Alleged news from the South Arctic Circle

The Associated Press claims:

It might seem counterintuitive, but the dreaded “polar vortex” is bringing its icy grip to the Midwest thanks to a sudden blast of warm air in the Arctic.

Get used to it. The polar vortex has been wandering more often in recent years.

It all started with misplaced Moroccan heat. Last month, the normally super chilly air temperatures 20 miles above the North Pole rapidly rose by about 125 degrees (70 degrees Celsius), thanks to air flowing in from the south. It’s called “sudden stratospheric warming.”

That warmth split the polar vortex, leaving the pieces to wander, said Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research, a commercial firm outside Boston.

“Where the polar vortex goes, so goes the cold air,” Cohen said.

By Wednesday morning, one of those pieces will be over the Lower 48 states for the first time in years. The forecast calls for a low of minus 21 degrees (minus 29 Celsius) in Chicago and wind chills flirting with minus 65 degrees (minus 54 Celsius) in parts of Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.

The unusual cold could stick around another eight weeks, Cohen said.

“The impacts from this split, we have a ways to go. It’s not the end of the movie yet,” Cohen said. “I think at a minimum, we’re looking at mid-February, possibly through mid-March.”

Americans were introduced to the polar vortex five years ago. It was in early January 2014 when temperatures dropped to minus 16 degrees (minus 27 Celsius) in Chicago and meteorologists, who used the term for decades, started talking about it on social media.

This outbreak may snap some daily records for cold and is likely to be even more brutal than five years ago, especially with added wind chill, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private weather firm Weather Underground. …

Some scientists — but by no means most — see a connection between human-caused climate change and difference in atmospheric pressure that causes slower moving waves in the air.

“It’s a complicated story that involves a hefty dose of chaos and an interplay among multiple influences, so extracting a clear signal of the Arctic’s role is challenging,” said Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. Several recent papers have made the case for the connection, she noted.

“This symptom of global warming is counterintuitive for those in the cross-hairs of these extreme cold spells,” Francis said in an email. “But these events provide an excellent opportunity to help the public understand some of the ‘interesting’ ways that climate change will unfold.”

Others, like Furtado, aren’t sold yet on the climate change connection.

Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Victor Gensini, who has already felt temperatures that seem like 25 degrees below zero, said there’s “a growing body of literature” to support the climate connection. But he says more evidence is needed.

“Either way,” Gensini said, “it’s going to be interesting being in the bullseye of the Midwest cold.”

So the AP strongly hints that something that has happened twice in this decade is the fault of magical climate change, which causes hot, cold, dry and wet weather.

I am not a climate scientist, but I think two events in five years does not necessarily constitute a trend. Up until the last week, this was a pleasantly mild winter, compared to the much worse winter of 2013–14, the first time the hateful phrase “polar vortex” entered the lexicon. (The 2013–14 cold was blamed on snow in Siberia the previous October.)

One of the things I do in my day(s-ending-in-Y) job is to list the record high and low temperatures each week. Since I have been doing that the past seven years, we have had 10 days of record or record-tying highs, and nine nights of record or record-tying lows. Is that really a trend?

We haven’t had a really bad winter since that 2013–14 winter, which, by the way, set zero cold-temperature records in Presteblog World Headquarters. Did the polar vortex cause the –51 temperature in Lone Rock Jan. 30, 1951? That was the coldest temperature in the nation that day, leading to the U.S. 14 sign “Coldest in the Nation with the Warmest Heart,” accompanied by a polar bear.

How about the –55 in Couderay Feb. 2 and 4, 1996? That was seven months after record highs throughout Wisconsin, including one dog’s-breath day where Appleton had the nation’s highest heat index, 140. How about the days in January 1936 when record lows were set, six months before record highs (including the state’s all-time record high, 114 in Wisconsin Dells July 13, 1936)?

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center’s predictions for the next six to 10 days …

… eight to 14 days …

… three to four weeks …

… and overall the next month …

… indicate a trend toward colder weather, but not a hugely strong trend.

