Government & Politics

White House 'Climate Disruption' Horror Stories

The National Climate Assessment has dire warnings if we don't follow leftist prescriptions.

May 7, 2014

Climate change remains low on the priority list for the vast majority of Americans, but that only tells Democrats they’re not yelling loud enough. Needing to explain why economically destructive regulations are required to address the problem, the Left is forced to claim that global warming is already doing economic harm. That’s the purpose of the latest White House report – the third National Climate Assessment, an 800-page behemoth that is the most comprehensive U.S. report on the subject.

The report has been in the works for four years and incorporates the work of hundreds of the “top experts” in the field. White House adviser John Podesta said it gives us “a huge amount of practical, usable knowledge that state and local decision-makers can take advantage of as they plan … for the impacts of climate change and work to make their communities more resilient.”

The devastating impacts primarily include increased “extreme weather events” – floods, droughts, storms, heat waves, polar vortexes, and pretty much any other news-making weather event. Weather is never climate unless alarmists need it to be. After all, this report comes on the heels of the White House claim that the reason the economy didn’t grow in the first quarter was the “unusually severe winter weather.”

According to the report, “[W]e know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from burning coal, oil and gas, with additional contributions from forest clearing and some agricultural practices.”

The study’s authors say that temperatures have risen 1.3 to 1.9 degrees since 1895, but mostly since 1970, and the last decade has been the hottest on record in the U.S. It’s awfully convenient to start with 1895, since that roughly marks the end of the centuries-long Little Ice Age. And temperatures have been measured by satellite only since 1978, which means by definition the data isn’t apples and apples.

Nevertheless, over the next 100 years, they say we can expect temperatures to rise another 3 to 5 degrees, even in what they call a “lower emissions scenario.” They have trouble with the weekend outlook, but we’re supposed to trust their 100-year forecast? And for a phenomenon known as global warming, it seems strange to suddenly focus on only the U.S. Globally, there has been no warming for 17 years. Which is probably why alarmists have largely abandoned the term “global warming,” and it’s why White House science adviser John Holdren now says we should use the more one-size-fits-all moniker “global climate disruption.”

In one unintentionally humorous section of the report, the authors say, “Recent projections show that for even the lowest emissions scenarios, thermal expansion of ocean waters and the melting of small mountain glaciers will result in 11 inches of sea level rise by 2100…. This suggests that about 1 foot of global sea level rise by 2100 is probably a realistic low end. On the high end, recent work suggests that 4 feet is plausible. In the context of risk-based analysis, some decision makers may wish to use a wider range of scenarios, from 8 inches to 6.6 feet by 2100.” Eight inches, six-and-a-half feet – choose your own adventure.

These scientists acknowledge what everyone on the planet already knows: “Climate has changed naturally throughout Earth’s history.” But they also seem to think that nature has now largely checked out of the process: “However, natural factors cannot explain the recent observed warming.”

The trouble is simple, argues commentator George Will: “Scientists are not saints in white laboratory smocks. They’ve got interests like everybody else. If you want a tenured position in academia, don’t question the reigning orthodoxy on climate change. If you want money from the biggest source of direct research in this country, the federal government, don’t question its orthodoxy. If you want to get along with your peers, conform to peer pressure. This is what’s happening.”

Indeed, if you’re inclined to bitterly cling to your Science™ denying ways, at least don’t bother opposing the White House agenda of massive regulation. Podesta says Republican efforts to stop EPA rules “have zero percent chance of working.”

On a final note, during Al Gore’s recent climate presentation to the UN, he used the sound effect of a nuclear blast to illustrate his point. Child psychologists warn that the changing climate is causing rising anxiety among children. But is that caused by the climate or the Gore-esque alarmism?

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