What do Newtown and Moore have in common? They were both heartbreaking tragedies, of course. But they were also targeted by opportunistic politicians eager to push their left-wing ideological agendas.
Literally within minutes of the tornado, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island berated Senate Republicans for their role in the Moore catastrophe. He told them “the damage your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas” who presumably deserve it because of their “denial” of global warming. “It hits Rhode Island [and other states]”. He cautioned them against being a party that “let’s its extremists run off the cliff”.
Sen. Barbara boxer of California also rose in the Senate to remind her colleagues that the consequences of ignoring global warming had been predicted. “We were warned about extreme weather ... Yeah it’s gonna get hot. But you’re also going to have terrible storms. You’re going to have tornadoes and all the rest. We need to protect our people.”
Unfortunately for Whitehouse, Boxer and the other self-proclaimed advocates of sound science, the facts aren’t on their side (again). The Oklahoma tornado touched down at the end of a 12 month period with the fewest tornado strikes in recorded history. It’s not just a one-year deal either. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the last 50 years have seen a steady decline in major tornadoes, like the F5 monster that struck Moore.
The news is even better than that. While hurricanes Katrina and Sandy in recent years struck populous areas in an age of mass communications that magnified their impact, the frequency of hurricanes is also in decline according to the FOAA. Droughts and wildfire are also becoming less frequent statistically, in spite of the fact that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising
On the other hand, the Moore tornado was a dream come true for Nobel Prize winner Thomas Schelling, a leading client alarmist. In 2009, he wished in Atlantic magazine that “we could have, over the next five or 10 years, a lot of horrid things happening — you know, like tornadoes in the Midwest and so forth – that would get people very concerned about climate change”.
Like other “climate scientists”, he was frustrated by the public’s reluctance to buy what he was selling and suggested that “probably you have to find ways to exaggerate the threat”. So he’s happy, right? Maybe we should cut him some slack. He was just being candid in a space where secrecy is the norm.
Fortunately, the supposed consensus around global warming is starting to break down. Part of it is that nature just isn’t cooperating with the alarmists. Global carbon dioxide levels have climbed over 10 percent in the last decade to 400 ppm, due mostly to contributions from China. Yet the globe has not warmed at all, confounding all the known “sound science” models. Himalayan glaciers are actually advancing. Both Arctic and Antarctic ice caps have been growing in the last few years.
In place of the hysterical ranting, a new consensus does seem to be emerging. It is this. There apparently has been an overall trend in the last century toward warming, some of it possibly due to human activity. No computer model so far is close to being able to predict future climate trends or what influences them for sure. There are limited remedies available in any case.
From several perspectives, it makes sense to avoid polluting our air and water and to devote some of our scarce resources to cost-effective remediation. However, if global warming is unavoidable, it may not be all bad. It would require some accommodation by humans, as have previous changes in our earth’s climate. The worst thing we could do is to adopt economically damaging policies that cripple our ability to deal with climate change or any of the other existential challenges — diseases, food supply, demographic declines — that we face.
As their case becomes weaker, the alarmists shout louder. Human decency would have required giving the hurting people of Moore a respite before using them as props in arrogant — and wrong — lectures.
East Valley resident Tom Patterson (email@example.com) is a retired physician and former state senator.