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Column: Are Global Warming Scare Tactics Reminiscent of a ‘Cult?’

"...implies that the earth will die if we don't stop climate change from killing trees..."

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Are man-made global warming supporters using cult-like doomsday messages to gain support for their theories? Ross Kaminsky, a Heartland Institute fellow, seems to think so.

In a post on The American Spectator, Kaminsky writes that many vocal global warming figureheads preach that disease and death will follow a warming planet, but notes that actual scientific studies are stating otherwise. Here are a couple of his examples:

This week's five-alarm fire (literally) comes from the NY Times which warns us that "Across millions of acres, the pines of the northern and central Rockies are dying, just one among many types of forests that are showing signs of distress these days." The article, which implies that the earth will die if we don't stop climate change from killing trees, is at least honest enough to use "if" six times, "might" three times, "may" seven times, and other qualifiers of their doomsday view such as "not sure," "possible," and "could."

While this particular Times story concerns North America, an actual study of African rainfall, done by scientists from NOAA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder (both hotbeds of climate change alarmism), concludes that changes in rainfall levels in both northern and southern Africa are due to changes in sea surface temperatures, and that those temperature changes are not human-caused. Furthermore, when the UN's IPCC tried to model the change in African rainfall based on human causes, they failed: "The ensemble of greenhouse-gas-forced experiments, conducted as part of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, fails to simulate the pattern or amplitude of the twentieth-century African drying, indicating that the drought conditions were likely of natural origin."

Or how about the association between global warming and a rise in malaria:

[...] a 2010 study led by scientists from the University of Florida concluded that "widespread claims that rising mean temperatures have already led to increases in worldwide malaria morbidity and mortality are largely at odds with observed decreasing global trends in both its endemicity and geographic extent." Furthermore, they said that any increase in malaria cases from warming would likely be two orders of magnitude smaller than the reduction in cases due to "control measures" taken by humans, such as bed nets and anti-malarial drugs. (Two orders of magnitude means 100x, so 10 is two orders of magnitude smaller than 1000.)

[...]

The key point is not that malaria cases won't increase, but that they won't increase because humans are smart and adaptable.

Raminsky includes the long-term study by the Reason Foundation, which reviewed the trends in global mortality associated with extreme weather over a 111-year period (1900 to 2010), as further evidence that global warming is not increasing death rates. The study found that "aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90 percent since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population and much more complete reporting of such events."

Decreased mortality rates in the three following areas of extreme weather events, which are pillar examples for conditions in a changing climate, are what contributed most to this overall decrease:

  • Deaths and death rates from droughts, which were responsible for approximately 60 percent of cumulative deaths due to extreme weather events from 1900–2010, are more than 99.9 percent lower than in the 1920s.
  • Deaths and death rates for floods, responsible for over 30 percent of cumulative extreme weather deaths, have declined by over 98 percent since the 1930s.
  • Deaths and death rates for storms (i.e. hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, typhoons), responsible for around 7 percent of extreme weather deaths from 1900–2008, declined by more than 55 percent since the 1970s.

Kaminsky notes that people aren't just skeptical of man-made global warming, but the solutions being proposed to help its victims. He includes Denmark professor of environmental economics Bjorn Lomborg as stating business-crushing regulatory policies is not the way to go, compared to simpler solutions like making clean water accessible in the third world.

Scientists and government officials are also challenging some of the "mad scientist" ideas that are being proposed to prevent global warming, like geoengineering experiment in the United Kingdom that will use a giant balloon and 12-miles of garden hose to send particles in the stratosphere to block some of the sun's warming rays.

A scaled-down version of this geoengineering experiment set to take place this month was postponed because officials need to discuss the potentially harmful impacts such a method would have, according to BBC.

One last thing…
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