractions reached hurricane proportions. “It’s global warming, stupid,” declared Bloomberg BusinessWeek after monster winds and waves pounded New York and New Jersey. This storm should “compel all elected leaders to take immediate action” on climate change, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo added:
Anyone who says there’s no change in weather patterns is denying reality. The storms we’ve experienced in the last year or so are much more severe than before.
Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman echoed:
We’ve had two 100-year storms in 14 months in this state, with a couple of nor’easters thrown in between for good measure. The climate is changing, whether people want to talk about it or not.”
And just when you think politicians could not get any worse, there is Chuck Schumer (D-NY). In 2006, he complained:
Allstate is the poster child for terrible corporate citizenship. They won’t write new policies for fear of hurricanes, when the odds of a severe hurricane hitting New York City is one in every 500 years.”
As Sandy wreaked its havoc, Schumer went into spin mode. “We want NOAA to keep it classified as a tropical storm, to save homeowners in New York and Long Island thousands of dollars,” he said, given that “Hurricane” Sandy would trigger higher deductibles. [Read more →]
January 31, 2013 13 Comments
At Climate Progress, Joe Romm is ever eager to find that bad things are inevitable in our climate future because of fossil fuels. So it really makes his day when a prominent scientist gives him doomster material. Bad news is good news in RommWorld where so many facts and uncertainties contradict his neo-Malthusian worldview.
Romm hones in and hyperventilates over those chosen scientists promoting climate alarm–and swats away with derision that the same have things wrong. In many cases, Romm gets tangled up in the science with partisanship and confusion.
Romm has a long track record of this type of behavior. And perhaps the most recent case involves Romm’s unwavering dedication to NASA’s James Hansen (outlier) view of the coming climate and human’s influence on it. Hansen has a lot of bad stuff to say, which is good for Joe Romm. But the problem is that Hansen is not usually right.
Dust Bowl Debate: Hoerling Gets Rommed
A recent subject of Romm’s scorn has been Dr. Martin Hoerling, who has on a least two occasions over the past 6 two 8 months, explained why Hansen’s climate alarmism—on display in prominent op-eds, and hyped by Romm—just doesn’t square with the science. [Read more →]
December 13, 2012 1 Comment
“The climate of many countries seems to be one of the great reasons why idleness, dishonesty, immorality, stupidity, and weakness of will prevail. If we can conquer climate, the whole world will become stronger and nobler.”
- Ellsworth Huntington, Civilization and Climate (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1915), p. 294.
“Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue…. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions.”
- James Hansen, “Can We Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb?” June 12, 2003.
Thank you Dr. James Hansen, for outing some climate exaggeration of the past. But pardon us for not seeing what you seem to only see–a compelling, growing case for climate alarm and policy activism.
Empiricists can beg to differ. As Chip Knappenberger has recently documented, the world is not warming as quickly, and sea level is not rising as much, as climate models predict. And peer-reviewed literature suggests that feedback effects are dampening the warming that high-sensitivity models assume/model/predict.
Exaggeration in the cause of policy activism is an intellectual sin. Thankfully, the public is pushing back at the smartest-guys-in-the-room climate alarmism. F. A. Hayek warned of the ‘fatal conceit’ in the social sciences where intellectuals felt that they could plan an economy. Planning the climate–and thus planning the economy–is a pretense of knowledge also.
Here are some quotations of this fatal concept in action, beginning with a lighthearted, revealing statement from Kenneth Boulding (in 1970) on the fun of it all (at least for him).
“I am something of an ecologist at heart, mainly because I am really a preacher, and we know that all ecologists are really preachers under the skin. They are great viewers with alarm. Is there any more single-minded, simple pleasure than viewing with alarm? At times it is even better than sex.” 
And now for the serious–and wildly exaggerated–stuff. [Read more →]
October 15, 2012 7 Comments
“Today’s temperature ‘extremes’ are simply yesterday’s extremes warmed up a bit, partly from the heat-island effect. But they are not new events…. Hansen’s push on weather extremes is another case where the level of alarm is disproportionate to the level of impact.”
Today’s temperature “extremes” are simply yesterday’s extremes warmed up a bit, partly from the heat-island effect. But they are not new events where none existed prior.
This distinction is neither subtle nor unimportant. When it comes to temperatures, yesterday’s extremes warmed up offer less of a surprise (and hence a greater ease of adaptability) than if a new crop of extreme events suddenly sprung up out of nowhere to catch us unprepared.
But such a distinction is not made prominently evident in the latest work by NASA’s James Hansen—and even less so in the accompanying media coverage (including that instigated by Hansen himself). Instead, the general audience is left with the distinct impression that anthropogenic global warming (as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-based energy production) is leading to the occurrence of new extreme weather events when and where such weather events would not otherwise have occurred. For instance, in a Washington Post op-ed written by Hansen to accompany the release of his paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hansen writes:
Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.
The deadly European heat wave of 2003, the fiery Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can each be attributed to climate change. And once the data are gathered in a few weeks’ time, it’s likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summer the United States is suffering through right now.
But this impression is untrue. These events and others like them, almost certainly would have occurred on their own (i.e., naturally). Climate change may have added a pinch of additional heat, but it almost certainly did not create these events out of thin air (see here for example). [Read more →]
September 24, 2012 17 Comments
“Is there any more single-minded, simple pleasure than viewing with alarm? At times it is even better than sex.”
—Kenneth Boulding (1970), p. 160. 
