Don’t Like the Weather? Don’t Blame it on Global Warming

Published September 1, 1998

In recent years, advocates of the global warming theory have convinced many Americans that virtually any weather-related calamity is evidence that human-induced global warming is underway.

One has only to look at the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the United Nations body tasked with coordinating a world response to the threat of global warming — to understand why global warming theory advocates have been so successful. Among the many gems in the report is this one: “Warmer temperatures will lead to prospects for more severe droughts and/or floods in some places and less severe droughts and/or floods in others.”

The University of Virginia’s Dr. Patrick Michaels has taken the time to translate this sentence for us. It means that global warming will be characterized by “more intense wet periods, more intense dry periods, more intense wet and dry periods, less intense wet periods, less intense dry periods, and less intense wet and dry periods.” Precisely how this is different than a world without human-enhanced global warming is unclear. From year to year, some areas of the world have always experienced more severe droughts and floods than others. Likewise, some areas of the world have always experienced less severe droughts and floods than others. With or without global warming, this process will continue in the future.

But because the symptoms of global warming as identified by advocates of the global warming theory are so ambiguous, so subject to change, virtually any weather event — at least any bad weather event — can be attributed to global warming. And therein lies the brilliance of the global warming theory and its advocates. Whether the weather is too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, or perhaps even too normal, global warming is always the convenient culprit.

The Clinton Administration knows this all too well. The Florida fires, the Northeastern blizzard in 1996, the hurricanes of 1995, floods in South Dakota in 1997 and the heat waves in the South and West this year, have all been cited by the Clinton Administration as evidence that global warming is occurring and that we need to act immediately to stop it.

Close examination of the scientific data and historical record, however, suggests far more plausible explanations for these weather events — they have nothing to do with global warming.