It’s all global warming, dontchaknow. Hurricane Katrina smashed its way across the U.S. because of global warming. Any winter that is extra cold or extra warm was caused by global warming. Whether the summer is wet or dry, it’s caused by global warming. Whether the Pacific is dominated by El Niño or La Niña, the cause is global warming. If you haven’t picked up the thread already, fans of the global warming theory view just about everything as being caused by global warming.
Even as terrible as the devastation from Hurricane Katrina has been, I didn’t think it would take long for people to start placing the blame for it on global warming, and — by extension — America. Sadly, I didn’t have to wait very long. German newspaper Der Spiegel quickly posted the following:
The toughest commentary of the day comes from Germany’s Environmental Minister, Jürgen Trittin, a Green Party member, who takes space in the Frankfurter Rundschau, a paper friendly with the Social Democrats, to bash US President George W. Bush’s environmental laxity. He begins by likening the photos and videos of the hurricane stricken areas to scenes from a Roland Emmerich sci-fi film and insists that global warming and climate change are making it ever more likely that storms and floods will plague America and Europe. “There is only one possible route of action,” he writes. “Greenhouse gases have to be radically reduced and it has to happen worldwide. Until now, the US has kept its eyes shut to this emergency. (Americans) make up a mere 4 percent of the population, but are responsible for close to a quarter of emissions.” He adds that the average American is responsible for double as much carbon dioxide as the average European. “The Bush government rejects international climate protection goals by insisting that imposing them would negatively impact the American economy. The American president is closing his eyes to the economic and human costs his land and the world economy are suffering under natural catastrophes like Katrina and because of neglected environmental policies.” As such, Trittin also calls for a reworking of the Kyoto Protocol — dubbing it the uncreative title of “Kyoto 2″ — and insisting that the US be included.
So it’s somehow President Bush’s fault that the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 against ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 1999, two years before Bush even took office. Now that’s understandable. But it’s not just the Germans who are bashing the President and Republicans for global warming. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has also jumped on the bandwagon with a recent post to Arianna Huffington’s blog that blames Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour for failing to reduce CO2 emissions in the U.S., thus contributing to global warming. I have already written about why CO2 isn’t the horrible global threat the Leftists make it out to be. It comprises less than 3% of the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, but it’s the one that gets all the press. If the global warming busybodies really wanted to make a dent in greenhouse gases, they’d address water vapor, since water makes up 97% of the greenhouse gases. But they don’t. Even if there were something they could do about water vapor — and there isn’t — you can’t really place restrictions on a substance as vital to human life as water.
Environmentalist RFK Jr. points his finger at Republicans. Germans lay the blame for the Kyoto treaty not being ratified on President Bush. And raving moonbat Cindy Sheehan added, “And, should I dare say ‘global warming?’ and be branded as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.” Ever the soul of tact and compassion, that lady. Depending on the sources to whom you listen, scientists are linking hurricanes with global warming — or not. Steven Milloy of JunkScience.com has written about this scientific tug-of-war for Fox News. He points up the scientific laxity in the claims of those who see global warming behind Katrina, and sums up with the following statement:
While Hurricane Katrina was very bad weather, that is a very long way from causally linking her with human activity. Global warmers may dispute that, but they’ll need more than naked assertions and junk science to make a case.
With a nod to Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog, there are some things we know and don’t know about global warming. These are three things Meyer identifies as known:
- Proven: Man-made CO2 has increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (best evidence from ice cores and samplings in Hawaii).
- Proven: Temperatures in the world have risen since 1900 (though perhaps less than typically reported due to under-correction for urban heat-island effects).
- Proven: The temperature rise in the first half of the 1900s was not man-made, having occurred before substantial man-made CO2 production, and therefore is attributable to some other (disputed and/or unknown) effect.
Meyer then outlines three things that have not yet been proven and are still up for debate:
- In Dispute: How much of the world temperature rise since 1950 was due to man-made CO2 output? Some unknown phenomena caused a pre-1950 rise, leaving open the question of how much this other phenomena raised temperatures in the latter half of the 1900s and how much was due to man-made CO2.
- In Dispute: How much will the world’s temperature rise in the future due to man-made CO2? Climate is a complex animal, and no honest-thinking climate scientists believe they have the right model yet, particularly since none of the most-used models explain history very well. Also, beyond climate, the economic models that drive CO2 levels in the climate model are hugely flawed, causing the models to way over-estimate man-made CO2 production.
- In Dispute: What are the positives and negatives of global warming for humans? The negatives are dealt with all too casually, in the sort of unproven scare story day-after-tomorrow unscientific approach that makes good NY Times Sunday Edition reading but does little to introduce any facts. The positives are never, ever mentioned. “Disinterested” climate scientists never mention that some parts of the world will benefit, in terms of longer growing seasons, or that most of the warming will occur in winter nights in the coldest regions, where warming would be welcome. Its almost as if they weren’t disinterested and had an interest in the answer coming out a certain way.
But there is one aspect of global warming that isn’t even being discussed by people on the Left:
- Not Even Addressed: How do the costs of limiting CO2 emissions, including decreased economic growth and increased poverty, stand up against the dangers? No one has done a good study of this, though people like Bjorn Lomburg have argued that the cost-benefit is much worse than solving some of the world’s other problems.
But for those people whose one and only drum is the bang bang bang of global warming, the earth is being destroyed at the hands of mankind. While it can be shown that the earth is warming, it is also true that the earth goes through cycles of warming and cooling, and our sun is currently in an active hot phase. And contrary to what environmentalists like RFK Jr. would have you believe, it has not been proven that mankind is responsible. Not that the lack of proof is stopping them. Expect to hear and read more people lay the blame for Katrina at the feet of mankind in general, and to place special blame on Republicans and President Bush.
Since Katrina has done its evil work, it is now our responsibility to help those who have been ravaged by it. I support LDS Humanitarian Services for charitable donations. While there are plenty of other organizations who do excellent work, 100% of all donations made to LDS Humanitarian Services go to the affected areas in the form of money and needed supplies. (Sure beats the way the U.S. Welfare system gobbles up 75 cents of every dollar it taxes from us.)
It’s our duty to help these people. They are our families, our neighbors, our friends and our fellow Americans. So let’s get to it.