This is an example of agenda journalism — deciding what the story is about and finding evidence for your position, instead of finding out whether this is really unprecedented weather. (Check the winters of 1977 through 1979, which were horrible and far worse than anything this year.) And the national media wonders why it’s lost credibility with its readers, listeners and viewers.



Dueling winter predictions

Country Living first reported

You may want to swap out your snow boots for rain boots this year. Most of the country can expect more rain and less snow this winter, says The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The OFA, founded in 1792, just released its annual weather forecast—and it says that 2019 will be warm and wet.

… and then reported:

Don’t toss those snow boots just yet: Just days after The Old Farmer’s Almanacforecasted a warm, wet winter, the other Farmers’ Almanac has predicted the exact opposite: A long, cold, snowy winter.

“Contrary to some stories floating around on the internet, our time-tested, long-range formula is pointing towards a very long, cold, and snow-filled winter,” Farmers’ Almanac Editor and Philom Peter Geiger says in the press release. “We stand by our forecast and formula, which accurately predicted most of the winter storms last year as well as this summer’s steamy, hot conditions.”

Our cold climate

David French goes back to 1988:

The rapture was supposed to happen on September 13, 1988. A few fringe pastors were screaming that the end was nigh, that the righteous would soon disappear into the air while the rest of humanity was doomed to suffer a quite literal hell on earth. Forget the biblical admonition that no man knows the day nor hour of Christ’s return, these men had figured it out. It was time to prepare yourself.

I was a sophomore at a Christian college in Nashville, and it was the talk of the campus. No one likes to make fun of crazy Christian preachers more than irreverent Christian college students, and we couldn’t stop dividing the student body between the saved and the damned.
When the alarm clock rang the morning after the scheduled rapture, I hit snooze, and said, triumphantly, to my roommate, “We’re still here!” There was no response. “Hello?” Still no response. I looked down at his bed, and no one was there. For about nine seconds I was gripped by sheer panic. I’d been left behind. The lake of fire awaits! Then my roommate walked in from the shower, and the crisis passed.

I thought of this story as I watched Rush Limbaugh’s Al Gore “armageddon” clock expire. In January, 2006 — when promoting his Oscar-winning (yes, Oscar-winning) documentary, An Inconvenient Truth — Gore declared that unless we took “drastic measures” to reduce greenhouse gasses, the world would reach a “point of no return” in a mere ten years. He called it a “true planetary emergency.” Well, the ten years passed today, we’re still here, and the climate activists have postponed the apocalypse. Again.

There’s a veritable online cottage industry cataloguing hysterical, failed predictions of environmentalist catastrophe.
‌Gore’s prediction fits right in with the rest of his comrades in the wild-eyed environmentalist movement. There’s a veritable online cottage industry cataloguing hysterical, failed predictions of environmentalist catastrophe. Over at the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Perry keeps his list of “18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions” made around the original Earth Day in 1970. Robert Tracinski at The Federalist has a nice list of “Seven big failed environmentalist predictions.” The Daily Caller’s “25 years of predicting the global warming ‘tipping point’” makes for amusing reading, including one declaration that we had mere “hours to act” to “avert a slow-motion tsunami.”

But for sheer vivid lunacy, nothing matches this Good Morning America report from 2008:

The images show Manhattan shrinking against the onslaught of the rising seas — in 2015. Last year. Gasoline was supposed to be $9 per gallon. Milk would cost almost $13 per gallon. Wildfires would rage, hurricanes would strike with ever-greater intensity. By the end of the clip I was expecting to see the esteemed doctors Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, and Ray Stantz step forward to predict, “Rivers and Seas boiling!” “Forty years of darkness!” And of course the ultimate disasters: “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together . . . Mass hysteria!”
Can we ignore them yet? Apparently not. Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry. Simply change the cataclysm — Overpopulation! No, global cooling! No, global warming! No, climate change! — push the apocalypse back just a few more years, and you’re in business, big business.
Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry.
In reality, I respect the wild-eyed rapture-pastors far more than the climate hysterics. They merely ask me to believe, they don’t use the power of government to dictate how I live. Pastors aren’t circumventing the democratic process to impose dangerous and job-killing environmental regulations. Draconian fuel-economy standards have actually cost American lives. And now the coal industry is reeling in part because of stringent EPA standards. Overall, the EPA’s climate-change regulations are set to impose enormous economic costs.

