Green Weenie of the Week: Climate Crime Wave?

I had very nearly retired Power Line’s coveted Green Weenie Award, as the always fierce competition was seemingly ended forever with the arrival of Greta Thunberg. How could anyone possibly compete with that spectacle? Well, there are a lot of greenies who step up every day and boast, “hold my green beer.”

One worthy contender is the group of folks who thought solar photovoltaic roads were a good idea. You’d expect the Germans to try out this idiocy, but no, it was the French:

It was a solar experiment that seemed ingenious in its simplicity: fill a road with photovoltaic panels and let them passively soak up the rays as cars drive harmlessly above. The idea has been tried a few times, notably in rural France in 2016 with what was christened the “Wattway.”

Three years later, even the most optimistic supporters have deemed the Wattway a failure. . . .

“The engineers of this project surely did not think about the tractors that would roll over,” Pascal and Eric, two local roofers leaning on the counter of the Café de Paris, Tourouvre-au-Perche, told the French newspaper Le Monde in 2019. While the resin coating might be strong enough to keep a big rig from crushing the solar panels, the two said that driving over it generates so much noise that locals required the road’s speed limit to be lowered to 70 km/h, or a paltry 43 mph.

The durability and noise of the road bed weren’t the only problems. The story gets truly comical with this detail:

There proved to be several problems with this goal. The first was that Normandy is not historically known as a sunny area. At the time, the region’s capital city of Caen only got 44 days of strong sunshine a year, and not much has changed since.

What—they were expecting Normandy to get sunnier somehow? And this:

“If they really want this to work, they should first stop cars driving on it,” Marc Jedliczka, vice president of the Network for Energetic Transition (CLER), which promotes renewable energy, told the Eurasia Times.

At this point I had to doublecheck to make sure I wasn’t being had on by the Babylon Bee.

But even this compound idiocy doesn’t get the Green Weenie. The latest prize goes to Mother Jones magazine for this story:

Study: Global Warming Will Cause 180,000 More Rapes by 2099

Global warming isn’t just going to melt the Arctic and flood our cities—it’s also going to make Americans more likely to kill each other.

That’s the conclusion of a controversial new study that uses historic crime and temperature data to show that hotter weather leads to more murders, more rapes, more robberies, more assaults, and more property crimes.

“Looking at the past, we see a strong relationship between temperature and crime,” says study author Matthew Ranson, an economist with the policy consulting firm Abt Associates. “We think that is likely to continue in the future.”

Just how much more crime can we expect? Using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s warming projections, Ranson calculated that from 2010 to 2099, climate change will “cause” an additional “22,000 murders, 180,000 cases of rape, 1.2 million aggravated assaults, 2.3 million simple assaults, 260,000 robberies, 1.3 million burglaries, 2.2 million cases of larceny, and 580,000 cases of vehicle theft” in the United States.

At a time when progressives are doing everything they can to get the crime rate back up, you’d think they’d welcome this additional boost. They might run into a bit of trouble, though, when you remember that the crime rate in the U.S. fell substantially in the 1990s when warming was happening the fastest. I have little doubt that if anyone wants to take a serious look at crime trends and causation, you’ll easily find the numbers of prospective temperature-related crimes claimed in this study disappear as mere noise behind demographic and enforcement variables. But since the progressives are going to jail climate skeptics under President Bernie Sanders anyway, there should be plenty of prison space available.

P.S. For a less tendentious view of climate-related risks, see this recent article from Global Environmental Change:

Empirical evidence of declining global vulnerability to climate-related hazards

Giuseppe Formettaa, Luc Feyenb


Death tolls and economic losses from natural hazards continue to rise in many parts of the world. With the aim to reduce future impacts from natural disasters it is crucial to understand the variability in space and time of the vulnerability of people and economic assets. In this paper we quantified the temporal dynamics of socio-eco- nomic vulnerability, expressed as fatalities over exposed population and losses over exposed GDP, to climate- related hazards between 1980 and 2016. Using a global, spatially explicit framework that integrates population and economic dynamics with one of the most complete natural disaster loss databases we quantified mortality and loss rates across income levels and analyzed their relationship with wealth. Results show a clear decreasing trend in both human and economic vulnerability, with global average mortality and economic loss rates that have dropped by 6.5 and nearly 5 times, respectively, from 1980–1989 to 2007–2016. We further show a clear negative relation between vulnerability and wealth, which is strongest at the lowest income levels. This has led to a convergence in vulnerability between higher and lower income countries. Yet, there is still a considerable climate hazard vulnerability gap between poorer and richer countries.

The boldface section means that the best thing a poor country can do to reduce climate risk of any kind is to get rich as fast as possible.

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