Commentary: A reasoned response to a false charge


She was distraught, quite earnest in her fervor about the urgency of the “crisis of climate change” on the Sunday morning talk show. Her voice choked, wiping back a tear as she spoke of her children’s future, the urgency of immediately taking drastic measures to limit the rise of global temperatures. Such is the depth of belief among the “believers” of imminent climate catastrophe as articulated by political opportunists claiming “we have only 10 years left…this is our WWII.”

No amount of assurances will change their minds and no amount of contrary facts will distract them from their mission to save the planet. Any who disagree must be evil, “deniers,” a moniker designed to resurrect visages of Holocaust deniers or Nazi sympathizers.

I admit, when I left the Palm Theater in SLO after a performance of “An Inconvenient Truth” I was disturbed and concerned. I began to research the issue in depth as is my habit when serious topics arise. I’ve spent a lifetime researching disasters and  Earth sciences were my first academic love so this was a no-brainer to follow-up.

However, what I began to encounter were many references to “unprecedented events” whenever media reported on the topic of climate change, which often contradicted information already in my possession regarding the natural history of the earth. I was aware of many natural events, disasters that had occurred within the last several hundred years that easily surpassed the latest “unprecedented” weather event. A great deal of the public confusion existing today is a direct result of sloppy, shallow media reporting that hypes such events as somehow extraordinary when they’re just severe weather, not unknown in the past.

A columnist in this paper recently identified reasons he thought explained why someone of reasonable intelligence might fall into the “denier” category, identifying religion, monetary concerns, self-centeredness or simply ideology as the most likely reasons. Perhaps some might fit those categories, but all exclude a more reasonable explanation: the mantra of catastrophic climate change is simply and provably false, based upon existing science and widely available data. Not the least is the abject failure of the hyped “imminent disasters” predicted by the high-priests of catastrophic climate change that have spectacularly failed to materialize. If these people were religious prophets they would be defrocked.

A few years ago the media hyped the imminent demise of Polar Bears due to climate change. Dr. Susan Crockford spent 25 years researching Polar Bear families in the Arctic. Her research dispelled virtually every claim made about their demise, the role of sea ice, how they hunted and the fact that their population has expanded from about 5,000 in the 1970’s to over 30,000 today. She proved that the greatest threat to the bears was hunting by indigenous peoples who account for most of the non-natural deaths of bears and that the 14 identified family-groups were quite healthy. That didn’t stop the U.S. EPA from listing them as “threatened” which was done for political reasons to establish legal challenges to halt Arctic oil exploration more than protecting the bears. You won’t read that in most newspapers as it doesn’t conform to their policy on climate change reporting. Polar Bears in distress make better copy than happy bears doing fine.

Another “threat” is the accelerated rise of sea levels with expectations of a rise of 3 to even 6 feet by 2100 due to heating of the oceans. Sea levels have been rising naturally since the mid-1800’s, well before human activity could be blamed. Any human effect on sea level rise has not exceeded 1 inch per 30 years since 1950 and in total, sea levels have not risen more than 7 inches over the last 100 years. Sea levels aren’t the same over the globe with tectonics playing a significant role in local sea level. Much of the discrepancy is a result of failure to calibrate satellite data with ground-station tidal gauges which show no significantly, measureable increase in sea levels beyond what is normally expected in a world still warming from a mini-ice age that ended around 1850. I’d also point out that the “140 years of instrument surface temperatures” cited by the columnist are not uniformly accurate nor uniformly distributed, such as from the Southern Hemisphere, where such measurements in the 19th century and much of the 20th were haphazard. Currently, our most accurate sea-surface temperature data is from satellites but they weren’t deployed until the 1970’s, a very limited span of time when discussing global climate trends.

The same columnist questioned the sources of a denier and the papers they’ve written, so here are a few: Dr. Judith Curry, former Chair of School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author of over 200 peer-reviewed papers and Dr. Richard Lindzen; he is the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, a consultant to the Global Modeling and Simulation Group at NASA and holding numerous other distinguished awards and positions. He is the author or co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed papers and books. There are many others, too many to list in this article.

Climate hysteria poses a threat to both science and freedom as shallow politicians “never let a crisis go to waste” nor ignore an opportunity to expand government control at your expense. Every major Democrat-Progressive candidate is onboard the runaway climate train.

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