Opinion: Emotion feeds climate argument

September 20, 2013


There is a tradition in politics that is similar to one in the legal profession: When evidence supports your position, make your argument based on the evidence, but when it argues against your position, ignore the evidence and appeal to emotion.

The evidence is piling up that “climate change,” formerly known as “global warming,” is losing evidentiary support, despite recent “preliminary findings” by a group of “experts” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that a Washington Post editorial suggests may prove, “warming has boosted the chances, in some cases significantly, that certain unwelcome weather or weather-related disasters will occur.” The Post and other “true believers” ignore or ridicule a growing body of evidence rebutting their beliefs.

Most bad weather — from hurricanes, which have been few this season, to tornadoes — are unwelcome by those in their paths, but these weather phenomena have existed for centuries. Both sides seem to agree that CO2 levels are elevated, but they don’t agree on whether that will cause dangerous climate change, including rising temperatures and turbulent weather. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) argues, “The human effect is likely to be small relative to natural variability, and whatever small warming is likely to occur will produce benefits as well as costs.”

Yet the climate change cultists continue to focus on melting polar ice caps and “displaced” polar bears as part of their emotional appeal for government to “fix” the problem. Now comes a report in the UK Daily Mail that “eminent scientists” have observed a record return of the Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60 percent in a year, covering with ice almost 1 million more square miles of ocean than in 2012.

In 2007, the BBC reported that by 2013, global warming would leave the Arctic “ice free.” Oops!

Just how silly this is getting is an assertion by some activists that the current tensions in Syria might be linked to climate change. That’s not as harebrained as a newspaper report in January 1933, which said, “Yo-Yo Banned in Syria, Blamed for Drought by Moslems.” The Syrians of 1933 actually believed the up and down of a toy yo-yo affected the weather. If it went down and sprang right back up, rain. If it went down and didn’t spring up, drought. Police reportedly patrolled the streets, confiscating the toy. Ridiculous? Not as ridiculous as some of the junk science coming out of climate research circles today.

Last March, the Daily Mail reported that global temperatures are about to drop “below the level that the (computer) models forecast with ‘90 percent certainty.’”

Marc Morano, a former staff member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (whose web page climatedepot.com offers numerous scientific articles debunking climate change), emails me: “As a long observer of the global weather movement, I can say that the events of 2013 (have) been one of the most devastating to the movement. Both poles have record expanding ice. Global temperatures have failed to rise for 15 plus years, sea level rise is failing to accelerate, tornadoes are at record lows, hurricanes are near record low activity ... 2013 may be the year in which man-made global warming fears enter the dustbin of history.”

I doubt it. Too many people have too much invested in perpetuating this fiction. Billions of dollars and other currencies have been diverted into “green” projects in a Chicken Little attempt to stop the sky from falling. The BBC reports it as fact in virtually every story it does on the environment. Ditto the American media. Most media ignore evidence that counters climate change proponents.

Former Vice President Al Gore has made a personal fortune promoting the cult of global warming, a cult being partially defined as a belief system that ignores proof contrary to its beliefs.

Perhaps the climate change counter-revolutionaries should adopt the yo-yo as their symbol and send Gore and his apostles a box of them.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

Emotion feeds climate argument. So do coal fired plants and zillions of fossil fuel vehicles.

Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

voevoda 4 years, 5 months ago

Cal Thomas needs to reread his first paragraph, and then apply it to himself. What actual evidence does he present to back his position? Nothing legitimate and compelling. The " Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)" that he cites as his authority is just a fringe group in cahoots with Big Energy; it has about as much credibility as Holocaust deniers. Other than that, he has news stories from the Daily Mail, known primarily for its sensationalism. So this is nothing more than an attempt to bluster in support of an ideologically pre-determined position. In other words, typical Cal Thomas.

deec 4 years, 5 months ago

" Now comes a report in the UK Daily Mail that “eminent scientists” have observed a record return of the Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60 percent in a year, covering with ice almost 1 million more square miles of ocean than in 2012."

