Before Hurricane Irene made landfall, environmental extremists were spouting off three certainties about the storm: It is catastrophic; it was caused by global warming; and it is all President Obama's fault.
On Thursday, climate alarmist Bill McKibben wrote, "Irene's got a middle name, and it's Global Warming." His thesis is that warmer ocean temperatures mean hurricanes will hold more moisture and travel farther north than they have in the past, resulting in more devastation. Combine this with melting Arctic ice, record floods and record droughts, and the "global weirding" model is complete.
If anything is getting weirder, it's the arguments of the climate-change crowd. They are increasingly unnerved by the collapse of their belief system, as was illustrated by Al Gore's emotional meltdown at an Aspen Institute speech earlier this month. Warmists no longer can hold the public's attention with cute pictures of polar bears and earnest stories of looming long-term catastrophes. They need deadly impact now. Thus, every natural disaster, be it a flood, a drought, an earthquake, a tsunami, a tornado, a hurricane, a blizzard, a heatwave or even a cold snap, is somehow tied to their pet theory.
Hurricane Katrina was the model for "climate disruption" alarmism. Amidst the devastation wrought in 2005 in New Orleans and along the Gulf coast, warmists promised this was just the beginning. Future storms would be bigger, badder and more deadly. The next three years, however, were among the mildest hurricane seasons on record, and long-term data show relative stability in hurricane size and frequency.
The past few years have seen significant body blows to the global warming theory, including major revelations of altered, misused or just plain fraudulent data, undue financial interests and appearances of impropriety among climate scientists, and contrived "carbon markets" closely tied to global warming alarmists who stood to make millions of dollars from government-mandated regulations like the now defunct "cap-and-trade" scheme. The Earth stopped warming 10 years ago. A July 2011 NASA study found that carbon dioxide traps far less heat than warmist computer models assume, and that "there is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."
The American people in their wisdom have begun to tune out the climate-change noise. Global warming ranked last on a March 2011 Gallup poll of the environmental concerns of Americans. In an open-ended June 2011 CBS News/New York Times poll asking what Americans think is "the most important problem facing this country today," the environment did not even make the list.
Hard-core enviros blame Mr. Obama for failing to lead on this issue. Despite pushing through the most radical pro-green regulatory framework in history, liberals say he hasn't done enough and Irene is his punishment. No matter, the storm won't be a total write-off for the left. The White House will at least have another natural disaster to blame for America's economic woes.
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