“Halloween is coming October 31st; there is no reason to normalize scares for the rest of the year.”
It is good to see David Simon in the climate sustainability debate. The son of Julian Simon (1932–1998), David is a clear voice contrasting hypothetical doom against real statistics. And it comes in the very year that John Holdren, former Obama science advisor and bitter foe of Julian, predicted as many as one billion climate deaths could occur.
MasterResource has previously highlighted David, a Chicago attorney writing as a fellow of the Washington-based Committee to Unleash Prosperity. Simon’s op-ed, “Paul Krugman Is a Global Warming Alarmist. Don’t Be Like Him” (January 16, 2020), had a zinger in the first of his six major points.
First, the earth’s temperature has been rising at a microscopically slow pace. NASA’s data set for global temperatures goes back to 1880 and shows that since that year, the earth’s temperature has risen by only 1.14°C. An increase of 1.14°C over 139 years translates to an average increase of only 0.008°C per year.
Climate alarmists state that the modern temperature increase is unprecedented and far beyond the ability of nature and man to adapt. Wrong. Just think of the times where you have noticed a cold front suddenly come through. Think of the seasons–and day versus night.
And to the extent that the higher temperatures are more associated with minimum temperatures, variability (the diurnal cycle) is actually decreased.
On August 17, a second David Simon op-ed was published at RealClearPolitics (RCP). Homing in on a blatant exaggeration–“we are gradually making the Earth an inhospitable place for humans,” David wrote:
The University of Oxford’s Our World in Data has reported that since 1920, the world population has quadrupled from less than two billion to over seven and half billion.
It also has reported that the share of people living in extreme poverty fell from 74 percent in 1910 to less than 10 percent by 2015.
And EM-DAT (The International Disaster Database) data show that since 1920, the number of people killed by natural disasters has declined from almost 55,000 per year to less than 10,000 per year.
… increased plant and forest growth, bigger crop yields and longer growing seasons as benefits derived from rising concentrations of carbon dioxide.
… an extensive 2015 study found that cold kills over 17 times more people than heat.
Facts, facts, facts. Simon then concludes:
Sustaining a population that has grown by about six billion people, lifting most of those people out of extreme poverty, and reducing the number of natural disaster deaths by over 80 percent show that whatever impacts increasing CO2 emission and atmospheric levels and rising temperatures have, they are not making the planet “an inhospitable place for humans.” The data instead suggest that increasing CO2 emission and atmospheric levels and rising temperatures are making the planet more, not less, hospitable for human life.
Sound argument accounts for facts, the opposite of beginning with conclusions that disrespect facts. And the fact is that the human condition is improving in a multitude of dimensions, as intrepid researchers such as Marian Tupy at HumanProgress have documented.
Halloween is coming October 31st; there is no reason to normalize scares for the rest of the year.