Even worse, the hysterics are hypocrites. It’s austerity for thee but not for me as they jet around the globe to speak to adoring audiences about the need for sacrifice. As Good Morning America broadcast its shrieking warning about Manhattan’s imminent doom, how many environmentalist liberals were selling their Park Avenue apartments and moving to higher ground? They’re like a drunk preacher screaming about the evils of demon rum. They refuse to walk their talk. As Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds often says, we should believe there’s a crisis when the alarmists start acting like there’s a crisis.

There are indeed scientists laboring away in good faith to understand more about our climate, and I applaud their work. But climate activists all too often are the close cousins of politically correct campus race hucksters — they cloak their raw will to power in the self-righteous cloak of the great and glorious cause. We’ve taken them seriously for far too long. Now, it’s time to laugh.

The (potential) joys of global warming

Investors Business Daily notes about Hurricane Irma:

Perhaps the best indication that Irma failed to live up to its billing is the fact that the broad stock indexes — including insurance companies — rallied on Monday while various construction-related stocks took it on the chin. When can we expect to see stories about how global warming deserves the credit?

There’s no question that Irma was and continues to be destructive. But there’s also no question that it was not nearly the storm it was predicted by all the experts to be.

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?

Even if that were true — and, for the record, we aren’t saying it is — environmentalists wouldn’t admit it, because the only thing that never, ever gets linked to climate change is good weather.

Indeed, any talk of the benefits of climate change is treated as dangerous nonsense, not because the benefits are unlikely, but because that sort of happy talk might cause people to become “complacent” about the need to fight climate change through onerous, intrusive and massively expensive government edicts.

That’s why you rarely hear about longer growing seasons that a warmer planet would produce in northern regions, which would lower food prices and reduce hunger, or the reduced number of fatalities from extreme cold, or how past periods of non-human-caused warming were ones of relative abundance.

It’s also why there’s so little research into other potential benefits of climate change, or what the relative balance between costs and benefits would be. Who is going to fund research into such things when the entire government-science-research complex is singularly devoted to proving that climate change will destroy humanity?

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.

Occasionally, however, some good news slips through the climate change praetorian guard.

One was in the form of a study published by the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Nature in April 2016. The authors found that the weather in America had actually become increasingly pleasant over the past 40 years because of climate change — winters have been less severe while summers didn’t get much hotter.

As a result, the authors said, “80% of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather than they did four decades ago.”

This summer, University of York environmental professor Chris Thomas published a book, “Inheritors of the Earth”, in which he showed how global warming could be good for biodiversity, because species that need warmth would benefit while those that don’t would be largely unaffected.

Needless to say, these findings were not greeted with adulation from environmentalists.

In fact, when Rep. Lamar Smith made the case that climate change could be an overall benefit to humanity, he was mocked by Michael Mann, the climate scientists who as we noted in this space has been accused of manipulating temperature data but who is still the go-to expert for journalists. Mann told the far-left Huffington Post “it is clear” Smith is “slowly advancing through the stages of denial … having apparently now moved from ‘it’s not happening,’ to ‘ok—it’s happening, but IT WILL BE GOOD FOR US.”

Don’t expect Mann to apologize if he, not Smith, turns out to be wrong.

Joe Bastardi adds on Twitter:

Let me be clear, I believe in climate change, and always have. Its what history has always shown. Warm=climate optimums its natural

The last two Wisconsin winters have been historically mild. This past summer was certainly not hot, and it was wet, as predicted. Mild winters mean lower heating bills, which means more money in your pocket. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing, except, I guess, for those who want to control our lives through government.

Or, in cartoon form:

Winters are a major reason to not live in Wisconsin. I am favor of anything that makes winter less hideous.


