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‘So Far There Is No Particular Evidence That Says Harvey or Katrina or Sandy Were Exacerbated by Climate Change’

As Hurricane Irma pummels Florida, and armchair scientists blame global warming, a reminder from Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey that data does not yet support the hypothesis of stronger hurricanes.

After having pulverized islands such as St. Martin and Cuba, Hurricane Irma is now pummeling South Florida. As happens every time a large natural catastrophe hits the United States, the media is filled with assertions that the calamity's magnitude is attributable to climate change:

But as Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey noted in a links-rich piece on Aug. 29 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, while there is a widely shared hypothesis that a warming climate will cause more intense hurricanes, so far that theory has yet to show up in the available data. Two days later, as Irma was gathering energy in the Atlantic, The Fifth Column podcast had Ron on for 40 minutes to further explore the connection between climate change and hurricanes, and also between federal policy and natural disasters.

You can listen to the whole show at this link, and at the bottom of this post. Below is an abridged transcript of our conversation, with some hyperlinks added. Make sure to also check out Nick Gillespie's Reason Podcast conversation about Harvey-related policy with Ray Lehmann of R Street.

I started by asking Ron to "walk us through the relationship between climate science and hurricanes, because people talk a lot of bollocks."

Bailey: It is the case that the climate computer models are all more or less projecting that as the planet warms there should be at least more intense hurricanes—probably fewer, but more intense over time. The question is, are we seeing that in the data now?

I've talked to a bunch of different scientists, I've read through a whole bunch of different aspects of the peer-reviewed literature, and they say frankly say, "No, we can't find it there yet. We don't see any intensification going on in the Atlantic region at all. We don't see [that] the number of hurricanes is increasing or decreasing over time." Basically they're saying that the models tell us this will eventually happen, but we don't see it [yet].

There's something called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index, which, making it short, is basically a way to add up all the power of all the hurricanes that occur in a particular area. And that one's been going down 10 years in the Atlantic area. So it's not there.

It may be there, we'll see if the models are right, but so far there is no particular evidence that says Harvey or Katrina or Sandy were exacerbated by climate change. They may have been, but the data is so noisy that it's impossible to say for sure. And of course what's happened in politicized science is, any time a catastrophe occurs, somebody is going to stand up and say "Well it's consistent with climate change." Well it's consistent also with no climate change….

There are a lot of people working on what you'd call attribution of extreme weather events, trying to figure out how much of a weather event we could attribute to climate change, how much worse it is because of climate change. But very specifically in the case of floods and hurricanes there's really little data on it at this point. We just don't have enough information.

Kmele Foster: We have seen this theme come up a bunch of times….Isn't it true that these are happening more frequently?

Bailey: Not in the current data, at all. In fact there were more hurricanes back in the middle of the 20th century then has occurred lately. There was an uptick at the beginning of the 21st century in the Atlantic again, and then it's gone down. It's very hard to predict these things.

Part of it has to do with things like the Atlantic Ocean has a 40 to 50 year period where the water is warmer or colder. At the moment it's flipped to a warm phase, and some thought it would soon flip to the cool phase, which means there will be even fewer hurricanes if the models are right.

So again, there are a lot of people working on this, and we may get to that point—"we" meaning the people I'll be quoting as scientists some day—will get to the point of being able to say, "Yes, we can definitely find trends in the data." But the trends in the data don't exist yet.

Welch: Just to dumb this down so I can understand it: The theory, which has not yet been data-fied, relies on "Hey look the globe's getting warmer, the water's getting warmer, stuff that used to be ice is melting. Therefore, that means there's going to be more material for hurricanes to use." Is that right?

Bailey: Right. Basically…hurricanes spin up when the temperature of the water is over 79 degrees Fahrenheit. You have to have that as a threshold in order to get a hurricane. There's a lot of other things you'll need, but assuming that's going on then, yes, you'll likely have more hurricanes, though there's other ways around that. The other thing, of course, is a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, so when you do have a hurricane you're probably going to have more rain. These are all very good theoretical projections, but the data have not yet supported that.

