Today we are taking a look at a group that opposes the scientific consensus on climate change. Clear Energy Alliance has been promoting this video as an ad on youtube and I wanted to dismantle every argument they have.
Climate Change Doesn’t Affect Extreme Weather
Uh-oh! Hurricane season is here again. And with climate change, storms are more frequent and stronger… except…they aren’t.
The fact is, the media and climate change campaigners have been lying to you. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe that the news media would be unduly hyping anything that draws more attention to themselves, but the evidence is clear that’s what they are doing.
This is twisting what actual science says about the effects of Climate Change on weather systems. The actual scientific position is that “Global warming amplifies the risk factors for extreme weather events” . That is all that any scientific paper ever claims. For example, a study on the effects of climate change on UK flooding in October and November 2000 showed that greenhouse gas emissions increased the risk of flooding by 20% and in a few cases by 90% . And there are many more scientific studies that show increased precipitation extremes are caused by climate change , increased dry areas in North America, West Africa, and East Asia , and increased temperature extremes . So it was always increased chances of extreme weather events including but not limited to Hurricanes.
Major Hurricane Landfalls Have declined
Landfalls of major hurricanes in the U.S. have actually declined over the past 140 years, long before humans began burning large quantities of fossil fuels. And the downward trend in storms is holding steady over the past several decades.
This assumes that the scientific position says that hurricanes will become more frequent. This is a strawman point against the scientific consensus because all the scientific consensus says is that the factors for extreme weather will increase. Not that it will definitely cause more storms. In fact, historical data actually shows an increase in the wind-damage dealt with by these extreme weather events . Climate Scientist Kerry Emanuel pointed out in 1987 that increasing sea surface temperatures would cause Hurricanes to become more destructive . His statements continued to be validated with each passing hurricane season. This is not including the other factors that amplify a Hurricane’s total destructive power. When you include that sea levels have risen significantly in the past half-century and the atmosphere’s ability to hold more moisture, the Hurricanes are actually more destructive. Regardless of the frequency of hurricanes that make landfall, the strong storms are getting stronger and will continue on this trend .
Hurricane Harvey was a return to normal
The U.S. had an amazing vacation from major hurricane activity during that time. When Harvey hit it 2017, it was simply a return to normal.
Actually, Harvey was anything but normal. Due to rising sea levels and warmer waters around the Houston area, Harvey strengthened more than it was expected to . The rise in global temperature allowed the atmosphere to hold more moisture in the air which increased the amount of rain Harvey was able to produce. That coupled with the storm surge, which was made worse by rising sea levels, made Harvey much worse than it should have been .
Climate Change Didn’t Affect Harvey
You might remember some climatologists and media outlets claiming that the enormous amount of rain associated with Hurricane Harvey was due to climate change.
Penn State Professor Michael Mann wrote in an op-ed piece: “It’s a fact. Climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly.” In truth, Harvey was more destructive and deadly because it got trapped between a high pressure system in the west and another system in the east, which is extremely rare.
Hurricanes are fueled by warm ocean surface water and rain is fueled by how much moisture the air can hold . Both of these factors are strongly affected by Climate Change . If you had cooler sea surface temperatures and less moisture then Harvey couldn’t have continued to be as powerful as it was.
Hurricane Harvey’s Stalled Movement
As Climatologist Judith Curry said at the time, “Anyone blaming Hurricane Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The huge amounts of rain are associated with Harvey’s stalled movement.”
This is just wrong and shows how disingenuous Curry is on this subject. That makes sense though considering that she’s funded by fossil-fuel corporations. This stalled movement is actually predicted by climate change models . Like I said before, you take away Harvey’s fuel and the rain’s fuel, then it doesn’t matter if it is wedged between two pressure systems. Harvey would have just run out of steam faster.