Hurricane facts and hysterics

The arrivals of hurricanes Harvey and Irma led to predictable screaming about global climate change and the connection to hurricanes.

The truth comes from Mike Smith:

Whether it is Leonard Pitts or New Republicthe misinformation about global warming and its connection, if any, to U.S. hurricanes gotten really silly. Because the genuine science doesn’t support the contention, their argument is reduced to this:

“And the timing of them, combined with the historic awfulness of them, feels more sinister than simple coincidence, does it not?”

Feels more sinister”? — The arguments for catastrophic global warming have jumped the shark.

Fact: Until August 25, 2017, when Harvey came ashore, the United States (including Hawaii) went a record 11 years and 10 months without a major hurricane. The period of record is from 1850 to the present. The former record was from 1900 to 1906, so we nearly doubled the previous record — very good news. 

Fact: Worldwide, there is no upward trend in hurricanesSee the data for yourself (below).

Both graphs courtesy Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., click to enlarge

Fact: Worldwide, natural disaster costs are lessening.

Is global warming an issue? Yes, it is, as I have stated many times. But, exaggeration or appeals to feelings do far more harm than good.

During a hurricane in 1900, a storm surge rose out of the Gulf of Mexico and annihilated Galveston, Texas, killing about 8,000 men, women and children.

In 1935, at least 408 people died when another cyclone slammed into the Florida Keys, many of them World War I veterans working on construction projects.

And in 1957, Hurricane Audrey’s storm surges crashed into the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, killing 390 people.

Hurricane Irma, which slammed into Florida over the weekend, was in a similar league as those storms in its sheer power, and the number of people living in vulnerable areas has only grown.

So how has the number of deaths — in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as of Monday night — remained in single digits?

The answer is the modern science of hurricane monitoring and preparation, which has saved countless lives as forecasting, satellite monitoring and government planning have dramatically improved in recent decades.

One study in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews calculated that America suffered an average of 1,400 hurricane deaths per decade from 1910 to 1939, 700 deaths per decade from 1940 to 1969, and about 250 deaths per decade from 1970 to 1999.

“The number of people killed in hurricanes halves about every 25 years, in spite of the fact that coastal populations have been increasing, because of what we’re doing with forecasting,” said Hugh Willoughby, a professor of meteorology at Florida International University in Miami.

Journalists with agendas, hurricane edition

Christian Britschgi wrote this late last week:

The flood waters from Hurricane Harvey are mercifully receding from Houston. Unfortunately, the flood of hot takes blaming Houston’s development for the floods has continued unabated.

Despite repeated debunking from a wide range of commentators and urban policy experts, the idea that unregulated development caused the massive swell of storm water has seamlessly shifted from off-the-cuff observations to conventional wisdom.

“Houston’s sprawl gave the city terrible traffic and an outsized pollution footprint even before the hurricane. When the rains came, the vast paved-over area meant that rising waters had nowhere to go,” wrote Paul Krugman in his Monday New York Times column. Roane Carney of The Nation made the same claim last week, saying that Houston has witnessed a continual battle between developers who want to pave over green fields and the engineers and scientists who want to stop that in the name of flood prevention.

For a more informed view, I spoke with Neil Sander, a principal at Dynamic Engineering Consultants, P.C. who holds a master’s in civil engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Sander has worked on commercial developments in the Houston area for the past five years.

Far from being an unregulated wild west, Sander says, Houston is typical in how it regulates storm water runoff.

“Houston is governed by a number of different storm water ordinances from different entities,” he tells Reason. “The City of Houston, Harris County Flood Control District, and the Texas Department of Transportation all limit the amount of water you can release from a development, regardless of how much you pave.” These regulations lay out rules for the quantity and rate of storm water runoff allowed from developments and for how that runoff is managed.

One need only look at the City of Houston’s Infrastructure Design Manual for evidence of this.

Nearly a quarter of the 400-page manual—which governs everything from traffic signals to easement requirements—is devoted to storm water collection and drainage requirements, dictating how much water must be detained for a given amount of pavement and how quickly that water must be drained from a property. Other rules cover everything from the design and capacity of drainage ditches and culverts to the minimum spacing of storm water inlets.

