EDITORIAL: Abrupt climate-change reversal

New U.N. report blows cold on human causes for weather extremes

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The injection of politics into the global-warming hypothesis has made it difficult to know where facts end and falsehoods begin. While alarmists have been blaming their fellow man for every hurricane, tornado and other ill wind whipped up by Mother Nature, science is now concluding that the cause of these damaging storms has nothing to do with human activity.

The surprise absolution of human beings from the crime of triggering severe weather phenomena was handed down by none other than the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), leader of the campaign to sell the world on anthropogenic climate change. The IPCC’s Special Report on Extremes, released March 28, reads, “There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized [property] losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change.” The breathtaking admission is a sign that objective science is reclaiming a leading role in the discussion.

This is not to say that localized weather extremes are not occurring. In recent years, Americans living in the Midwest have faced outbreaks of deadly tornadoes unusually early in the twister season. About three dozen people were killed last month, and more than 300 perished in April 2011. News reports often recite conventional wisdom that such catastrophes are becoming more frequent and severe because of industry-emitted carbon dioxide - the same gas that makes all animal and plant life possible. The same substance is vilified as a “greenhouse gas” that purportedly traps heat, warms the planet and provokes killer tempests.

However, climatologists who stick to facts say otherwise. Roger A. Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, notes that globally, hurricane wind speed - an indicator for the amount of energy in the atmosphere - has remained steady for the past 15 years. Accordingly, there is no evidence that weather extremes are on the rise globally, much less that they’re increasing because of human activity.

That damaging squalls are not anthropogenic surely will be unwelcome news to President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which imposes drastic restrictions on the nation in the hopes of changing the weather. The EPA’s website features an Extreme Events page, which reads: “Human-induced climate change has the potential to alter the prevalence and severity of extremes such as heat waves, cold waves, storms, floods and droughts.”

On the basis of that premise, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson last week announced plans to place crushing restrictions on the nation’s coal-burning power plants, on which Americans depend to produce 45 percent of the nation’s electricity.

The agency attributes its assertion that human activity can cause severe global warming to the IPCC’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. Now that the U.N. organization has backed off from that claim, the EPA is obligated to do so as well. Without the facts to back it up, the anthropogenic global-warming theory has proved to be unsustainable. Governmental policies based on this obsolete fiction likewise should be rescinded.

The Washington Times

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