Welch: In terms of policy here, the things I'm seeing the Trump administration getting knocked for is that they have lessened the Obama administration's emphasis on thinking [about] or causing people to consider climate change when they're looking at something from a national defense perspective, perhaps some infrastructure things as well. You wrote a great piece—and we…do this perennially at Reason, talking about the super perverse incentives, federal incentives particularly, having to do with home insurance in flood areas. This is also true for fire areas, like in southern California and Malibu and places like that. As you look at the applied policies that exist here, what sticks out at you as something that could, that should, change, in order to create a world that's less vulnerable to big-ass storms?

Bailey: Well, don't build on a floodplain, don't build on a coastal area where hurricanes come in. The problem is that in 1968 the federal government decided that they were going to create the federal flood insurance program: It's 25 billion dollars in the red now, and there's no way for it to get out of it without taxpayers bailing it out; there's simply no way to do it. Now that Houston has occurred it's probably going to go through its 30 billion dollar debt ceiling that it has.

So it's simply a failed government program. What it does is that it subsidizes people with cheap insurance to build expensive houses and businesses in flood plains and on coastal areas. Why are we doing that? The market wasn't broken in 1968. The insurance market was telling people, don't build there, because we're not going to insure you. If you build there your stuff is going to get washed away and you'll lose your business and your house, and instead the government said "Nah, we're going supply you with some cash, go ahead build there." So what we've ended up doing is encouraging people to live in areas where they put their lives and their property at risk, increasingly, and it's just stupid.

So what we need to do is change the flood insurance program to a system that's rational, where people will actually pay the premiums for the risk that they're bearing instead of imposing it on taxpayers.

Foster: There's a related issue. We have, in fact, seen disasters be more costly—that is not necessarily a consequence of more severe storms, but has a lot to do with the incentives that we're creating for folks with programs like this.

Bailey: Right, but it's not only that, though. As a procedure, if you normalize things, if you try to figure out what storms in the past would've destroyed if the amount of property currently existing at least were there then, what we find is that in fact the damages have not been increasing as a percentage of the GDP. What's happened is that we're putting more property in harm's way.

Welch: And also talk briefly about lives lost as a percentage according to these natural catastrophes

Bailey: They've been going down dramatically over time. Unfortunately because the screwups of all kinds of things, there were 1,800 people who lost their lives at Katrina. But the basic trend in the United States has been for decades for fewer and fewer people to die in floods and hurricanes. Post-Katrina has been about [five] people a year, and unfortunately it's ticking up here in Houston apparently. But again it's going way, way down.

Why? Because people have much better infrastructure, we have much better response systems, people get more warnings, everything is better, because we're wealthier and have more information at our fingertips….This kind of information infrastructure is allowing people to take care of themselves without the government getting in the way much more easily now, and we should let more of that happen. […]

Welch: Of course you're right about this, of course we're right about this in talking about it, it makes rational sense. And there are people who are trapped in their attic as we speak, underwater in Beaumont, Texas and greater Houston, in an area that's larger than the state of Connecticut or some damn thing, where all the water is, and are you seriously going to lecture them about how "You're getting too many subsidies here from the federal government"? It's very, very difficult, people pay attention to these stories precisely when there's a catastrophe, and that's when their appetite for hearing about preserving perverse incentives and government waste is at its all-time lowest.

Bailey: What we should take away from this—and the flood insurance program, by the way, is coming up for reauthorization at the end of September—what should be taken away from this is, fine, it's terrible that you people were encouraged to build in these areas; you probably didn't even know that that was what was going on. But here's what the deal is: You'll get bailed out this time, but you don't get to rebuild on a floodplain. Here's the money, your house is paid for, go somewhere else where you don't get inundated in the future.