Asked how well Houston regulates storm water runoff compared to other areas, Sander says the city does it “as well as anyplace else.”

“Some places are very heavily overregulated, especially in the Northeast, but there is nothing uniquely awful about Houston,” he tells Reason. “They look at all the same measurements that other municipalities look at. Certainly they have hundreds of pages of regulations on the subject.”

Sander adds that the post-Harvey focus on impervious surfaces is misplaced.

According to analysis from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and Engineering Center, Hurricane Harvey was a 1-in-1,000-year event, dumping nearly 20 trillion gallons of water on the Houston area in only a few days. No amount of planning or infrastructure can handle that kind of water, Sander notes. Even for green fields, “little water beyond a two- or five-year event is infiltrating anyway.”

Sander suspects that current calls for more comprehensive urban planning are opportunistic. “Somebody has a solution sitting on a self, waiting for what they think is the right opportunity to roll it out,” he says. But when it comes to surviving storms like Harvey, “I can say confidently that introducing zoning to Houston would make zero difference.”

Instead of waiting for government …

Brian Doheny:

After a natural disaster of the hideous and shocking scope of the floods along the Texas coast this week, government response will never be—can never be—sufficient to people’s needs, either for immediate rescue or for long-term rebuilding.

If you don’t believe a libertarian on that point, a friend of mine with zero ideological antagonism toward government experienced in volunteer disaster relief in post-Katrina New Orleans and elsewhere stresses to all his curious Facebook followers that government, local or federal, is just not actually equipped to deal with providing all the help people require when storms like this hit, the existence of agencies with names like “Federal Emergency Management Agency” (FEMA) notwithstanding.

FEMA, as Mark Lisheron explained yesterday, brings with it as much or more harassing control and time-and money-wasting bureaucratic bungling as it does actual intelligent, well-managed life-saving aid.

The New Yorker this week shines a light on one of the real solutions in the wake of disaster, one that thankfully doesn’t feel obligated to wait for government orders, funding, or control: the Cajun Navy, a private organization out of Louisiana skilled and experienced at boat rescues of people trapped in (or on top of) their homes in a flood.

The Cajun Navy’s John Bridgers says modern private technology/communication companies like Facebook make the all-important communication of who is in need of help and where much easier, even as government’s 911 is strained beyond its capacities, as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner admitted it was.

Reason‘s Jesse Walker has reported and argued in the past, the issue isn’t just governmental vs. private: even big private bureaucracies such as the Red Cross fall prey to institutional imperatives and the impossibility of accurate and fast-moving local knowledge that make them often inefficient and ineffective.

As Walker wrote in 2014 (though not discussing the Cajun Navy specifically) “such networks [are known] to be more flexible, more capable of adjusting to conditions on the ground, and—when the groups are themselves locally based—more receptive to local knowledge” in delivering needed aid quickly and smartly.

Walker has also importantly reported on the fact that humans in deemed-ungovernable post-disaster situations actually have a greater tendency toward self- and other-aid than toward reduction to some sort of violent and chaotic Hobbesian “state of nature.”

The men and woman of the Cajun Navy live out the message of Walker’s reporting: the attitude that we must, or can, rely on public bureaucracies in moments of great crisis is insanely unsafe and wildly un-American. As we see so often, Americans inspired not by central commands and government contracts but by the will and desire to help, exist and rise to the occasion.

It is, alas, never enough to either save everyone that needs saving or fully blunt the terrifying damage nature can cause, and no single source of aid will get everything right. But privately organized and funded aid is real, and necessary, and can be as simple and direct as what the Cajun Navy’s Bridgers told The New Yorker: “We’re all sportsmen around here,” he said. “Pretty much every other person has a boat. So we got going.”

One would hope Wisconsinites faced with a massive natural disaster would have the wherewithal to help their neighbors instead of waiting for government to show up. (Though probably not in Madison and Milwaukee.)


