In a great column by Charles Krauthammer, he those who spout the “settled science” mantra their just due:
“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.
Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.
So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today’s climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?
A fair and unanswered question to this point. Instead alarmists offer excuses or twist science in such a way it is unrecognizable in order to justify their claims. Krauthammer continues:
They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.
Settled? Even Britain’s national weather service concedes there’s been no change — delicately called a “pause” — in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data is recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?
Precisely. Climate change is happening because climate change always happens. Climate isn’t a static thing. But suddenly, using these wildly innaccurate and downright wrong models, “scientists” are trying to lay off the responsibility for that change on man. Nothing new there. The extreme left of environmentalism sees man as an intruder to be gotten rid of rather than a natural part of the world. And they, for one, see this as an opportunity to work toward that goal. The politicians, of course, see revenue. It is a dangerous combination.
Krauthammer then covers the alarmists attempts to use weather events as harbingers of climate change. But just like the temperatures these past 15 years, the data just doesn’t support their claims:
But even worse than the pretense of settledness is the cynical attribution of any politically convenient natural disaster to climate change, a clever term that allows you to attribute anything — warming and cooling, drought and flood — to man’s sinful carbon burning.
Accordingly, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”
How inconvenient. But we’ve been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of “extreme weather events” like hurricanes.
Nonsense. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricanewhen it hit the United States. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall . And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years. In fact, in the last half-century, one-third fewer major hurricanes have hit the United States than in the previous half-century.
Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years — of presumed global warming — has seen a 30 percent decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) versus the previous 30 years.
Facts. My goodness how to explain pure and simple facts that contradict the “settled science.” They can’t.
He concludes beautifully with a stake through the heart of “settled science” myth and calls it what it really is – whoring. Science whoring and political whoring:
None of this is dispositive. It doesn’t settle the issue. But that’s the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.
Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).
Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.
But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon -belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”
Ah, settled science in action.
UPDATE: Speaking of “settled science”, one of the biggest proponents of that mantra can’t even get short range forecasts right:
The Met Office’s ‘pitiful’ forecasts were under fire last night after it was revealed it told councils in November to expect ‘drier than usual’ conditions this winter. In the worst weather prediction since Michael Fish reassured the nation in October 1987 that there was no hurricane on the way, forecasters said the Somerset Levels – still under water after more than two months of flooding – and the rest of the West Country would be especially dry. Last night, it was confirmed the UK had instead suffered the wettest winter since records began.
This … this … this just can’t be!
Antarctica has broken the record for the greatest sea ice extent ever measured at either pole. If current trends continue, the Earth will be completely covered with ice much faster than the climate models predicted.
It has to be nonsense, right? Is it the Onion? We all know ice is melting and sea levels are rising … the media tells us so. And then there’s Al Gore, the voice of reason. We all know this can’t be true. Just ask us:
OK, so the floating Arctic ice cap appears to be shrinking. Catastrophe if it goes on, right? As white ice reflects heat into space, past a certain point more and more heat will not be reflected, more and more ice will melt. Past such a “tipping point”, the ice cap would never recover – it would vanish completely, taking with it the ice cover of Greenland which would cause huge rises in sea levels and Biblical flooding worldwide. Not so much, according to the latest research by German climate scientists.
Really? You mean, the ice isn’t melting? The world won’t flood? It’s not getting warmer?
What’s that you say? You have actual science to back that up?
Real world measurements are the best tools we have at our disposal to monitor what impacts, if any, our use of fossil fuels is having on earth’s climate. Measured temperature increase has stopped for over a decade despite large increases in carbon dioxide. Loss and gain of sea ice in the Arctic is directly tied to cycles of warming and cooling ocean temperatures. Antarctic sea ice is increasing. Antarctic temperature is not increasing. The number of hurricanes around the world is not increasing and the strength of hurricanes worldwide is decreasing.
Antarctica’s temperature is not increasing? You’ll probably claim sea temperatures haven’t risen either:
Using data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UEA, it appears sea surface temperatures may explain Antarctic Sea Ice at record levels. SST in the southern hemisphere have a cooling trend of -0.068C per decade over the last 15 years.