I think you're right, there's no way to basically say "tough luck" to our fellow citizens. That would be cruel and unusual, since they got duped into moving to these places in the first place. But certainly don't allow people to rebuild in areas that flood like this. You're endangering them, and you're obviously wasting a lot of money on property that's not going to be sustained.

Welch: To be clear: They can build there, you're fine with that, as long as they pay the risk premium

Bailey: Absolutely, it's fine if you would like to do that; that's not a problem with me. I just don't think that the rest of us should have to pay for that. […]

Foster: There are the Naomi Kleins of the world that are saying this is the moment—this is when we ought to be talking about climate change, right now. I mean, Ron, I'll ask the question straight out, perhaps I should have asked at the front end so people know whether or not they should trust you: Are you a climate change denier?

Bailey: By no means. I believe that humanity is in fact changing the climate by burning fossil fuels and filling up the atmosphere with extra carbon dioxide, and in the long run if we keep doing it it'll become a significant problem for humanity, so we should be doing something about it. That being said, then we have to get into the policy details of what that something should be, and that's of course where the fight comes.

What I love about Naomi Klein is that she puts it right out there in her book, This Changes Everything, [that] the great thing about climate change is that is gives us an excuse to enact a progressive agenda that we've been wanting for decades. And she just flatly says that— "We can finally put capitalism in the grave." Well that's one policy response, I have a different one I think. I think we can utilize markets and human ingenuity to solve the problem over the course of this century.

Photo Credit: NOAA-NASA

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  • sarcasmic||

    And she just flatly says that— "We can finally put capitalism in the grave."

    Watermelons. Green on the outside. Red in the middle.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    100% pinko for sure.

  • Cy||

    Let's give the governments the ability to tax all energy in a last ditch effort to save the world! Because they've done so well so far at fixing things...

    Yeah... NO!

    The world doesn't need saving. Governments taxing/controlling/regulating every aspect of all of the energy markets is almost as bad as controlling the fiat markets.

  • Number 2||

    "Al Gore warned climate change would make hurricanes worse, so why didn't we listen?"

    Because there was no controlling precedent that he violated.

  • damikesc||

    It also only took, what, 13 or so years for his prediction to come "true"...once?

    Irma didn't even have a great deal of staying power. And the majority of Harvey's damage was because it kind of just stayed in place for days on end.

  • macsnafu||

    So, if the models predicted something that the actual data doesn't support, doesn't that mean the models are wrong?

    And, government insurance, proving that the market actually works to make things better while, the government is working to make things worse.

    Last, but not least, why does Naomi Klein hate people? Is this one time that we should consider "No Free Speech for Hate Speech" and ban Naomi's book? ;-)

  • sarcasmic||

    The models are not wrong. They were made by experts. If the earth does not behave according to the models, then the world is wrong.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    The "weather is not climate" mantra applies even moreso to hurricane stats. Even if hurricanes get more numerous and intense over time, you would still have years where there are only a few weak hurricanes. The stats take decades to settle down to something reliable. This is made worse by the fact that the "data" that we have before the 1970s is nearly worthless as most hurricane activity was unobserved before the satellite era.

  • mtrueman||

    " The stats take decades to settle down to something reliable. "

    We don't need stats from decades ago to tell us the ocean around Florida is the same temperature as bathwater. A thermometer will do just fine.

  • Agammamon||

    We do need stats to tell us if the ocean around Florida was the same temperature as bathwater *a hundred years ago*.

    Because if it was (and it was) then it being that temperature now can't really be an effect of global warming.

  • mtrueman||

    "We do need stats to tell us if the ocean around Florida was the same temperature as bathwater *a hundred years ago*."

    So you are calling for more money to be spent on climatology, or will this stats we need just magically appear?

  • CE||

    It's like blaming Coca Cola for recent obesity trends, when Coke has been around for a hundred years.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    And I don't need a wind gauge to tell me that there hasn't been a hurricane above my tub for years despite it being the temperature of bathwater.

  • CE||

    It's called the Gulf Stream. It's warm. It was warm 40 years ago.