More inconvenient truths

Alex Epstein chops up Algore’s “An Inconvenient Sequel”:

The more than seven billion people living in the world today need affordable, abundant energy — and a livable climate — to flourish. But the world’s leading source of energy is also the leading source of increasing greenhouse gases.

What to do? This is the vital question Al Gore took on in his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, and takes on again in his newly released follow-up An Inconvenient Sequel.

As the most influential figure in the international climate conversation, Gore has a responsibility to give us the whole picture of fossil fuels’ impacts — both their benefits and the risks they pose to humans flourishing. Unfortunately, Gore has given us a deeply biased picture that completely ignores fossil fuels’ indispensable benefits and wildly exaggerates their impact on climate.

The running theme throughout An Inconvenient Sequel is that Gore’s first film was even more right than he expected. The movie begins with defenders of fossil fuels mocking or ignoring the dramatic predictions of An Inconvenient Truth. Leaving aside a heroic (and highly disputed) portrayal of Gore rescuing the Paris climate accord, the rest of the movie focuses on vindicating Gore’s two chief predictions: 1) That we could replace fossil fuels with cheap solar- and wind-powered “renewables”; and 2) that continued use of fossil fuels would lead to catastrophic temperature rises, catastrophic sea-level rises, catastrophic flooding, catastrophic drought, catastrophic storms, and catastrophic disease proliferation.

To justify these claims, Gore makes extensive uses of anecdotes: he shows us the town of Georgetown, Tex. and its use of 100-per-cent renewable energy, a deadly heat wave in India, a deadly flood in Miami, a deadly drought in Syria, a deadly storm in the Philippines, and the Zika virus penetrating the United States.

Some of his anecdotes are meant to prove that cheap solar and wind are, as 2006 Gore prophesied, quickly dominating the world’s energy supply and, as 2006 Gore also warned us, that our rapidly warming climate is killing more and more people each year. But he has not given us the whole picture.

Take the rising dominance of solar and wind, which is used to paint supporters of fossil fuels as troglodytes, fools, and shills for Big Oil. The combined share of world energy consumption from renewables is all of two per cent. And it’s an expensive, unreliable, and therefore difficult-to-scale two per cent.

Because solar and wind are “unreliables,” they need to be backed up by reliable sources of power, usually fossil fuels, or sometimes non-carbon sources including nuclear and large-scale hydro power (all of which Gore and other environmentalists refuse to support). This is why every grid that incorporates significant solar and wind has more expensive electricity. Germans, on the hook for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s self-righteous anti-carbon commitments, are already paying three times the rates for electricity that Americans do.

Stories about “100-per-cent renewable” locations like Georgetown, Tex. are not just anecdotal evidence, they are lies. The Texas grid from which Georgetown draws its electricity is comprised of 43.7 per cent natural gas, 28.8 per cent coal, 12 per cent nuclear, and only 15.6 per cent renewable. Using a virtue-signalling gimmick pioneered by Apple, Facebook, and Google, Georgetown pays its state utility to label its grid electricity “renewable” —  even though it draws its power from that fossil-fuel heavy Texas grid — while tarring others on the grid as “non-renewable.”

If we look at the overall trends instead of engaging in anecdotal manipulation we see that fossil fuel energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the world — still. Fossil fuels have never been more vital to human flourishing. There are 1,600 coal plants planned for the near future, which could increase international coal capacity 43 per cent. Advances in technology are making fossil fuels cleaner, safer, and more efficient than ever. To reduce their growth let alone to radically restrict their use — which is what Gore advocates — means forcing energy poverty on billions of people.

Gore and others should be free to make the case that the danger of greenhouse gases is so serious as to warrant that scale of human misery. But they should have to quantify and justify the magnitude of climate danger. And that brings us to the truth about climate.

The overall trend in climate danger is that it is at an all-time low. The Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) shows 6,114 climate-related deaths in 2016. In other recent years the numbers have maxed out in the tens of thousands. Compare this to the 1930s when, adjusted for population, climate-related deaths hit the 10-million mark several times.