That's because of last year's record melts. Here's actual, you know, science facts from the scientists who study the Arctic ice. "This year’s minimum was 1.69 million square kilometers (653,000 square miles) above the record MINIMUM (emphasis mine) extent in the satellite era, which occurred on September 16, 2012, and 1.12 million square kilometers (432,000 square miles) BELOW (emphasis mine) the 1981 to 2010 average minimum."


Liberty275 4 years, 5 months ago

Where are the hurricanes that are supposed to be caused by the warming oceans?

Liberty275 4 years, 5 months ago

Are they using hurricanes to plug wells?

avarom 4 years, 5 months ago

Only if the water is contaminated.....read the whole article.

Liberty275 4 years, 5 months ago

"Dr. Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist and author of Climate Confusion, argues in his influential blog the UN report shows scientists are being forced to "recognise reality".

He said: "We are now at the point in the age of global warming hysteria where the IPCC global warming theory has crashed into the hard reality of observations.""


Ken Lassman 4 years, 5 months ago

Well, well, well. Mr. Cal Thomas is suddenly an expert on climate change, and he has done his best to cherry pick pseudoscientific sources plucked from the FUD folks on the extreme denialist websites to prove his expertise.

I can't believe anyone would dare cite Mr. Singer's NIPCC organization as a credible source for anything. This is the same guy who questioned the link between UV-B and melanoma rates, denies a link between CFCs and stratospheric ozone loss, and has publicly denied the health risks of passive smoking. Just by quoting such a fringe source, Mr Thomas places himself in the most extreme "emotion feeds the climate argument" category that there is.

As per the point that Mr. Thomas fails to make, i.e. that there is a shift from credible sources to emotional manipulation in the scientific community that is attempting to educate our society on the issue of human-induced changes in our climate, I have found the Yale Forum on Climate Change Communication to be very useful and helpful in sorting out the opinions from the facts. I recommend checking this site out: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/

Ken Lassman 4 years, 5 months ago

Hm...which viewpoint and sources should I consider to be closer to the mark: a political columnist who writes columns whose "fact" citations are just links to his own earlier posts, or peer reviewed recognized experts in the field in question?

Chris Golledge 4 years, 5 months ago

OK, in the US, the fossil fuel industry makes up 7% of the gross domestic product. What is the average salary of a scientist working for the fossil fuel companies and what is the average salary of scientists doing research on climate change?

George Lippencott 4 years, 5 months ago

This argument continues to deteriorate. It is not an argument about climate change or not climate change. It is now about what to do.

It would be much more effective if our leadership treated us like grown-ups.. To address climate change it will cost a lot of money and major changes to how we live. The faster we try to address it the more it will impact. It is time that we are honest about that. Defining the standard of living that will be required to check climate change should be the focus of our leadership. Is it because the expected standard is so limiting that we avoid the subject? Could it be that we really do not know?

I suspect the majority of the public understands that there is a problem. They have not been offered an end state as to what sacrifices will be required. They know that and as a result resist starting until they know the consequences. They are owed that!

Mike Ford 4 years, 5 months ago

man the angry in the bubble thinkers are on the rampage today.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 5 months ago

Cal is delusional.

For instance, there was a researcher who predicted the Arctic might be ice free as early as 2013. He said 2016, give or take 3 years. (Most others thought this was unlikely.) And Cal says: "In 2007, the BBC reported that by 2013, global warming would leave the Arctic “ice free.”

Umm, no. That's not what they said.

Let's look the history of sea ice volume. Imagine yourself in 2007, you can't see 2008 and on. What is your guess as to when the volume will reach 0 in September.


bearded_gnome 4 years, 4 months ago

absolutely right Cal. as documented in a recent issue of The Economist, temps have failed to match the predictions of global warming models across the board for many years.

this is just the latest incarnation of opposition to capitalism.

cowboy 4 years, 4 months ago

Breaking News....

Cal announces earth is flat

Gravity is a liberal ruse

Lightning means the Skygod is angry

Commenting has been disabled for this item.