by Steven Milloy
September 1, 2010, Human Events
As the chances of a cap-and-trade bill recede in the 111th Congress, expect the increasingly desperate greens to amp up their gloom-and-doom rhetoric—as they already have.
Amid Al Gore’s recent concession speech to his zombie followers, for example, he apparently couldn’t help himself from linking every recent bad weather event he could think of with global warming—from floods in Nashville and Pakistan to the recent heat wave and forest fires in Russia.
Before that, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took the opportunity of an ongoing East Coast heat wave to proclaim the current decade to be the hottest on record and to proclaim that global warming is “undeniable.”
Then there was the recent Environmental Defense Fund claim that global warming is going to wreck Mexican agriculture and increase illegal immigration by almost 7 million by 2070.
No doubt before this Congress is over, we will be subjected to even more extreme claims, although I can’t imagine what scary scenario the greens could conjure up that they haven’t tried before.
One would have thought that Al Gore had learned his lesson about blaming bad weather on climate change when a British judge ruled in 2007 that his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, couldn’t be shown to British school children without a disclaimer about its many egregious errors (amounting to about 99% of the science presented in the film). One of the judicially noticed errors that Gore made was attributing individual weather events and natural disasters (like Hurricane Katrina) to climate change.
Regardless of how climate changes—and it will continue change even if humans magically vanished from the planet and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels return to the alarmist ideal of 350 parts per million—there will always be bad weather and natural disasters in whatever unpredictable proportion and frequency nature dictates.
As to the NOAA claim that now is the hottest era since recordkeeping began, let’s first keep in mind that both nature and humans began recordkeeping long before NOAA and we know that the period known as the Medieval Optimum (about 1,000 years ago when the Vikings tilled Greenland without the help of John Deere) was as warm if not warmer than today.
Moreover, even NOAA should know that the Northern Hemisphere has been warming (thankfully) for about 200 years since the end of a very cold 400-year period in history known as the Little Ice Age. Yes, so it’s been almost continually warming since the early 1800s—and the early 2000’s are the warmest decade? NOAA has a tremendous grasp on the obvious.
The agency, of course, would have us believe that this warming trend is due to man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. The problem with that notion is that it’s not clear in any record anywhere that manmade CO2 emissions correlate with global temperature change. Since 1995, in fact, there has been no significant warming of average global temperature while atmospheric CO2 levels have increased by more than 10%.
Not only has there been no warming since 1995, but it’s likely the alarmist-made temperature record is actually showing more warming than is actually occurring. Between temperature measurement stations being located on heat-retaining airport runways and other urban heat islands, and the Climate-gate mafia gradually removing cooler, rural weather stations from their data gathering, it must be really embarrassing for the alarmists to have to lie and cheat to keep the data from showing the real-life slight cooling that in all likelihood is actually occurring.
What about the supposed global warming-induced wave of Mexican illegals? Let’s just say that warming temperatures have tended to increase agricultural productivity by lengthening growing seasons. Moreover, any potential warming caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations would likely happen in drier, northern latitudes rather than wetter, more temperate zones where the greater presence of water vapor tends to rob CO2 of the opportunity to cause any warming.
Finally, the greens typically assume that any change in climate is necessarily bad. So far, we only know that cooling is potentially problematic for agricultural production. Climatic warming has yet to be anything but a boon to mankind.
But reality will matter less and less to climate alarmists as their visions of cap-and-trade in this Congress, once a sure bet, fade away. Keep that in mind as you read the climate-related news this fall.
Mr. Milloy is the founder and publisher of JunkScience.com. His columns and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of “Green Hell,” a new book from Regnery Publishing.