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  • Cold Spell Doesn't Undercut Climate Crisis - But Other Things Do

    Snow storm hits nation's capital

    Q: If we’re so worried about global warming why has it been so cold here in the U.S., in Europe and other parts of the globe? What do weather statistics say has happened during the past 50 years? And how does weather differ from climate (is there a difference)?

    Turnabout is fair play for activists who insist that a single event like the current cold snap doesn’t disprove global warming. They’re right that it doesn’t, but neither does a summer heat wave prove it — yet this has not stopped proponents of doom from hyping each one. What matters are longer term trends, and those are pointing away from the notion that climate change is a crisis.

    While the chilly start to the year does not a trend make, we are in a decade-long period of no additional warming, despite continuously rising carbon dioxide concentrations. That is a significant trend, and it is also important because it undercuts the notion that there is some near-infallible scientific consensus about global warming and mankind’s contribution to it. Consider the United Nation’s 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the supposed gold standard of consensus science. None of the climate models relied upon by the IPCC foresaw the current flattening out of temperatures, yet these are the models whose predictions of future warming form the basis of several US and UN proposals.

    While the current cold spell does not by itself undercut the global warming theory, it is not without its policy lessons. The deep freeze has claimed a number of lives across the country, and indeed extreme cold is deadlier than extreme heat. The possibility of potential benefits as well as risks from a slightly warmer future (whether naturally-caused or not) should be a part of the global warming debate, but rarely is.

    Some activists, in a move that smacks of opportunism, are now claiming that the cold snap is evidence that global warming increases extreme whether events, be it unusual cold or heat. In truth, the evidence of an uptick in extreme weather is thin. In fact, when it comes to cold spells, heat waves, hurricanes, droughts, floods or other natural disasters, the only clear trend is the dramatic drop in the number of deaths from them. There has been a 95 percent drop in annual mortality from extreme weather events since 1900, with no change in the decline during periods of warming over that span.

    Folks shoveling their driveways or cranking up their thermostats are likely becoming less convinced about global warming and the merits of costly policies to address it. They may be growing skeptical for the wrong reasons, but their skepticism is right on the money.

    Reposted from The Washington Post’s “Planet Panel”

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Cold Spell Doesn't Undercut Climate Crisis - But Other Things Do

    1. Paul, Washington, DC says:

      I just want to comment on a couple points you made in your article and I guess ask for clarification and possibly citation.

      1. "we are in a decade-long period of no additional warming" – by we you mean North America. That is a fair statement, but misleading. Both the World Meteorological Association (http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_869_en.html) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration state that the last 10 years have been the hottest on record throughout the world, with only North America as the exception. So just because we didn't experience drastic warming means that we shouldn't be concerned?

      2. "extreme cold is deadlier than extreme heat" – what are you basing that statement on? I don't know all the facts, but I am very sure that there have been some amazingly devastating heat waves in developed nations. In Southern Europe, for example, a 2003 heat wave claimed 37,451 lives. Not to undermine the severity of this cold stretch in the USA and the impacts that it is having on lives, but if anywhere near that number of people had been killed by cold this year I am sure that we would know.

      Anyway, your thoughts on these comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the blog post on this important issue.

    2. Duke S, Texas says:

      While the link between AGW CO2 and global temps has been totally, and absolutely disproven, the link between solar activity and temps continues to hold, as it has for hundreds of thousands of years.

    3. Ben, Seattle says:

      Paul, 1998 was a record high year due to an unusually strong el nino. Temperatures came down from that and have not risen since. They have been flat for ten years, which computer models did not forecast. The decade on the whole was, however, the warmest on record. The authors statement that there has been no "additional warming" is in fact correct. The heat wave in southern Europe in 2003 saw temperatures around 100 degrees for a few weeks. I don't know about you, but I would rather be in 100 degrees than the minus 50 wind chill record breaking temps they have seen in the Dakotas recently.

