Blaming “Climate Change” for Hurricane Harvey
And so the activists blame Hurricane Harvey on “climate change.”
But the science says otherwise. From the Wall Street Journal:
Activists, journalists and scientists have pounced on the still-unfolding disaster in Houston and along the Gulf Coast in an attempt to focus the policy discussion narrowly on climate change. Such single-issue myopia takes precious attention away from policies that could improve our ability to prepare for and respond to disasters. More thoughtful and effective disaster policies are needed because the future will bring many more weather disasters like Hurricane Harvey, with larger impacts than those of the recent past.A good roundup of attempts by the activists to exploit the tragedy in Texas can be found here.
For many years, those seeking to justify carbon restrictions argued that hurricanes had become more common and intense. That hasn’t happened. Scientific assessments, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. government’s latest National Climate Assessment, indicate no long-term increases in the frequency or strength of hurricanes in the U.S. Neither has there been an increase in floods, droughts and tornadoes, though heat waves and heavy precipitation have become more common.
Prior to Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm, the U.S. had gone a remarkable 12 years without being hit by a hurricane of Category 3 strength or stronger. Since 1970 the U.S. has only seen four hurricanes of Category 4 or 5 strength. In the previous 47 years, the country was struck by 14 such storms. President Obama presided over the lowest rate of hurricane landfalls—0.5 a year—of any president since at least 1900. Eight presidents dealt with more than two a year, but George W. Bush (18 storms) is the only one to have done so since Lyndon B. Johnson. The rest occurred before 1960.
Without data to support their wilder claims, climate partisans have now resorted to shouting that every extreme weather event was somehow “made worse” by the emission of greenhouse gases. Earlier this week, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt directed researchers “to shed some of the fussy over-precision about the relationship between climate change and weather.”
Turning away from empirical science—or “fussy over-precision”—comes with risks. But whatever one’s views on climate, there should be broad agreement today that bigger disasters are coming. Some may blame greenhouse gases while others may believe it to be some sort of karmic retribution. But there is a simpler explanation: Because the world has experienced a remarkable period of good fortune when it comes to catastrophes, we are due.