Oh, my. The sea has been cooling for all these years? But what evidence do you have that there’s more ice?
Global average sea levels fell by 5mm last year, presenting an inconvenient fact in a climate change narrative that warns of severe long-term threats to coastal settlements. The 5mm decline was almost twice the rate of the 3mm-a-year average increase recorded over the past 20 years and three times the 130-year average rise rate of 1.7mm a year.
Wow … so how do we hide that decline?
According to the Atlantic’s Rebecca Rosen, Greenland is in the middle of an “extreme ice melt”. You can read the article and consider the point. I’ll give her credit. She reports it pretty objectively including this as a reason for the melt:
NASA says that it is normal for Greenland’s ice to melt a bit in the summer; what is abnormal is the extent. Normally, only about half of the ice sheet’s surface sees any melting. This year, that proportion just about doubled. NASA additionally said that its satellites were recording uncharacteristically high temperatures over the island. Those warmer temperatures were brought by a bubble of warm air (a "heat dome"), the latest in a series of such ridges that have moved over Greenland this year.
In other words, a regional event.
She also mentions:
The last such melt event occurred in 1889, according to data from ice cores, and scientists say they would expect such an event about every 150 years. They’ll be monitoring the ice closely in the years ahead to see if this turns out to be a regular aberration, or an irregular one.
Got it. Thanks for noting the event which appears to have a history (I’ll cover how much of a history below).
The UK’s Guardian kicks it up a notch with the use of the word “unprecedented” in their title.
“Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July”
No. It didn’t. As we see from the Atlantic’s treatment, this event isn’t at all “unprecedented.” In fact, if I have any gripe about the Atlantic’s coverage is it stopped short of noting a longer history of Greenland’s ice melts:
Greenland, as you can see, has seen periods as warm or warmer than now in its history. One could logically assume then that it would have had the same sorts of weather events during those periods as it experienced during the recent week in early July.
BTW, here’s an explanation of the numbers you see above:
“Unprecedented” is obviously a incorrect characterization of the event. Why did the Guardian seize on the word?
Because some scientist conveniently used it:
However, scientists were still coming to grips with the shocking images on Tuesday. "I think it’s fair to say that this is unprecedented," Jay Zwally, a glaciologist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Guardian.
Again, no, it isn’t “unprecedented”. And obviously the Guardian didn’t take the time to find out if it really was. A simple Wikipedia check would have produced the above graph.
So why the acceptance of the scientist’s characterization without checking? I think that too is obvious – it’s scarier than admitting it has a long history of occurring, many times prior to the industrial revolution. It lends more immediacy to the story. The fact that throughout its history Greenland has seen a cycle of warmer and colder weather is “inconvenient” to the scare factor related to AGW. Certainly the Guardian is careful not to come right out and scream global warming, but by noting this “unprecedented” event, it certainly is clear that global warming, and specifically AGW, is the dot to which they want you to connect this to.
The NY Times, on the other hand, notes the melt and takes a different approach. While noting the melt and the high pressure ridge, the Times throws this into the mix:
Nonetheless, the scientists said, the melt was significant because Greenland’s ice sheet is unequivocally shrinking as a result of the warming of the world’s oceans, and the event could help broaden their insights into climate change and earth systems.
While they don’t claim that AGW is the cause for warming oceans (don’t worry, there are plenty of others out there that do), they don’t endeavor to explain why oceans have been warming for the past 100 years.
Here’s a pretty significant clue. It’s a 2,300 year Hallstatt solar variation cycles graph:
Anyone notice what has been rising for the last 1,000 or so years?
In fact, says Sami Solanki, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures… the brighter sun and higher levels of so-called "greenhouse gases" both contributed to the change in the Earth’s temperature, but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.
As it is turning out, it appears it may be the Sun. CO2 has always been a lagging indicator in warming history until it was recently elevated by some “scientists” to a leading cause. It has not shown the effect on temperature predicted by warmist models, however. In fact, it hasn’t even been close even while the ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to rise.
