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Commentary: No, Donald Trump didn’t cause or worsen Hurricane Florence — here’s the proof

President Donald Trump speaks to officials at the Horry County Emergency Operations Center in Conway, South Carolina, during a tour of areas devastated by Hurricane Florence. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Accompanying every hurricane are numerous stories in mainstream media outlets suggesting disaster could have been averted had American elected officials done more to stop global warming, which left-wing pundits continue to insist is almost entirely being caused by humans’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Hurricane Florence is no exception.

In article after article, pundits have claimed Republicans, especially President Donald Trump, are in some way responsible for Hurricane Florence. The Washington Post’s editorial board — in an article titled “Yes, you can blame President Trump for Hurricane Florence” — even went so far as to say Trump was “complicit” for the storm.

This is total nonsense. Not only are there countless good reasons to question the extent to which humans are contributing to global warming, there’s no evidence indicating hurricanes have become significantly worse as a result of global warming.

As Roy Spencer, Ph.D., an acclaimed climate scientist who previously worked for NASA, recently stated, “The fact that there has been no long-term change in global hurricane activity, and even a 50 percent decrease in U.S. landfalling major hurricanes over the last 80 years, means no one is ‘complicit’ in these storms.”

James Agresti, the president of the Just Facts think tank, rightly notes data appearing in the academic journal Geophysical Research Letters show “the global number and intensity of cyclones, hurricanes, and major hurricanes have been roughly level for the past four-to-five decades.”

Some have said Florence was made worse because of warmer ocean waters caused by climate change, but that’s also false. Writing for Climate Change Dispatch, Michael Bastasch explains, “An analysis of Florence’s path by Cato Institute meteorologist Ryan Maue showed ocean temperatures were ‘abnormally cool’ for most of the storm’s trek through the Atlantic Ocean.”

Even the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one of the most notorious defenders of the theory humans are headed for a climate catastrophe, admitted in 2012 there “is low confidence in long-term changes in tropical cyclone activity, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities. However, over the satellite era, increases in the frequency and intensity of the strongest storms in the North Atlantic are robust. However, the cause of this increase is debated and there is low confidence in attribution of changes in tropical cyclone activity to human influence.”

And if all that weren’t enough, it’s absolutely absurd to say Trump is any way responsible for global warming because even if it is true humans are the primary cause of warming, carbon dioxide emissions actually dropped in Trump’s first two years in office. In 2017, the United States emitted 41.8 million fewer tons of CO2 than in 2016, the largest reduction in the world. And from 2006 to 2016, the United States has averaged an annual reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions of 1.2 percent, according to an analysis by BP.

The reason the Washington Post and others are consistently alleging, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Republicans are somehow to blame for natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence is either because they know absolutely nothing about the topic or because they believe it will help Democrats win elections. Either way, you should stick to what the best-available science says, not the fear-mongering of anti-conservative zealots.

Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is executive editor of The Heartland Institute and the co-founder of StoppingSocialism.com.

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