    4. Patrick, Brussels says:

      You admit the Co2 levels are rising. Even if Co2 has no effect on warming, wouldn't you rather be breathing o2 rather than Co2??

    5. Frank, Portland OR says:

      One only needs to look to the solar cycle of sunspot activity for a correlation with cold climate. Investigate the Little Ice Age which corresponded with the Maunder Minimum. There's also the Dalton Minimum. And we're currently in the deepest solar minimum of the last century.

      As for rising CO2 and preferences, plants love it. Most commercial greenhouses artificially pump up CO2 to 1000 to 2000 ppm. Our atmosphere's at under 400 ppm, and it's had much, much higher concentrations in the past.

      I would rather a few more degrees than falling temps, frozen oranges, and a repeat of the Little Ice Age.

    6. Rick74 says:

      Re: "extreme whether events" – Do these events take place "whether" or not global warming exists?

    7. Lwesson, Tejas says:

      Oh my God Frank of Portland! Are you saying to Paul of Washington D.C. that hundreds of thousands and or millions of years ago that C02 levels were much higher than 400 ppm! Holly Toledo! Well according to the Global Warming Cabal of really really serious "scientists" then this means that MANKIND did this! Had to! The Auto Insurance GEICO Cavemen must have really churned out the C02 being such suave Cave Guys that they are. Humm, millions of years ago, ahh, our ahh, our little mammal friends on the rise must have had some industrial civilization that these, ahhhh, "SCIENTISTS" have not, as of yet, found but I am sure that it is just a matter of time that they will! They must! Just for fun, lets hack into their e-mails and see what they REALLY THINK!

      Back in the early 80's when I studied Earth Science at a, get this, a UNIVERSITY, the whole notion of what was going to happen in the future was going to be global COOLING. You see, at the time no cleaver someone had thought of a way to MAKE MONEY from climate change. Also at the time, The Most Glorious Soviet Union still existed and the left still had it's hopes and wet dreams pinned on the collectivist Peoples of the World uniting and bringing down the Capitalistic West. Oooops, thrash heap of history for the Soviets just kinda happened out of the blue.

      The LEFT, ever psychotic in self loathing and suicidal, eventually embraced the Planet as it's next cause de jour to use this to hammer Western Peoples into submission. Take a gullible, ignorant, pliable public, some willful "scientists", "facts", cute snuggelly marching Penguins and drowning Polar Bears, the ever willful left wing media, time, some righteous Hollywood know-nothings, a spokeshead like Al Gort and eventually you can whip up a hysteria of Global Warming! From there you can create Carbon Taxation and TRADE. Make money, redistribute the wealth of the West to the ever ravenous 3rd World and cripple industrial civilization. Oh, a little biddy side bonus is that you crush LIBERTY all inside in a Global Utopia run POLICE STATE via an 1984 type template. Oh, Happy days!

    8. Drew Page, IL says:

      It doesn't matter how cold it gets or how cold it stays, the 'global warming' zealots will never change their tune. Come hell or high water, they will hold to their belief regardless of any facts to the contrary. There are probably as many reasons for their holding these beliefs as there are fanatics who hold them.

      What irks me about this nonsense it that schools are preaching this to kids as fact, and that the media is doing the same to the rest of the general public. It's the big lie.

    9. Lynn says:

      Frank, But Austrailia is going through hottest temps in 100 years, but less sun activity according to you, how is that possible, if its all related to sunspots??

    10. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      When the Berlin wall came down and freedom swept into the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, communists were hard pressed to find a home. Once the Soviet Union went bankrupt trying to compete with the economic and military power of the United States, it didn’t take long for the people of its enslaved satellite countries to throw off their chains and establish democratic governments. Communists who had spent their lives fighting capitalism because it deprived them of power, now they found themselves on the periphery, watching as their countries prospered under new-found freedom. What was a self-respecting communist to do? Clearly, it made sense to join those organizations that still battled on against capitalism. They joined the Green parties all over Europe. While the rank-and-file of the Green parties may have environmental preservation as their goal, the leadership has a much different agenda. Their goal is the destruction of capitalism and the freedom it brings.