The point of all of this? It appears that those traditionally associated with the AGW scaremongering are toning down their rhetoric even while still attempting, through half-truths, incomplete reporting and implication, to push the AGW agenda, albeit much more subtly now.
Don’t let them get away with it.
UPDATE: And then, of course, there are those who don’t have a clue and don’t care, especially when they can use this to club the GOP.
Climate change skeptics have “the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity”
Shocking I know. In fact the findings are exactly the opposite of what those doing the study expected to find (via Nature.com):
As respondents’ science-literacy scores increased, concern with climate change decreased (r=−0.05, P=0.05). There was also a negative correlation between numeracy and climate change risk (r=−0.09, P<0.01). The differences were small, but nevertheless inconsistent with SCT, which predicts effects with the opposite signs.
Contrary to SCT predictions, higher degrees of science literacy and numeracy are associated with a small decrease in the perceived seriousness of climate change risks.
Or to simplify, the difference between the believing herd and thinking individualists.
Speaking of the herd vs individualists, that takes us to the second claim:
If cultural cognition is merely a heuristic substitute for scientific knowledge and system 2 reasoning, reliance on it should be lowest among those individuals whose scientific knowledge and system 2 reasoning capacity are highest. SCT thus implies that as science literacy and numeracy increase, the scepticism over climate change associated with a hierarchical individualistic world-view should lessen and the gap between people with hierarchical individualistic world-views and those with egalitarian communitarian ones should diminish.
Among egalitarian communitarians, science literacy and numeracy (as reflected in the composite scale Science literacy/numeracy) showed a small positive correlation with concern about climate change risks (r=0.08, P=0.03). In contrast, among hierarchical individualists, Science literacy/numeracy is negatively correlated with concern (r=−0.12, P=0.03). Hence, polarization actually becomes larger, not smaller, as science literacy and numeracy increase.
Contrary to SCT’s predictions, highly science-literate and numerate hierarchical individualists are more sceptical, not less, of climate change risks.
These results won’t slow down the alarmists or stop them from calling skeptics scientifically illiterate. But it will allow skeptics to laugh in their face when they do.
Another in a long line of alarmist myths about AGW put to death by …. science.
Interesting. True confession time I guess.
James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.
Gee, we’d have never guessed.
Lovelock goes into some further detail:
“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.
“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.
“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.
So in essence, what Lovelock is saying is a) he was wrong about his predictions and b) in actuality they really don’t know what is happening although they have this theory which isn’t panning out the way they thought it would.
So much for the value of consensus huh?
To his credit, at least, Lovelock admits to the mistake.
Would that the rest of the alarmists had that sort of integrity. Instead, many choose to double down and make themselves even less credible. One wonders if Lovelock’s admission might give some others the courage to recant as well.
Oh, and Lovelock makes an important point:
Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told msnbc.com: “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”
Yeah, neither am I. I’m a skeptic. Climate changes. It has throughout the history of the planet. And we’ve had periods of higher CO2 and higher temperatures in our history, neither of which could be linked to man. Additionally:
He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, but added that the effect of the oceans was not well enough understood and could have a key role.
“It (the sea) could make all the difference between a hot age and an ice age,” he said.
I am skeptical of his first statement and much more likely to find credence in the second, i.e. it is the oceans of this world that drive climate change, not man. Additionally, it seems to me that, at least to this point, the skeptic’s theory of low sensitivity of the climate to CO2 seems to be more valid than the alarmists theory of high sensitivity. Had the alarmists been right, as Lovelock points out, we should be frying right now.
Most importantly is his admission that “twelve years is a reasonable time”. It has provided enough time for a trend to develop that debunks the alarmist’s predictions.
Finally Lovelock admits that which has been painfully evident to most skeptics, given the trend of those 12 years – “we don’t know what the climate is doing.”
That is correct. And until we do we need to quit trying to make economy killing policy based on what the evidence is currently telling us is a faulty theory.
Or said another way, we need to use actual science to drive policy, not pseudo-science that supports a political agenda.
I should be able to get consensus on that, no?
