President Barack Obama in his second inauguration address called for new action to “respond to the threat of climate change.” Taking advantage of the bully pulpit and a huge national audience, Obama mustered his best possible arguments in a brief case for why addressing global warming is supposedly necessary. Unfortunately for global warming alarmists, Obama’s case was exceptionally flimsy. Then again, Obama did not have much to work with, as the overall case for global warming alarmism is exceptionally flimsy.
Obama presented his argument as follows: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
Given a fresh canvas on which to work, Obama sought the most compelling examples of an asserted global warming crisis. He chose wildfires, drought and powerful storms. At the same time, he urged us to defer to the “overwhelming judgment of science” on these matters.
President Obama, I agree we should strongly consider the overwhelming judgment of science. Let’s apply the overwhelming judgment of science to your three cherry-picked examples and see what the science reveals.
Leading off the Obama “Big Three” is wildfires. What does the overwhelming judgment of science reveal?
The National Interagency Fire Center reports the number of annual wildfires in the United States has been declining for more than 30 years. In fact, the “overwhelming judgment of science” reveals the number of wildfires rose from the 1950s through the 1970s, as global temperatures declined, and has been declining ever since, as global temperatures have modestly warmed.
The really interesting part about wildfires in the United States is a recent increase in the number of acres burned per wildfire after the federal government reversed a decades-long policy of putting out as many wildfires as quickly as possible. In the 1990s, environmentalists and federal forest officials reported forests had become overgrown as a result of firefighters putting out too many natural fires too quickly. Since then, firefighters are responding to fewer forest fires and letting more acres burn. As a result, even though wildfires occur less frequently as our planet warms and as soil moisture improves (more on that coming right up), our global warming Alarmist in Chief presents the misleading assertion that global warming rather than a change in federal wildfire policy is causing a recent increase in acres burned due to wildfires.
Next in Obama’s “Big Three” of asserted global warming crises is drought. What does the “overwhelming judgment of science” reveal?
U.S. and global soil moisture improved throughout the 20th century as our planet warmed in its recovery from the Little Ice Age. According to the Global Soil Moisture Data Bank, global soil moisture increased throughout the 20th century at almost all sites. Moreover, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that 20th century droughts were quite mild when compared to droughts in previous centuries. This “overwhelming scientific judgment of science” was confirmed in November when a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature found “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.”
Finally, the President asserts that global warming is causing more powerful storms. This assertion is particularly fictitious. NOAA reports a long-term decline in strong tornadoes striking the United States. The National Hurricane Center reports that the past 40 years have seen the fewest major hurricane strikes since at least the mid-1800s. Even Hurricane Sandy reminds us that the U.S. Northeast has experienced only one major hurricane strike since 1960, but experienced six major hurricane strikes during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, when global temperatures were cooler.
Clearly, the “overwhelming judgment of science” contradicts President Obama and global warming alarmists. This is a good thing.
Now let’s play a game of “pretend.”
Let’s pretend that none of the overwhelming scientific evidence presented above actually existed. Let’s pretend that science supported rather than contradicted President Obama’s assertions. The question is, what would Obama have us do to solve the problem?
Obama’s solution is to impose still more economy-killing carbon dioxide restrictions on the U.S. economy. This makes about as much sense as losing your car keys in Boston but insisting on searching for them in Los Angeles. True, global carbon dioxide emissions have risen more than 33 percent since the year 2000. However, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined during that time and will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reportsthat during 2012 alone, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined by 8 percent compared to 2011.
China by far emits more carbon dioxide than any other nation and Chinese emissions are growing rapidly. China alone accounts for 75 percent of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions since 2000. If the United States completely eliminated all of its carbon dioxide emissions today (something that is impossible to do), the only thing we would accomplish would be to delay by about five years an equal increase in Chinese emissions. And China has repeatedly and emphatically insisted it will not agree to any restrictions on its carbon dioxide emissions.
Thankfully, President Obama, the “overwhelming judgment of science” shows the asserted global warming crisis exists solely in the minds of global warming alarmists.
[First published at Forbes.]