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  • Al Roker Should Join the Rest of His Colleagues on Climate Change

    As we mourn the human toll taken by the tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, some are using the disaster as an opportunity to warn about the dangers of climate change.

    Al Roker recently suggested that climate change is bringing tornadoes from the country to the city. Environmentalist Bill McKibben, the same guy who blamed the Washington, D.C., snowstorms on global warming, penned a snarky op-ed in The Washington Post saying that those who ignore these weather events are ignoring a much bigger problem in climate change.

    Despite these claims, what has been most surprising is the accurate media coverage of the relationships between the tornado and climate change. The AFP reports that “the United States is experiencing the deadliest year for tornadoes in nearly six decades, but top US weather experts said Monday there is no link between the violent twisters and climate change.” A preliminary assessment from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could not attribute climate change to the events in Joplin. ABC News ran a Q&A column that quoted meteorologist Greg Carbin saying:

    There is no indication of an upward trend in either intensity or numbers. We’ve had a lot more reports of tornadoes, but most of those tornadoes are actually the weak tornadoes, the F-0. When you take out the F-0 tornadoes from the long-term record, there is very little increase in the total number of tornadoes, and we don’t see any increase in the number of violent tornadoes. It’s just that these things are coming, and they’re very rare and extreme, and they happen to be hitting populated areas.

    CBS News, Reuters, and The New York Times all ran similar stories. It’s nice to see that the media did not turn to Al Gore, especially since it’s the fifth anniversary of the release of An Inconvenient Truth, which warned about more frequent and intense natural disasters and apocalyptic 20-foot sea level increases.

    A little more on McKibben. He runs an organization called 350.org, which warns that 350 parts per million (ppm) is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our air. The organization says, “Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.”

    The problem for McKibben is that, even the wildest carbon-free energy policies imaginable won’t get us to where he wants to be. Energy chemist Nate Lewis of the California Institute of Technology ran the numbers and found that for the earth not to surpass 450 ppm by the year 2050, 26.5 of the 45 terawatts the world uses would have to come from carbon-free sources (assuming low population and economic growth). Newsweek’s Sharon Begley’s highlights Lewis’s calculations:

    Are you a fan of nuclear? To get 10 terawatts, less than half of what we’ll need in 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d have to build 10,000 reactors, or one every other day starting now. Do you like wind? If you use every single breeze that blows on land, you’ll get 10 or 15 terawatts. Since it’s impossible to capture all the wind, a more realistic number is 3 terawatts, or 1 million state-of-the art turbines, and even that requires storing the energy—something we don’t know how to do—for when the wind doesn’t blow. Solar? To get 10 terawatts by 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d need to cover 1 million roofs with panels every day from now until then.

    And that’s to reach 450 ppm—something Henry Jacoby, co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, called “totally impossible.” Imagine what it would take to revert back to 350 ppm. If it were conclusive that we needed to achieve 350 ppm and the fate of the world depended on it, we’d find a way to do it. But the fate of the world does not depend on it, and policies like cap and trade, clean energy standards, mandating biofuel use, and subsidizing electric cars is only going to bankrupt our country by forcing Americans to pay more for energy.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Al Roker Should Join the Rest of His Colleagues on Climate Change

    1. TonyfromOz, Rockhamp says:

      So, let me see if I've got this right.

      This is the worst season for 'twisters' in 6 decades.

      Was it also Climate Change/Global Warming 6 decades ago?

      Tony.

    2. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    3. Anderlan says:

      Yes, it was warming 6 decades ago, though not as sharply. But you and the author is right–there's no discovered link between increased tornado occurrence and increased global average temperature.

      So, pat yourself on the back for being right about something.

      But, if you feel like ignoring the other, actually substantiated results of warming–those regarding increased probability of flooding (including, ahem, heavy snowstorms) and drought, causing decreased agricultural output, leading to increased food prices on a global scale for decades on end, most likely causing economic collapse and widespread war in this century–then take the pat back.

    4. JIm Patterson, Phoen says:

      It's so liberating not to be shackled by real science or logic. You just blurt out what you feel, Al, like all good lil liberals in NYC and DC. After all, whatever you feel is real, right? AHHHH, to be a liberal just for a few minutes… How free that must be!

    5. Lostsoul55 says:

      To the epa and any other book taught nutso, I say if there wasnt money to be made from your rantings,there wouldnt be man made enviormental issues. You people just want to force your pet projects on the rest of us for monetary gain, from us normal working people, get real jobs and earn your keep

    6. Lake of Bays, Dwight says:

      I received my first "Smart Meter" hydro electric bill from Hydro One (Government Running Amuck idiots in Ontario Canada) it was $1,215.47 from Dec.9/10 to Feb. 8/11.

      An example of the Provincial Government forcing Canadians to pay for their environmental schemes. God Help Us!!!

      P.Engler

    7. Dave, Deming says:

      I might have understood this better if the article included how many PPM we have now, so I could poke more holes in their theory. These environmentalist wackos keep spewing forth drivel and calling it 'fact', and all the low-brows eat it up, just because a major political figure or so-called 'news' commentator said it's so.

    8. Frank, Illinois says:

      They can't with great accuracy tell me what the weather will be tomorrow and now they want to tell us what the weather will be doing the next 10,20,30 years. They may be right but more proof is needed. Even the scientist's used bogus material for their papers on climate change. In doing so they hurt their credibility like i said earlier they may be right BUT!!!!!

    9. Nicolas Loris Nick Loris says:

      David,

      388 parts per million as of October 2010, according to NOAA.

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