  • Lester224||

    Just to make sure everyone didn't miss the article. The guy is not a human-caused-climate-change denier, despite the headlines of the article. Here's what he says:

    Bailey: "By no means. I believe that humanity is in fact changing the climate by burning fossil fuels and filling up the atmosphere with extra carbon dioxide, and in the long run if we keep doing it it'll become a significant problem for humanity, so we should be doing something about it."

    There are a lot of models produced by climate scientists, but they are not "wrong". They all say what Bailey said above, which is that the climate is warming and that humans have impacted this. "We should be doing something about it" doesn't include producing more coal and burying your head in it.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    If the model's predictions do not align with observations, then it is wrong. This is a fundamental principle of science.

  • ||

    If only they believed in science.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    If only they believed in science.

    Well that's the problem, isn't it? They've turned science into a belief system akin to religion, instead of a method of inquiry employing testable hypotheses.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    No, they've co-opted science into a scheme to destroy free markets and oppress individual rights.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    Thats not what the article said. It said that these events don't validate the model, but that is not the same as the events invalidating the model.

    If you jump off a cliff, you will eventually hit the ground. Just because you haven't right now doesn't mean you won't.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    If you jump off a cliff, you will eventually hit the ground. Just because you haven't right now doesn't mean you won't.

    Let us know when Mother Gaia actually plans to kill us all, would you?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    We need a constitutional amendment banning the practice of communism.

  • Sevo||

    The dead-tree version of the news this morning had an article regarding 'all the current disasters', including the hurricanes, the E-quake in Mexico and a couple of other 'somethings' and then said, well, we REALLY can't say (nudge, hint, nudge) that 'climate change' caused them all, No, we can't really say Trump and the GOP are making these things happen since we are reasonable people, so you really can't claim that...
    And so forth. And, yes, the earthquake was included.
    Fake news by innuendo...

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    That's silly. Earthquakes aren't caused by climate change, they're caused by fracking.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Or Lex Luthor's diabolical plan to sink CA so as to make all his NV property into beachfronts.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Isn't an E-Quake a MegaMan move?

  • Agammamon||

    My first thought is that is was some new internet thing.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If it isn't already clear to all those climate change deniers who fled up the I-95 from Florida that there's an obvious connection between the Trump Climate and the intensity of hurricanes, then I'm sure they'll figure it out once they come back and find their homes destroyed.

    Either that or my name isn't Tony.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Every state that Harvey hit with hurricane-, tropical storm-, or tropical depression-force voted for Trump. It looks like the same for Irma.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, just goes to show that the people who don't want to sacrifice their standard of living to fight climate change--are voting against their own interests!

    What we need is a government that will force people to do what's in their own best interests. Either that or my name isn't Tony.

  • Paloma||

    Did Cuba vote for Trump?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Of course they didn't!

    And that's why they have the greatest healthcare system on earth. Either that or my name isn't Tony.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Cuba is not a state.

  • CE||

    It ought to be. They would be better off.

  • Longtobefree||

    Maybe.
    But without the investigation committee, we will never know.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Nothing's going to be destroyed, silly fearmonger. Unlike Houston, Florida has zoning laws.

  • Sevo||

    "Cuba blasted as Hurricane Irma tears through the Caribbean"
    [...]
    "Packing life-threatening winds, provoking massive storm surge and causing a host of rainfall dangers, Hurricane Irma slammed northern Cuba on Saturday, continuing to plod a path of devastation through the Caribbean en route to the US state of Florida."
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/09/.....index.html

    Pretty sure Castro has done far worse for them.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Thanks to capitalism the condos and apartments near the ocean in Florida are stronger than ever and survive massive Cat 5 Hurricanes no problem. The socialist run governments of the Caribbean islands do not really care about their bad economies barely support residents having strong homes. The hotels weather the storms no problem, thanks to capitalism.

    Anybody who lives so close to hurricane and typhoon areas, should expect a major storm every ten years or so. Get rid of flood insurance.