The most significant cause of our radically reduced climate danger is industrial development, which takes a naturally dangerous climate and makes it unnaturally safe. And industrial development is driven by cheap, plentiful, reliable energy — which, today, overwhelmingly means fossil fuels. Climate will always be dangerous so priority number one is to have the energy and development to tame it. Modern irrigation, residential heating and air conditioning have made once uninhabitable places perfectly comfortable.

Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel gives a biased, self-serving, and convenient picture of fossil fuels and climate — convenient for Gore’s legacy, that is, but inconvenient for the billions his energy poverty policies will harm. As citizens, we must start demanding responsible thought leaders who will give us the whole picture that life-and-death energy and climate decisions require.

Algore (and his supporters), hypocrite(s)

The National Center for Policy Analysis:

In February 2007, the day after his panicky global warming film “An Inconvenient Truth” won an Academy Award for best documentary, a shocking report based on public records revealed that Al Gore’s Nashville home consumed 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

Facing scrutiny for his extreme electricity consumption, the former vice president pledged to renovate his home to become greener and more energy-efficient. The extensive and expensive overhaul of Gore’s house included installing solar panels and geothermal heating.

In order to determine the effectiveness of the environmentally-friendly remodel and learn whether the self-appointed spokesman of the environmental movement has amended his energy-devouring ways, the National Center for Public Policy Research obtained Gore’s electricity usage information through public records requests and conversations with the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In powering his home, Gore still greatly outpaces most Americans in energy consumption. The findings were shocking:

  • The past year, Gore’s home energy use averaged 19,241 kilowatt hours (kWh) every month, compared to the U.S. household average of 901 kWh per month.
  • Gore guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.
  • In September of 2016, Gore’s home consumed 30,993 kWh in just one month – as much energy as a typical American family burns in 34 months.• During the last 12 months, Gore devoured 66,159 kWh of electricity just heating his pool. That is enough energy to power six average U.S. households for a year.
  • From August 2016 through July 2017, Gore spent almost $22,000 on electricity bills.
  • Gore paid an estimated $60,000 to install 33 solar panels. Those solar panels produce an average of 1,092 kWh per month, only 5.7% of Gore’s typical monthly energy consumption.

No matter how the numbers are viewed, Al Gore uses vastly more electricity at his home than the average American – a particularly inconvenient truth given his hypocritical calls for all Americans to reduce their home energy use.

Al Gore resides in a 10,070-square-foot Colonial-style home in the posh Belle Meade section of Nashville, the eighth-wealthiest neighborhood in America according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The home, which was built in 1915, contains 20 rooms – including five bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half-baths. Gore purchased the property, including the home and the surrounding 2.09 acre lot, in 2002 for $2.3 million. …

Gore also owns at least two other homes, a pied-à-terre in San Francisco’s St. Regis Residence Club and a farm house in Carthage, Tennessee. …

Al Gore has attained a near-mythical status for his frenzied efforts to propagandize global warming. At the same time, Gore has done little to prove his commitment to the cause in his own life. While Gore encourages people throughout the world to reduce their carbon footprint and make drastic changes to cut energy consumption, Gore’s own home electricity use has hypocritically increased to more than 21 times the national average this past year with no sign of slowing down.

This is nothing new for environmentalists, who fly to Switzerland every year to proclaim that global climate change is destroying Gaia, which they worship instead of God. To paraphrase what Instapundit Glenn Harlan Reynolds has said about Gore and others of his ilk: I’ll believe global climate change is a crisis when Gore and his ilk start acting like it’s a crisis.


The correct view of climate change

The Wall Street Journal prints some inconvenient truth about our global climate

Climate change is often misunderstood as a package deal: If global warming is “real,” both sides of the debate seem to assume, the climate lobby’s policy agenda follows inexorably.

It does not. Climate policy advocates need to do a much better job of quantitatively analyzing economic costs and the actual, rather than symbolic, benefits of their policies. Skeptics would also do well to focus more attention on economic and policy analysis.

