Think Progress Makes “A Terrible Mistake”

How low can liberals sink? This low: Think Progress blames the tornadoes that killed close to 300 across the South on those states’ Congressional delegations: “Catastrophic Climate: Storms Kill 292 In States Represented By Climate Pollution Deniers.”

The Congressional delegations of these states overwhelmingly voted (HR 910 and McConnell Amendment 183) to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous:

That is typical Think Progress: the votes were not, of course, on whether “polluting the climate”–whatever that means–“is dangerous.” The votes were to overturn the EPA’s carbon dioxide endangerment finding.

“Given that global warming is unequivocal,” climate scientist Kevin Trenberth cautioned the American Meteorological Society in January of this year, “the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of ‘of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.'”

The implication is that this week’s tornadoes were caused by anthropogenic global warming. As regular readers know, my view is that the scientific evidence overwhelmingly refutes the politically-motivated claim that the earth’s climate is warming significantly, and the primary cause is human activity. But put the broader issue aside for the moment. The southern states have always been prone to tornadoes in the spring. Tornadoes existed long before the Industrial Revolution. There is zero evidence–none–that this week’s weather had anything to do with human activity of any sort.
It is ironic that Think Progress quotes Kevin Trenberth for the proposition that all weather events–heat, cold, rain, drought, wind, no wind, you name it–should be presumed to be “affected by global warming.” Trenberth is the very pseudo-scientist who admitted that he and his fellow alarmists have no idea what actually causes the weather, which usually fails to conform to the alarmists’ predictions. Trenberth wrote, in one of the most famous Climategate emails:

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather). …
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Got that? The climate isn’t behaving as Trenberth and his fellow alarmists predicted; they have no idea why; the alarmists’ inability to explain observed weather patterns is a “travesty;” and the data the alarmists rely on is “surely wrong” because their “observing system is inadequate.” What’s the solution? No problem–just ignore the data and presume that “all weather events are affected by global warming.” Sure, that works–if you are a political activist, rather than a scientist.
The AFP offered a saner assessment of this week’s tragic storms: “Tornadoes whipped up by wind, not climate.”

US meteorologists warned Thursday it would be a mistake to blame climate change for a seeming increase in tornadoes in the wake of deadly storms that have ripped through the US south.
“If you look at the past 60 years of data, the number of tornadoes is increasing significantly, but it’s agreed upon by the tornado community that it’s not a real increase,” said Grady Dixon, assistant professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University.
“It’s having to do with better (weather tracking) technology, more population, the fact that the population is better educated and more aware. So we’re seeing them more often,” Dixon said.
But he said it would be “a terrible mistake” to relate the up-tick to climate change. …
Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), also dismissed Thursday climate change as a factor in the deadly tornadoes: “Actually what we’re seeing is springtime,” he said. …
[T]he stronger-than-usual tornadoes affecting the southern states were actually predicted from examining the planet’s climatological patterns, specifically those related to the La Nina phenomenon.
“We knew it was going to be a big tornado year,” he said. But the key to that tip-off was unrelated to climate change: “It is related to the natural fluctuations of the planet.”

Everyone is mistaken sometimes, but Think Progress and similar far-left web sites are unique in that they engage in a systematic effort to mislead their readers in order to advance a political agenda. Reading them makes you stupid.

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