  • gbear||

    I hope you mean taxpayer subsidized flood insurance.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Currently, the only real flood insurance is the National Flood Insurance Program which is taxpayer subsidized.

    Most people would not be able to afford market flood insurance, thereby making it so less people live so close to the ocean. This is all a good thing.

  • Tony||

    What could possibly be the upshot of this bloviating? Go ahead, those of you who believe least in climate change, continue not worrying about it!

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Whether you believe in climate change or not, it's a fact that neither the frequency of hurricanes or the intensity of hurricanes has increased beyond historical norms. They just simply haven't.

    And using an active hurricane season to push a political agenda on the backs of people who are suffering - I'm in Houston and I've seen the suffering first hand - is revolting.

  • Tony||

    Yeah but see you're the one calling scientific evidence a "political agenda."

  • bevis the lumberjack||

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    Long reply wouldn't post - my internet has been spotty since Harvey - so I'll retry. Please point out what "scientific evidence" I'm calling a political agenda. I'm saying that using Harvey and Irma to push a political agenda is bullshit, and hurts the credibility of your side. I made no statement at all as to climate change generally.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Tony's credibility is as immune to being hurt as George Washington is immune to being killed.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|9.10.17 @ 8:55PM|#
    "Yeah but see you're the one calling scientific evidence a "political agenda.""

    Yeah, but see you're the one using an unproven relationship to push your archaic political agenda on the deaths of many people, slimebag.

  • Microaggressor||

    Can you post some of that evidence? Or are we just supposed to take your word that Bailey is full of shit when he cites all this inconvenient data?

  • CE||

    What data? It was hot in the 1930s. It was hot in the 1970s. We've had big storms before.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    The political agenda consists of the solutions that the Left is pushing, e.g. Naomi Klein crowing that "We can finally put capitalism in the grave."

    I've been waiting for the scientific evidence that Socialism will fix climate change. I wait in vain.

  • Zeb||

    No, he's calling talking about climate change even though the evidence linking strong hurricanes to climate change pushing a political agenda.

  • Sevo||

    Got enough bloody shirts to wave, slimebag?

  • Greg F||

    ...those of you who believe least in climate change...

    Nobody is interested in your religion Tony.

  • Libertarian||

    But look at that face. LOOK AT IT. He's just so sincere.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    He's thinking about all the money he's making off of this scam.

  • gbear||

    Everyone knows it's HAARP. That's more believable than the crap Algore spouts.

  • Libertarian||

    Unpossible. They voted for Hillary.

    ". . . the GFS just spit out a run where Hurricane #Jose directly hits New York City in 10 days."

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Like CA, NYC would be awesome, if the ew Yorkers were all gone.

  • mtrueman||

    " Basically they're saying that the models tell us this will eventually happen, but we don't see it [yet]."

    Because you've got your head buried in your computer models. Try looking out the window for a change.

  • Agammamon||

    I have. This summer has been the same as summers here have been for several generations now.

  • mtrueman||

    We might make a scientist out of you yet.

  • CE||

    It was cooler here in SoCal. Pretty nice actually.

  • CE||

    And the water level at the beach is the same as it was 30 years ago.

  • Lord_at_War||

    Actually, here in Ohio it has been much cooler than normal this summer, though we got a lot of rain a month ago.

  • Longtobefree||

    Basically they're saying that the models tell us this will eventually happen, but we don't see it [yet]."

    If the model says New York will be under water by the year 2000, it was wrong.
    All of the panic hockey puck (I mean hockey stick) models have projected dates in them. When the real temperatures are statistically less than the model's projections, the models are wrong.
    And at that point, who is the science denier? Is it the one who points out the model was/is wrong, or is it the one that retains faith in the model, just saying it needs a bit of tweaking?
    2 + 2 = 4. Deal with it.

  • Bra Ket||

    But the people claiming it was caused by the gays have been predicting Armageddon longer.