To arrive at a wise policy response, we first need to consider how much economic damage climate change will do. Current models struggle to come up with economic costs commensurate with apocalyptic political rhetoric. Typical costs are well below 10% of gross domestic product in the year 2100 and beyond.

That’s a lot of money—but it’s a lot of years, too. Even 10% less GDP in 100 years corresponds to 0.1 percentage point less annual GDP growth. Climate change therefore does not justify policies that cost more than 0.1 percentage point of growth. If the goal is 10% more GDP in 100 years, pro-growth tax, regulatory and entitlement reforms would be far more effective.

Yes, the costs are not evenly spread. Some places will do better and some will do worse. The American South might be a worse place to grow wheat; Southern Canada might be a better one. In a century, Miami might find itself in approximately the same situation as the Dutch city of Rotterdam today.

But spread over a century, the costs of moving and adapting are not as imposing as they seem. Rotterdam’s dikes are expensive, but not prohibitively so. Most buildings are rebuilt about every 50 years. If we simply stopped building in flood-prone areas and started building on higher ground, even the costs of moving cities would be bearable. Migration is costly. But much of the world’s population moved from farms to cities in the 20th century. Allowing people to move to better climates in the 21st will be equally possible. Such investments in climate adaptation are small compared with the investments we will regularly make in houses, businesses, infrastructure and education.

And economics is the central question—unlike with other environmental problems such as chemical pollution. Carbon dioxide hurts nobody’s health. It’s good for plants. Climate change need not endanger anyone. If it did—and you do hear such claims—then living in hot Arizona rather than cool Maine, or living with Louisiana’s frequent floods, would be considered a health catastrophe today.

Global warming is not the only risk our society faces. Even if science tells us that climate change is real and man-made, it does not tell us, as President Obama asserted, that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity. Really? Greater than nuclear explosions, a world war, global pandemics, crop failures and civil chaos?

No. Healthy societies do not fall apart over slow, widely predicted, relatively small economic adjustments of the sort painted by climate analysis. Societies do fall apart from war, disease or chaos. Climate policy must compete with other long-term threats for always-scarce resources.

Facing this reality, some advocate that we buy some “insurance.” Sure, they argue, the projected economic cost seems small, but it could turn out to be a lot worse. But the same argument applies to any possible risk. If you buy overpriced insurance against every potential danger, you soon run out of money. You can sensibly insure only when the premium is in line with the risk—which brings us back where we started, to the need for quantifying probabilities, costs, benefits and alternatives. And uncertainty goes both ways. Nobody forecast fracking, or that it would make the U.S. the world’s carbon-reduction leader. Strategic waiting is a rational response to a slow-moving uncertain peril with fast-changing technology.

Global warming is not even the obvious top environmental threat. Dirty water, dirty air and insect-borne diseases are a far greater problem today for most people world-wide. Habitat loss and human predation are a far greater problem for most animals. Elephants won’t make it to see a warmer climate. Ask them how they would prefer to spend $1 trillion—subsidizing high-speed trains or a human-free park the size of Montana.

Then, we need to know what effect proposed policies have and at what cost. Scientific, quantifiable or even vaguely plausible cause-and-effect thinking are missing from much advocacy for policies to reduce carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “scientific” recommendations, for example, include “reduced gender inequality & marginalization in other forms,” “provisioning of adequate housing,” “cash transfers” and “awareness raising & integrating into education.” Even if some of these are worthy goals, they are not scientifically valid, cost-benefit-tested policies to cool the planet.

Climate policy advocates’ apocalyptic vision demands serious analysis, and mushy thinking undermines their case. If carbon emissions pose the greatest threat to humanity, it follows that the costs of nuclear power—waste disposal and the occasional meltdown—might be bearable. It follows that the costs of genetically modified foods and modern pesticides, which can feed us with less land and lower carbon emissions, might be bearable. It follows that if the future of civilization is really at stake, adaptation or geo-engineering should not be unmentionable. And it follows that symbolic, ineffective, political grab-bag policies should be intolerable.

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