Superstorm Sandy helps ramp up warming wackiness

The latest National Review offers this blurb about the political impact of the recent storm that battered New York and New Jersey:

The case for being worried about climate change, formerly known as global warming, begins with the unobjectionable and escalates to the absurd. The least plausible claim is that specific events, such as the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, are attributable to specific U.S. public-policy decisions. That this assertion stands in contravention of the best scientific analysis has not stopped the most unhinged climate alarmists from making it. The more reasonable argument holds that warmer oceans lead to more-intense hurricanes and other extreme weather events. But Sandy was not an unusually powerful hurricane — it inflicted so much damage because it arrived at the confluence of a nor’easter and a high-pressure system and plowed into densely populated urban areas at high tide. In fact, the arrival of powerful hurricanes on our shores is somewhat diminished of late: The last Category 3 hurricane to make landfall was seven years ago, the longest such interval in a century. As Professor Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado points out, 1954-55 saw three back-to-back hurricanes more destructive than Sandy — two in the same month — crashing onto our shores. As so often, the science is complex while the politics are simpleminded. Global-warming hysteria is a fashion, and it is exciting to some people. It would not be accurate to say that it serves no one, but Al Gore’s fortune is not in obvious need of supplementation, and we did not believe Barack Obama’s promise of halting the oceans’ rise the first time around.

Those seeking a sensible approach to climate issues might want to consult the work of scientists such as Patrick Michaels, Roy Spencer, John Christy, and Richard Lindzen.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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