Roger Pielke Jr notes that the new IPCC report covering climate change seems to take the skeptical argument to heart and stick much more closely to actual facts and what is really known empirically. Says Pielke:
The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change. Kudos to the IPCC — they have gotten the issue just about right, where "right" means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest — sometimes it just takes a little while.
His examples from the report:
A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):
-"There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"
-"The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"
-"The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"
The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:
-"Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe, finally, science will “win out”. And I also hope that the administration that has said it will use science in its policy making process will now actually do so.
In fact, it seems as if it isn’t really much of a debate anymore.
First, let me be clear, the debate among scientists isn’t whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas or whether, even, it can cause warming, but instead on what real (if any) total effect it has overall on the climate. In other words, is there a saturation point where additional CO2 has little marginal effect, or does it build to a tipping point where the change is radical? Robust climate or delicate climate?
Evidence is building toward the robust climate theory, which would mean that while there may be more CO2 being emitted, it has little to no effect on the overall climate. That, of course, is contrary to the AGW crowd’s theory.
So, on to the latest high profile defections:
One of the fathers of Germany’s modern green movement, Professor Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, a social democrat and green activist, decided to author a climate science skeptical book together with geologist/paleontologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning. Vahrenholt’s skepticism started when he was asked to review an IPCC report on renewable energy. He found hundreds of errors. When he pointed them out, IPCC officials simply brushed them aside. Stunned, he asked himself, “Is this the way they approached the climate assessment reports?”
Vahrenholt decided to do some digging. His colleague Dr. Lüning also gave him a copy of Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion. He was horrified by the sloppiness and deception he found. Persuaded by Hoffmann & Campe, he and Lüning decided to write the book. Die kalte Sonne cites 800 sources and has over 80 charts and figures. It examines and summarizes the latest science.
Vahrenholt concluded, through his research, that the science of the IPCC (if you can call it that) was mostly political and had been “hyped.”
Germany’s flagship weekly news magazine Der Spiegel today also featured a 4-page exclusive interview with Vahrenholt, where he repeated that the IPCC has ignored a large part of climate science and that IPCC scientists exaggerated the impact of CO2 on climate. Vahrenholt said that by extending the known natural cycles of the past into the future, and taking CO2′s real impact into effect, we should expect a few tenths of a degree of cooling.
That, as I said, points to the “robust” climate model.
Once more to make the point before I leave the subject:
Skeptic readers should not think that the book will fortify their existing skepticism of CO2 causing warming. The authors agree it does. but have major qualms about the assumed positive CO2-related feed-backs and believe the sun plays a far greater role in the whole scheme of things.
As Dr. Roy Spencer says, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Adding CO2 should cause warming. The argument is “how much” and that’s based on competing theories about the climate’s sensitivity. Skeptics think the sensitivity is very low while alarmists think it is very high. The building evidence is that rising CO2 has little warming effect in real terms regardless of the amount of the gas emitted. That there is a “saturation level”. If that’s true, and indications are it is, then there’s a) no justification for limiting emissions and b) certainly no justification to tax them.
That, of course, is where politics enter the picture. Governments like the idea of literally creating a tax out of thin air, especially given the current financial condition of most states. Consequently, governments are more likely to fund science that supports their desired conclusion – and it seems that in this case there were plenty who were willing to comply (especially, as Patrick J. Michael has noted, when that gravy train amounts to $103 billion in grants).
What Vahrenholt is objecting too is the IPCC’s key definition in which it clearly states that “climate change” is a result of and because of “human contributions”. As noted above, he thinks that the sun is a much greater factor (something mostly ignored in the models) and he finds past CO2 trends to forecast nothing like the IPCC’s forecast.
What we’re finding as this argument goes forward is that Patrick Michaels was right – “AGW theory functions best in a data free environment”.
Researchers at CERN, the big European physics laboratory, have released some interesting findings that, if true,would cast doubt on a fundamental conclusion made by Einstein’s theory of relativity.
From 2009 through 2011, the massive OPERA detector buried in a mountain in Gran Sasso, Italy, recorded particles called neutrinos generated at CERN arriving a smidge too soon, faster than light can move in a vacuum. If the finding is confirmed by further experiments, it would throw more than a century of physics into chaos.