  • chemjeff||

    So if the gays also burn fossil fuels, does that make them doubly responsible for hurricanes?

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Triply, if they call them "fossil" fuels. Those are GIANT bones, apostate.

  • aajax||

    Hard to see how a phenomena that primarily occurs over warm water would not be strengthened by higher temperatures. True, that's only a hypothesis, but it is consistent with observation.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Not hard at all. Depends on the threshold for the phenomenon and the before and after temperatures, the sensitivity of the phenomenon to higher temperatures above that threshold, etc.

  • Bra Ket||

    Generally those kinds of common-sense explanations would lead to meaninglessly small predictions. It is only through the magic of complex models (which can't be validated) that we get catastrophic predictions and tipping points.

    Consistent with what observation? A couple hurricanes after an unusually long lull?

  • Brandybuck||

    We're talking about a 0.5C degree increase. That's significant, but it doesn't mean every hurricane will suddenly be one magnitude larger. Which is sort of the narrative being told to us.

  • CE||

    And the reliable data goes back less than 50 years.

  • Brandybuck||

    Once again people need to be reminded that weather is not climate.

    The denying Right thinks there can't be climate change because it was cold at Christmas. The scowling Left is wagging their finger because of a hurricane. Both are just instances of WEATHER and climate. But I don't blame either side. I have to blame the media for its inept and bumbling science reporting.

  • colorblindkid||

    I don't blame people for denying Climate Change is real, because of the hypocritical bullshit peddled by the media and celebrities is just as lacking in science and facts as the bullshit coming out of the people who think it's not real at all. There is a 95% consensus we are warming the planet to some degree. There is no consensus on what that means, what the effects will be on the weather, or how or even if it can be prevented.

  • p3orion||

    Don't fall for the "95%" bullshit (the claim is actually 97%.) That figure, thrown around so loosely by the "global warming" crowd, doesn't bear much scrutiny.

    In 2009, a University of Illinois grad student and her thesis advisor sent out a survey to some 10,300 scientists, asking two questions related to climate change. Of those, most ignored the survey, but 3146 responded. Of those 3146, there were 77 who identified themselves as working in the field of climate research, and of those, 75 answered "yes" to both questions; this is the source of the 97% factoid, since 75 is 97% of 77.

    But by limiting the statistic to the answers of self-described "climate researchers," the study threw out the response of solar scientists, cosmologists, physicists, space scientists, meteorologists, and others in a position to be familiar with the many factors other than human activity that can affect the Earth's climate. One suspects that the percentage of these excluded scientists who support the theory of "anthropogenic global warming" would have been quite a bit less, but it has remained unreported what percentage of the responding 3146 agreed with both statements.

  • Longtobefree||

    Add in the number of scientists who publicly, in writing, stated that their views were mis-represented, and the Al Gore wealth creators lose.

  • Cy||

    In other words, it's like asking an insurance agent if you need more insurance.

  • p3orion||

    Only true believers could look at two hurricanes and shout "PROOF!" but look at the past twelve years of NO hurricanes and call it a "statistical anomaly."

  • Longtobefree||

    Just for historical reference:
    This is from so long ago I lost the citation:
    Adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan, notable as a Democrat in the administration, urged the administration to initiate a worldwide system of monitoring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, decades before the issue of global warming came to the public's attention.
    There is widespread agreement that carbon dioxide content will rise 25 percent by 2000, Moynihan wrote in a September 1969 memo.
    "This could increase the average temperature near the earth's surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit," he wrote. "This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter."
    Wrong then (1969), wrong now (2017). "Widespread" agreement does not constitute truth; see flat earth.
    I was taught that carbon dioxide was necessary for plant life; has that changed?

