Temperatures dropped below freezing Friday in many parts of New York and other Northeastern states, with the freezing summertime temperatures setting many records throughout the Northeast. Global warming activists responded on Sunday by marching in New York City and claiming global warming is baking the planet.
With global temperatures remaining flat for the past 17 years and record summertime cold sending people shivering throughout the Northeast, protest organizer Bill McKibben deemphasized the “warming” part of global warming in a New York Daily News article on the eve of the march. Instead, his article titled “New York, it’s time to sound the climate change alarm” claimed “climate change” is responsible for Hurricane Sandy and California wildfires (“a planet that’s now literally on fire”!).
In choosing to make Hurricane Sandy his hurricane poster child for global warming, McKibben didn’t really have much of a choice. Sandy came ashore in New Jersey with winds registering 80 mph – barely hurricane strength. McKibben couldn’t choose a major hurricane strike (defined by meteorologists at Category 3 or higher) to pin on global warming because there hasn’t been one since 2005. It has been an unheard of 8 years, 11 months since the last major hurricane hit the United States. We are currently benefiting from the longest stretch in recorded history without a major hurricane strike. The prior record was merely 6 years, 2 months between major hurricanes.
Nor can McKibben and his fellow alarmists claim global warming makes hurricanes more likely to hit heavily populated Northeastern states. While Northeastern hurricane strikes are rare in recent decades, they were much more frequent in past decades before our recent global warming. No major hurricane has struck the Northeast since Hurricane Gloria came ashore on Long Island and then pushed up the Connecticut River Valley in 1985, and Gloria is the only major hurricane to strike the Northeast in the past 50 years. Compare that to the pre-global warming era when hurricanes in the U.S. Northeast were much more frequent. Four major hurricanes – Carol, Edna, Connie, and Donna – made their way up the East Coast and subsequently barreled into the Northeast between 1953 and 1960, during a period of global cooling. Major hurricanes struck the Northeast in the 1930s and 1940s, also.
We are now benefiting from the longest period in recorded history without a major hurricane strike anywhere in the nation. We are also benefiting from an unprecedented scarcity of major hurricane strikes in the U.S. Northeast. With so little to work with, McKibben takes the sole minor hurricane of any significance during the past nine years and claims it was created by global warming. Well, if you can pin the formation of any minor hurricane – no matter how small or infrequent – on global warming, then you also have to pin the remarkable recent lack of hurricanes on global warming. And by McKibben’s logic, global warming has prevented seven major hurricane strikes that would otherwise have clobbered the United States during the past nine years.
McKibben’s California drought logic is just as faulty as his Hurricane Sandy logic. Yes, there are wildfires in California right now. Of course, wildfires are a fairly common occurrence in California. Even more telling, the National Interagency Fire Center reports fewer wildfires occurred in the United States last year than any year since 1984. Last year’s wildfires were the third-fewest since records began in 1960. Moreover, Fire Center data indicate the United States this year may well experience even fewer wildfires than last year. Nevertheless, while wildfires are becoming increasingly rare, McKibben highlights some of the few wildfires that nevertheless still occur and puts the blame on global warming. Further embarrassing himself, McKibben breathlessly claims we are living on “a planet that’s now literally on fire” while we experience such remarkably few wildfires.
So, global temperatures have been flat for 17 years, New York is experiencing literally freezing temperatures even while the calendar still reads summer, hurricanes are becoming increasingly wimpy and rare, and we are experiencing back-to-back minimal wildfire years that are almost unprecedented. Naturally, of course, global warming alarmists respond with a climate march claiming with anger and outrage that the planet is baking and global warming is creating apocalyptic hurricane and wildfire activity.
That, my friends, tells you everything you need to know about the credibility of global warming alarmists.
[First published at Forbes.]