Irma's Inconvenient Impotence Ignored

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, an editorial at Investor's Business Daily half-jokingly asks when "climate change" will get its due credit for the storm delivering less of a punch than had been widely (and wildly) predicted.

Image of cherry-picking, courtesy of Pixabay.
Last week, there was talk of massive destruction across the state, with damage estimates ranging up to $200 billion. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levin called it "a nuclear hurricane." Storm tracks last week showed Irma remaining a Category 4 hurricane for a significant portion of its trek across Florida. When Irma shifted to the west as it approached, it was described as the "worst-case scenario" for the state.

However, when Irma made landfall in the U.S., it's strength quickly diminished and the actual damages to Florida in dollar terms will likely be 75% lower than predicted.

While those dire forecasts were being made, environmentalists and politicians were busy pinning the blame on global warming.

It was the same after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding in Houston. It's the case whenever there is an adverse weather event. If there's a drought, it's because of "climate change." If there's flooding, climate change. Wild fires, climate change. Blizzards? Climate change.

So will environmentalists credit climate change for Irma's unexpected turn for the better?
Needless to say, this reminds me of the work of fossil fuel advocate Alex Epstein who, often smeared as a "denier" of climate change, once had this to say about the topic:
A huge source of confusion in our public discussion is the separation of people (including scientists) into 'climate change believers' and 'climate change deniers' -- the latter a not-so-subtle comparison to Holocaust deniers. 'Deniers' are ridiculed for denying the existence of the greenhouse effect, an effect by which certain molecules, including CO2, take infrared light waves that the Earth reflects back toward space and then reflect them back toward the Earth, creating a warming effect. But this is a straw man. Every 'climate change denier' I know of recognizes the existence of the greenhouse effect, and many if not most think man has had some noticeable impact on climate. What they deny is that there is evidence of a catastrophic impact from CO2's warming effect. That is, they are expressing a different opinion about how fossil fuels affect climate -- particularly about the nature and magnitude of their impact.
In a similar vein, the IBD editorial makes the following observation regarding what all this one-sided "evidence" suggests, in light of the political agenda of those who keep spouting it:
This one-sidedness isn't evidence that global warming is real or inherently cataclysmic. It is, instead, evidence that global warming advocates are more interested in pushing a political agenda than actual science.
If advocates of global warming hysteria had any genuine regard for the "planet" (speaking loosely and generously) they say they want to "save", they would consider the idea that we might derive some benefits from a warmer climate, such as those the editorial goes on to mention. But if they did that, they might also have to branch out and consider, as Epstein points out in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, the further benefits of
continued use of same.

-- CAV

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