  • mpercy||

    "2006: Expect Another Big Hurricane Year Says NOAA"—MongaBay .com, May 22, 2006

    "NOAA Predicts Above Normal 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season"—NOAA press release, May 23, 2007

    "NOAA Increases Expectancy for Above-Normal 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season"—gCaptain .com, Aug. 7, 2008

    "Forecasters: 2009 to Bring 'Above Average' Hurricane Season"—CNN, Dec. 10, 2008

    "NOAA: 2010 Hurricane Season May Set Records"—Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.), May 28, 2010

    "NOAA Predicts Increased Storm Activity in 2011 Hurricane Season"—BDO Consulting press release, Aug. 18, 2011

    "2012 Hurricane Forecast Update: More Storms Expected"—LiveScience, Aug. 9, 2012

    "NOAA Predicts Active 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season"—NOAA press release, May 23, 2013

    "A Space-Based View of 2015's 'Hyperactive' Hurricane Season"—CityLab .com, June 19, 2015

    "The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Might Be the Strongest in Years"—CBSNews, Aug. 11, 2016

    "NOAA: U.S. Completes Record 11 Straight Years Without Major Hurricane Strike"—CNSNews, Oct. 24, 2016

    [Hat tip to "Best of the Web" from The Wall Street Journal]

    I'm sure that *EVENTUALLY* they'll get one right...2016 was the "strongest in years" but was still pretty much meh, except for Matthew's impact on Haiti.

    Actual activity in 2016: 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 4 CAT3+
    Average (1981–2010[1]) 12.1, 6.4, 2.7
    Record high activity 28, 15, 7

  • mpercy||

    (OTTMAR EDENHOFER, UN IPCC OFFICIAL): Basically it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War... First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

    Christiana Figueres, leader of the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change: "This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history."

    Former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO), then representing the Clinton-Gore administration as U.S undersecretary of state for global issues, addressing the same Rio Climate Summit audience, agreed: "We have got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."

  • mpercy||

    Christine Stewart, former Canadian Environment Minister: "No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits.... climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world."

    David Brower, a founder of the Sierra Club: "The goal now is a socialist, redistributionist society, which is nature's proper steward and society's only hope."

    Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth: "A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources."

    Monika Kopacz, atmospheric scientist: "It is no secret that a lot of climate-change research is subject to opinion, that climate models sometimes disagree even on the signs of the future changes (e.g. drier vs. wetter future climate). The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians' — and readers' — attention. So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today's world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty."

  • KIK Usernames||

    This issue is only going to exacerbate over time in the next decade. Climate change is not a subject for opinion. People reading this article take solace in the every day miracles they utilize such as cars, phones, blenders, dish washers etcetera etcetera. They understand not to look directly at the sun when scientists tell them not to during an eclipse, yet when 99.99% of the worlds scientists on climate change explain to great lengths how we help induce such a state, people become climate experts. It's pretty dumb founding. The subject of our carbon footprint is no debate. We mine for precious products and as a result we open the planet up to higher levels of carbon emission. This has a dire effect on a closed system (earth is a closed system). Without the possible ability to remedy this situation, where we produce something to remove the carbon from the atmosphere, this will snow ball regardless of whatever people want to believe. The planet does not care about whether we live or die, it will still be here well past our due date.

    I think making a conscience effort to make our lives better regardless of your belief on climate change is not a bad thing. It should be food for thought. How this became a partisan political point blows my f****** mind.

  • TxJack 112||

    So what caused the 1900 Galveston storm that killed 8000-10,000 people and leveled the entire island? What about the 1926 and 1935 Florida hurricanes? What about hurricane Camille in 1969? At that time scientists were predicting the next mini-ice age, not global warming. No one will argue the climate is not changing. The only issue is the climate change proponents are focused more on control than fixing problems. When you consider Al Gore's home uses as much electricity in a month as the average home in 21.7 yrs, it is really hard to take him seriously. When Leonardo DiCaprio preaches about the need for reducing CO2 emissions and then jumps into his limo to take him to his private jet it is hard to take him seriously. When the hypocrisy is pointed out to supporters, the response is they are "special". When those who are pushing this agenda so hard start living what they preach, I might listen but until then.... blah blah blah.

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