IBD weighs in on Global Warming

From today’s Investor’s Business Daily Opinion section:

Tempest In a Teapot

Posted 7/25/2007

Global Warming: A private firm’s downgrade of its hurricane forecast raises an obvious question: If scientists can’t get near-future projections in a limited area right, how can they predict the climate decades from now?

A reasonable response is: They can’t. But the global warming climate of fear did not blow in on the soft breezes of reason, but by the storm winds of emotion.

Forecaster WSI Corp. said Tuesday that the season ending Nov. 30 will bring 14 named storms, six of which will grow into hurricanes, three of them major. WSI’s initial forecast was for 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and four majors.

Why the change? “Because,” said WSI forecaster Todd Crawford, “ocean temperatures have not yet rebounded from the significant drop in late spring.”

Could it be that the 2007 hurricane season is turning out to be as overrated as 2006? Remember last year’s predictions — that we were in for a brutal spell of storms? It had been quiet, they said, and we were due for a series of Katrina-like hurricanes. But as we wrote last November, as the much-dreaded ’06 season whimpered to a close, the storm year came in like a lamb and went out the same way.

For years, the Greenshirts have told us that emissions of carbon dioxide resulting from man’s addiction to fossil fuel-based energy are turning the planet into a sweltering hothouse. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change has projected a temperature increase of 2 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit for the 21st century due to the greenhouse effect.

As a result, alarmists say, ice caps will melt, glaciers will thaw and sea levels will rise as much as 20 feet, causing floods and death in low-lying areas. Storms are also predicted to increase in both frequency and intensity.

To prevent this coming Category 5 cataclysm, we’re supposed to shell out trillions of dollars and gladly adopt Spartan lifestyles. Instead of trying, as their grandparents did, to see how many bodies they can squeeze into a telephone booth, today’s college kids are expected to see how many they can get in a Prius.

Yet the fact remains: The local weatherman can’t forecast more than about 10 days out, and neither can the experts tell us how warm, or cool, the planet is going to be in 2100, 2075 or
even 2050.

Even short-term predictions have been off. James Hansen, NASA scientist, predicted a 0.45-degree Celsius (0.81-degree Fahrenheit) rise in global temperature from 1988 to 1997. But in reality (a place environmental activists rarely visit) the increase was a mere 0.11-degree Celsius.

We hope no one in Hansen’s neighborhood relies on him to tell them when it’s going to rain or when they’ll need a coat and hat.

Setting aside the hubristic notion that alarmists know what the right temperature is, too many other factors besides the greenhouse effect influence climate for them to declare they know exactly, or even approximately, what’s coming. Solar activity, for instance, is among the most powerful, as are the El Nino and La Nina phenomena.

We also question the concept of a “global” temperature. How could such a thing be measured when weather stations dot rather than blanket the Earth? Danish physicist Bjarne Andresen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, made sense earlier this year when he said it’s “impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth.

“A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system (and) climate is not governed by a single temperature,” he said. “Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. , which make up the climate.”

The formula for a climate of fear, though, requires nothing more than a lot of thunder and a bit of heat generated by political activists.

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