For over a century, since Albert Einstein published the Special Theory of Relativity (SRT)—buttressed further in 1916 by the General Theory—it has been settled science that the speed of is nature’s ultimate speed limit. As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases. At the speed of light—were it possible to reach it—the object’s mass would be infinite. That would require, of course, an infinite amount of energy to propel the object. Hence, moving faster than the speed of light is a physical impossibility.
Since 1905, through direct experimentation, mathematical modeling, and, later, measurements taken during the space program, as well as computer models, science has time and time again proved that the Special Theory of Relativity does, in fact, accurately model the way the universe works. The entire foundation of modern physics is built upon SRT. It has been proven correct over and over again. Clearly, SRT is settled science. An attempt to overturn it is, essentially, an attempt to overturn the entire body of physics that has been so painstakingly established over the past century.
Obviously, SRT is true. Its conclusions are beyond questioning. Again, the science is settled, and there is almost universal scientific consensus about the truth of SRT.
Since that is so, one wonders what purpose the experiments at CERN might be. SRT needs no further validation, so there must be other motives. Who is funding this experimentation? Why are they so interested in denying SRT? If SRT is overturned, the implications throw cosmology in general into disarray. Out would go the Big Bang theory. Is this new experiment real science, or is it just another ploy of Big Plasma to overturn the settled view of cosmology?
These "scientists" at CERN say that more experimentation is needed to validate these results. But, they are so clearly wrong, it’s difficult to see what purpose further experimentation along these lines would serve. This transparent attempt to return physics to the limited and primitive world of physical experimentation, rather than the modern use of sophisticated mathematical models, is deeply subversive.
Now, there are calls for trying to replicate this experiment—at US taxpayer expense—at the Fermilab, here in the US. I see no reason to risk the scientific integrity of our premier physics laboratory pursuing the dreams of these SRT deniers at CERN.
SRT’s proof is incontrovertible, and any attempt to prove otherwise is a perversion of science. The science is settled. Consensus is almost universal. So, let’s not pursue these silly, pointless experiments. The important thing to remember about science is that, once you question the received wisdom proven repeatedly in the past, the result is chaos. It is vitally important that we do not throw all of modern physics and cosmology into disarray over some odd experimental results that really have no real-world application.
That would just be silly.
James Hansen is paid $180,000 per year by the taxpayers as the Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Happily, we apparently weren’t paying him today, when he was arrested—again—for taking part in a protest at the White House over the proposed K7 pipeline.
Prior to the protest, Hansen told environmental blog SolveClimate News of his plans to join the protest and risk arrest, because the threat the pipeline poses to the climate is too great to ignore.
"If [Obama] chooses the dirty needle, it’s game over because it will confirm that Obama was just greenwashing, like the other well-oiled, coal-fired politicians with no real intention of solving the addiction."
Canada is going to sell its dope, if it can find a buyer," Hansen said.
This is the "dope" that prevents us from freezing to death in the dark, by the way.
By the way, guess what Dr. Hansen does. He’s NASA’s top climate scientist, and he’s firmly in the AGW camp. He’s called for the equivalent of war crimes trials for oil executives for "high crimes against humanity and nature". He is one of the leading figures in the world in pushing AGW.
But I’m sure that he’s completely objective in reviewing any science that conflicts with his activism. After all, that’s what we’re paying him 180 grand per year to do.
What a weekend. Hurricane Irene, the most hyped hurricane since Katrina, lived up to its billing … as a category 3 hurricane. In other words, it did what you’d expect a cat 3 to do. But if you listened too the press and government officials, this was a mega-storm, a storm that was the “harbinger of a change in climate” as the NY Times breathlessly claimed.
Instead it turned out to be a pretty ordinary hurricane that did indeed do some damage, but no more than a normal cat 3 (although it did make landfall twice) and it unfortunately killed some people, but mostly in freak accidents. Finally, it blew out, downgraded to a tropical storm, before it ever reached New York City.