    11. Sam says:

      Paul in Washington DC

      The heat wave in 2003 was a very weak one. The temperatures were only in the 90s and would've been considered a run of the mill hot spell in the US. In France it spelled catrastrophe. You see, all the people who died were senior citizens whose children abandoned them for the Riviera. After all, it was August and it was time for their "rightful" break. And besides, someone else (ie government) will take care of their parents. The doctors all took their vacations as well.

      Paul, do you ever use air conditioning? We take that for granted here. It saves you from 90 degree weather. But France is so much more climate conscious than us so they don't waste energy on stupid things like AC. Then, when their parents die of neglect, what else can they do except blame America and capitalism for their poor parents demise. You don't actually expect them to take any responsibility themselves do you?

      And the same year, a cold spell in England killed over 100,000 people. But in 2003 we hadn't yet learned that the brutually cold and fatal temperatures were also actually caused by global warming so nobody tried to make that claim:)

    12. Victory, Michigan says:

      Am I nuts or does temperature averaging have an effect on trends. Or not? Because if it does then we are going to a dip in the warming trend. Or not? I think the Earth climate changes without our permission and it does it in ways that we do not yet understand fully. And, until we understand it fully we should all calm down and quit trying to get paid for or taxed for these changes. We as mankind are pretty shallow and silly.

    13. Randy Dutton, Washin says:

      The US Weather predicted this winter, the northwest US would be dryer and warmer. December was incredibly cold, and so far we are well above the rainfall average. If they can't predict 3 months ahead, how can anyone claim to predict 100 years ahead?

      Further, perhaps North America was cooler because our forests are more extensive than before, while in Asia and Africa, they have denuded much of the landscape. Trees cool the air because of the pentene released by the trees and its ability to have moisture condense on the pentene. Plant trees!

      Further, ecoenvironmental policies are a disaster. The promotion of the corrosive solvent ethanol causes equipment to fail, higher ozone emissions, more N2O emissions, more nitrite runoff into water. This could have been predicted, but environmentalists pick and choose the science they want.

      Further, U of WI just released a study that shows aspen trees growing 57% faster than 50 years ago, because of the increased CO2. CO2 is a good gas and not a pollutant. Increased concentrations allow us to feed a growing population.

    14. Randy Dutton, Washin says:

      40 billion pounds of aerosol (non-CO2) pollutants are emitted by East Asia every year (NASA 2003 data). Ecopoliticians are partly responsible because they have pursued industrial policies that have forced manufacturing to Asia, where pollution standards are more relaxed.

      Studies show carbon soot and other aerosols are more than 50% responsible for melting ice fields and glaciers, so when you want to pin blame on negative environmental effects, look at the WWF, Sierra Club, and Progressive politicians. They caused part of this problem through their policies.

    15. Don Harper, Lubbock, says:

      Right you are, Randy. And among other sins of the environmentalists is their demonization of nuclear power. An honest appraisal of the green movement will reveal their anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, anti-human agenda.

    16. Fort Collins,Colorad says:

      It realy gave me a lot of detail for my homework called weekly science and this just caught my eye on just how interesting it was.

    17. Eben. Redding, CA says:

      You can show an Environmental Rapturist the truth but you cant make them see.

      The earth was warming and cooling long before we were even here.

    18. Rochelle, Colorado says:

      Randy, please check who did the studies of those ice fields. Much of these studies are done by corrupt scientists who are altering results for monetary or political end.

      Look for info from East Anglia, England This great world has more power to change events than the effects of mankind.

    19. Steve, Netherlands says:

      And the same year, a cold spell in England killed over 100,000 people. But in 2003 we hadn’t yet learned that the brutually cold and fatal temperatures were also actually caused by global warming so nobody tried to make that claim:) Sam

      I would like to know where you came up with that figure, I have searched and can come up with about 25,000. A large number, but nowhere near what you said. Just interested if its true or just a slight exageration to back your item.

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