Karl Koehler: Get facts straight
To the editor:
Todd Tanner’s recent “Climate in the crosshairs” column was so packed with misinformation that it’s hard to decide where to begin to respond. I’ll start by agreeing that the debate about catastrophic climate change is dying. The computer modeled chicken’s head of global warming hysteria effectively has been chopped off with the ax of accumulated empirical data. Yet still, the catastrophist body’s instinctive will to survive compels the carcass to dash madly around the barnyard, unable to sense or reason that it’s already dead. Mr. Tanner’s reference to the wisdom of socialist Upton Sinclair pertains most aptly to the grant-addicted climate change researchers he cites. I submit there are two kinds of people: those who carefully observe the world and then seek to understand it, and those who first make up their minds and then only “see” observations supportive of their predetermined worldview.
Mr. Tanner strikes me as a member of the latter group. Of the list of horribles facing the U.S. today, climate change ranks very near the bottom. Can I back that up? No. But Gallup can: http://www.gallup.com/poll/167843/climate-change-not-top-worry.aspx. Not because climate change isn’t happening, rather because it always has and always will. Our influence on the process is negligible — at least insofar as it is affected by CO2 emissions.
At long last, a majority of Americans have grown weary of climate change alarmism and are beginning to understand that we have bigger fish to fry. The sensitivity of climate to CO2 has been quite obviously overstated by the alarmist faction. Compare for yourself graphs of modeled temperature predictions with actual measurements. The growing divergence is undeniable. Mann’s iconic hockey stick graph has been completely discredited; the Antarctic ice sheet has grown to a record area; water levels in the Great Lakes have recovered; July 1936 has reclaimed the its rightful crown as the warmest month on record (a decision once breathlessly, albeit prematurely — and, as it turns out, erroneously — awarded to July 2012); hurricanes routinely degrade short of landfall; tornadoes are not growing stronger nor more frequent; and droughts are most emphatically not worse despite the declarations of Todd, the self-described sportsman.
Forests are not dying because of climate change; neither are coral reefs; and polar bear populations are thriving. Wildfires are no worse than they’ve ever been — we simply have more mismanaged acres to deal with and more incursions of civilization into those acres. Todd might find the history of the Big Burn interesting — 3 million acres of tall timber burnt in a single fire — in two days! The year? 1910. The location? His backyard. The 97 percent consensus science surveys Todd cites as “proof” are flawed in the extreme. In order to face facts, you must first learn them. Global warming has been politicized and distorted to the point that far too many well-meaning people like Todd, sportsmen in perfect position to take notice and marvel at the cyclical adaptability and astounding resilience of Mother Nature, instead are cooped into the fear-mongering ranks of the green movement. I, too, am a father (and a sportsman), and I refuse to surrender without argument the moral high ground claimed in the name of Todd’s son. My moral obligations to my children include teaching them to think for themselves and speaking out against grossly misallocated resource expenditures completely wasted in the name of climate change. We do indeed have bigger fish to fry. Pass the chicken.