Offering any statement that is anything other than complete agreement with the extreme position of climate change crusaders will get you labeled a denier or worse.
Some in advocacy groups such as Climate Hawks Vote go so far as to say officials who reject their interpretation of science have a business plan to “cook the planet” and should be sent to jail.
Before I get labeled or imprisoned, allow me to defend myself on the issue of global warming by my service in a presidential administration that followed a policy of acknowledging climate change, the human role in it, and supporting measures to deal with it.
As media coverage moves away from daily reports of the effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we ought to examine the declarations that the two big storms are some kind of proof that global warming made them worse than they would have been.
Never miss a local story.
There are lots of reports that question the excitement of those who immediately turned their attention from the plight of victims to what they enthusiastically described as the “new normal.”
The liberal “Politico Magazine“ attributed a climate scientist’s conclusion, on the very day Harvey hit the Texas Coast, that the storm was decades in the making. Really?
Meanwhile The Heritage Foundation declared the “I told you so” responses from the aforementioned authorities to be a myth.
Citing work published in the “Journal of Climate” of the history of global tropical cyclone landfalls, scientists have documented that there has been no increase in the strength of such storms during the past 46 years.
A further study going back 140 years charts a significant decrease in hurricanes in the Category 3-5 range reaching major landfalls.
Even the renowned United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in its most recent scientific assessment that there are “no robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes” in the past 100 years.
“Newsweek,” another staunchly liberal publication, ran a commentary last week saying alarmist stories such as the one in Politico cited above to be “typically infused with smug arrogance.”
Specifically pointing out that claims of Harvey’s amounts of rainfall were “unprecedented” brought into focus some ignored facts of storms in 1950, 1978, and 1979 virtually equaling and, in one case, exceeding the Houston deluge.
The “Newsweek” article goes on to document, in great detail, the lack of solid scientific evidence of any sustained rising of sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico that global warming devotees cite as the cause of stronger storms.
Arguments with all of the above, among so-called alarmists and deniers alike, will go on and on. Such may account for the low priority the general public puts on the issue of climate change.
For the 15th consecutive year, the highly regarded Pew Research Center finds no movement in attitudes on the subject. Still ranking near the end of the list of 20 priorities people think the government should be focused on, warming has little traction.
That reality may also explain why Congress has never managed to pass any law authorizing action designed to control the climate.
A significant debate unfolded during the first two years of the Obama administration but produced no legislation, even though Democrats controlled the entire government.
Nevertheless, there have been historic volumes of regulatory initiatives that have produced little results. Instead they have been playing out in federal courts as almost half the states in the country challenged the federal rulemaking agenda.
It seems the major changes in human behavior that advocates say are needed to save the planet remain elusive. Seizing on the tragedy of natural disasters isn’t likely to produce the result they so earnestly demand.
And no one is going to jail for disagreeing with them.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.