“Pick up any 40-year-old science textbook – on chemistry, biology, geology, physics, astronomy or medicine – and you’ll find a slew of “facts” and theories that have been proven wrong or are no longer the “consensus” view. Climatology is no exception.
Yesterday’s Cooling Scare
Back in the 1970s, many scientists warned of global cooling – and fretted that a new ice age brought on by fossil fuel use would cause glaciers to expand, wreaking havoc. They predicted every conceivable disaster, short of roving herds of wooly mammoths stampeding through ice-covered streets. (The possibility of cloning a well-preserved mammoth could buttress the next scary ice age scenario.)
Newsweek’s 1975 cover story “The Cooling World” breathlessly reported that, “after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down.” Meteorologists are “almost unanimous” that the trend will “reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century,” it intoned, and “the resulting famines could be catastrophic.”
The CIA, NASA, National Academy of Sciences and many news organizations issued similar alarums. Dr. John Holdren, now President Obama’s science adviser, joined Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich in penning an essay that warned:
The effects of a new ice age on agriculture and the supportability of large human populations scarcely need elaboration here. Even more dramatic results are possible, however; for instance, a sudden outward slumping in the Antarctic ice cap, induced by added weight, could generate a tidal wave of proportions unprecedented in recorded history.
Today’s Warming Scare
The Chicken Little ice age never arrived. Instead, the new “consensus” view is that our planet now faces fossil-fuel-induced catastrophic global warming. A 2006 Newsweek story conceded that its ice age theme had been “spectacularly wrong.” But the admission came amid decades of Newsweek, Time and even BusinessWeek and National Geographic stories about an imminent global warming “apocalypse.” [Read more →]
September 15, 2012 12 Comments
“When I attended the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, the most common sign I saw carried by the 40,000-plus protesters in the streets (of whom the two largest groups were the International Socialist Youth Movement and the Community Party) said, ‘System change, not climate change’—i.e., give us global socialism, not global free markets!”
If you believe global warming is cyclical and mostly natural; human contribution is minor and not dangerous; and attempting to prevent human influence by cuts in carbon-dioxide emissions would cost trillions of dollars, trap billions of people in developing countries in poverty, and so do more harm than good, then you must be armed and prepared to act in our political times.
President Barack Obama, indeed, has warned us by saying that “the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change.”
The Challenge Before Us
“Climate change”—what proponents called “global warming” before the globe stopped warming 17 years ago—has become the mother of all excuses for spending trillions of dollars, killing millions of jobs, trapping billions of people in poor countries in poverty, expanding government’s control over our lives, and creating distant, unaccountable, global government.
As University of East Anglia Professor of Climate Change and Marxist/socialist Mike Hulme, a vigorous proponent of “post-normal science,” put it in his book, Why We Disagree about Climate Change: [Read more →]
July 18, 2012 2 Comments
“This may be less a rebranding than a full-scale retreat. The message that the climate is falling around mankind’s head … has failed to gain much political traction across the nation. In the process, the environmental movement has lost much of its luster and credibility.”
National environmental groups, conceding that global warming has lost much of its heat as a political issue, are now engaged in what the political online magazine Politico describes as a “rebranding.” Says Politico, “There’s been a change in climate for Washington’s greenhouse gang, and they’ve come to this conclusion: To win, they have to talk about other topics, like gas prices and kids choking on pollutants.”
For the power business, this could turn out to be a positive development. It might expunge carbon dioxide from the regulatory libretto and refocus the ongoing opera bouffe on familiar themes. Perhaps we can drop the self-reverential handwringing about “carbon footprint” and worry about real, tangible, legally defined nasties such as SOx, NOx, and rocks.
This may be less a rebranding than a full-scale retreat. The message that the climate is falling around mankind’s head, pushed by environmental groups and former Vice President Al Gore for more than a decade, has failed to gain much political traction across the nation. In the process, the environmental movement has lost much of its luster and credibility. [Read more →]
May 14, 2012 17 Comments
“Malaria already kills a million people a year and now, researchers fear, climate change could make the problem even worse.” –ABC News, April 1, 2011
“Based on the new numbers, malaria deaths have fallen by 32 percent since 2004, dropping from 1.8 million deaths worldwide to 1.2 million in 2010.” –ABC News, February 3, 2012
Malaria has been long postulated to benefit from rising global temperatures and is included near the top of most alarming lists of the bad things that will happen if greenhouse gas emissions limitations are not immediately put into place. And while this seems good in theory, real world data show little, if any, connection between climate change and malaria outbreaks. In fact, while the climate has been warming, malaria has been in decline—being beaten back by direct measures aimed at reducing the spread of the disease.
And malaria is not alone. There are many examples of positive trends in measures that climate change is supposed to worsen. The broader lesson is that directed actions trump climate change. In fact, in some cases, climate change may even hasten positive change. Yet, the recognition of such is largely absent from assessments of the impacts associated with human-caused climate changes. Consequently, the assessments present overly pessimistic and unreliable visions of our future based on overly simplistic modeling exercises.
The Case of Malaria
One of the key elements of global warming alarmism is proposing a link from rising global temperatures to the increasing occurrence of really bad things. Think of any bad thing, and almost assuredly, a Google search of “global warming” and “[insert really bad thing here]” will turn up loads of hits. Try it! It is kind of fun to see just how absurd a link you can find. “Global warming” and “shark bites”? You betcha. “Global warming” and “UFO attacks”? Ding ding! “Global warming” and “malaria”? Of course. [Read more →]
February 23, 2012 3 Comments