However the spectacle created on-shore by the approach of the hurricane was something to behold. It had to be at least category 6. We have a president with plummeting poll numbers taking “command” at the National Hurricane Center. And we have the press out and about, trying to make the storm much more than it was:
For the television reporter, clad in his red cagoule emblazoned with the CNN logo, it was a dramatic on-air moment, broadcasting live from Long Island, New York during a hurricane that also threatened Manhattan.
“We are in, right, now…the right eye wall, no doubt about that…there you see the surf,” he said breathlessly. “That tells a story right there.”
Stumbling and apparently buffeted by ferocious gusts, he took shelter next to a building. “This is our protection from the wind,” he explained. “It’s been truly remarkable to watch the power of the ocean here.”
The surf may have told a story but so too did the sight behind the reporter of people chatting and ambling along the sea front and just goofing around. There was a man in a t-shirt, a woman waving her arms and then walking backwards. Then someone on a bicycle glided past.
So much for Irene the storm. What was all the hype about?
A couple things seem apparent. Politically the storm was seen as a, forgive the word choice, windfall. It was something which would allow the government to prove its worth, to demonstrate the lessons it had learned since Katrina (funny that this is the first hurricane since Katrina on which this could be “demonstrated”). It also gave the president national face time (speech), a way to demonstrate leadership (without risk) and hopefully a surge in the polls. The compliant press was glad to go along:
The White House sent out 25 Irene emails to the press on Saturday alone.
There were photographs of President Barack Obama touring disaster centres and footage of him asking sombre, pertinent questions. With his poll ratings plummeting, Obama needed to project an aura of seriousness and command. He was all too aware that the political fortunes of his predecessor George W Bush never recovered after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005.
The press mostly reported the message the White House had carefully crafted: “Obama takes charge” read the headline of one wire service story.
Instead, it all turned out, it seems, to have been a giant over-reaction. We’ve handled numerous cat 3 (and higher) hurricanes throughout our history without all the governmental drama and dire warnings. One can only factor sinking poll numbers into this particular event to have it make any sense.
Then there was the global warning crowd who seems bent on using any weather event as a “harbinger” of things to come because of wicked, evil humans and their carbon drenched lifestyles. And they end up trying to use a fairly ordinary cat 3 hurricane as their example. But, of course, the hurricane seasons of the past few years have been a bit of a disappointment to those types, hasn’t it? Fewer storms and of a lesser intensity. You know your theory is bankrupt when you’re reduced to hyping a cat 3 as Justin Gillis did in the New York Times:
The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?
The simple answer to the question seems to be – “no”.
But that doesn’t stop the alarmists from using this occasion to tar the skeptical side with ad hominem attacks instead of facts.
Paul Krugman publishes pure fiction:
In fact, if you follow climate science at all you know that the main development over the past few years has been growing concern that projections of future climate are underestimating the likely amount of warming. Warnings that we may face civilization-threatening temperature change by the end of the century, once considered outlandish, are now coming out of mainstream research groups.
And, of course Al Gore is reduced to calling skeptics the equivalent of racists.
Back to Krugman though. As I’ve followed it, climate science seems to be saying exactly the opposite of is assertion seems to be true. A) it seems most scientists are becoming more aware of how much we don’t know about the climate (certainly not enough to be drawing the conclusions being drawn), B) the CERN study seems to put “broken” on the alarmist modeling which has driven the AGW crowd’s argument (I won’t dignify it with the word “theory”) and C) if anything, science now sees the possibility of a cooling trend, not a warming trend.
But you have to actually “follow climate science” to know that.
Meanwhile in Australia, a study is coming out that links mental illness to climate change:
RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.
The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.
As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events.
Yeah, is the “emotional injury” a result of “climate change” or having your house, which shouldn’t have been built in a flood plane to begin with, washed away in a flood? Obviously people are going to be emotionally injured when they lose their house. But the same could be said about them if it burned down because of a grease fire.
These examples provide a look at two groups desperately casting around for favorable examples and coverage for themselves and their agendas. Politicians who’ve now decided the new normal for weather events is to have a media event, and the AGW crowd who will use anything, absolutely anything, no matter how absurd, to try to revive their dying assertions.
Welcome to the hurricane of hype.