I’m not sure where it comes from, but there seems to be an innate human need to blame natural disasters on human failings. This receives much deserved ridicule when religious fanatics blame earthquakes on a preponderance of cleavage. The non-religious crowd, however, needs a different type of moral turpitude on which to lay the blame. The obvious culprit of choice is your lifestyle of consumption which causes global warming…err climate change. Both sides try to make political hay from human suffering and both cases are pretty despicable.
This time around, Newsweek wants you to know that the tragic destruction in Joplin, Missouri is the fault of the Bush administration and its corporate task masters.
“Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage.”
Yes, it was a bad year for tornadoes. The visuals coming out of the areas affected have been heart wrenching. The most that can be said is that it’s an above average year. That’s what happens. Some years have more extreme weather, some less. It’s called climate and it always changes. That’s how nature works.
“From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone. Which means you haven’t seen anything yet.”
This, of course, is rank speculation with absolutely no science to back it up. The last 12,000 years has been anything but stable. This is especially true when discussing tornadoes. The most powerful tornado in American history happened in 1999, the fastest moving 1925, the longest track 1917. Following that 1999 tornado there was an eight year break until the next one. There is no known way to predict what year will have an above average tornado season. The same thing happens with hurricanes; in 2010 NOAA predicted a hurricane season to rival 2005’s. We all know how that one turned out.
In any event, what follows is a laundry list of apocalyptic prophecy, seas boiling, and deserts over taking continents, dust bowls, and the like. The only problem here is that even true climate change believers can’t agree on what will happen. More rain, less rain, more forests, less forests, more crop yields, lower crop yields, more fish, less fish, bigger fish, smaller fish, colder, warmer, drier, wetter these are all things predicted in peer reviewed scientific journals based on upcoming climate change.
There are several logical steps that need to be completed before people can be convinced that lifestyle changes need to be made.
Is there provable change in climate?
The reason why the narrative has gone from global warming to climate change is that warming went the way of the cooling of the 70s. Now any weather extreme may be (and is) held up proof of the upcoming apocalypse.
Let us assume, for the moment, that there is a quantifiable change in the climate. What is causing it?
You need to show that what you say is the cause actually is the cause without a reasonable doubt. There might be several reasons-changes in how much energy the sun is putting out, changes in the jet stream, and greenhouse gases. Is it what you say it is? Can you prove that it isn’t something else?
In another gimme, let’s assume you’ve proven it. Now, what do you want to do about it? Does the solution you’re providing actually do what you want it to do at a bearable cost? If you’re going to save a trillion dollars in future costs by causing two trillion dollars of damage to the economy, you might want to rethink your plan.
At the end of the story, it is impossible to even answer the first question sufficiently. That leaves us with the feeling that this is making political hay from the pain and suffering of others for no reason other than to make political points.
The Talmud says in the name of Rabbi Yochanan, “Since the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from prophets and given to fools…” (Tractate Baba Batra 12b)
Newsweek once again show themselves to be fools.