Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Non-Sequitur at the Heart of the Climate Catastrophist Case

A New Jersey Star-Ledger editorial following Hurricane Harvey, Harvey climate deniers take a page from Big Tobacco, epitomizes the mindlessness of the climate catastrophist movement case and its statist fix, and the utter lack of an ability to answer those who disagree with them.

First, notice the unscientific, quasi-religious tactic of blaming every (bad) weather event on climate change. Who can answer that? It’s like trying to debate someone whose “explanation” is that “God did it.” Faith is a rational discussion stopper. Once someone says “God did it” or “climate change caused it (or made it worse),” the debate is over—which probably suits the climate catastrophists just fine. Evidence is no longer needed.

Second, smears have become the equivalent of a rational argument, right up there with appeals to authority. “Climate Denier”: Who denies climate? No one. And then there is the comparison to “Big Tobacco,” which did deny and hide the evidence of their products’ harmful effects.

All these are tactics to sneak in a particular premise, which I highlighted in these comments on the Star-Ledger editorial:

There is a monumental non-sequitur embedded in this entire editorial argument: The Earth is warming and human activity is a contributing cause, so we must blindly adapt the Left’s draconian statist poverty-inducing energy and economic agenda.

But why? The Left’s agenda does not follow from the scientifically demonstrated (as opposed to speculated) dangers of global warming. Why? Because the monumental benefits that reliable affordable energy, particularly fossil fuels, have brought and will continue to be needed into the foreseeable future, is totally ignored—as is the devastating human toll that would happen if fossil fuels are forcibly taken away by government decree. Where in this editorial is this side of the argument even mentioned?

Harvey may be “precisely the kind of weather event that scientists have been predicting climate change would give us”—and precisely the kind of weather event that has always plagued mankind. Today, thanks to industrial progress, we can cope with the Harveys nature gives us with much less loss of life, and rebuild much quicker. How many rescues wouldn't have happened if not for fossil-fueled rescue vehicles.

You can recite all of the polls you want. But how many of the 68% would give up the reliable energy that makes their lives longer, more comfortable, safer, healthier, and more livable? How many would give up their air conditioning just so it can be 95º instead of 96º in a century? How many would give up their heat in winter, so some future Harvey may be marginally less severe—a margin measurable only through scientific instruments? What about the benefits of global warming, which is literally helping to feed the world?

The Al Gores of the world and their climate catastrophist sheep followers paint a one-sided picture of climate change, and call for the outlawing fossil fuels. They have no concern for human well-being. They are primitive “Mother Earth” worshippers indifferent to the immense human suffering they would cause if their policies were implemented as stated. People who oppose the Left’s agenda are not “climate deniers”—a childish smear tactic. Who even knows what that means? To equate we who are called “climate deniers” to tobacco is a vicious smear. Tobacco is a killer. Fossil fuels are life enhancers. We do not deny climate, or climate change. We deny the Left’s political agenda. Climate catastrophists are a threat to human life—more so than tobacco. We are human life champions.

Not everyone who believes climate change is a serious problem is an Al Gore sheep—just mislead. Considering the destructive ideas that are being pedalled by climate catastrophists, doesn’t it make sense that people get all sides of the argument surrounding climate change, including integrating climate science with other relevant disciplines, like energy science, political science, economics, the history and process of technological progress, and human nature, to reach a rational conclusion? Plenty of intelligent work has been done by very knowledgeable and objective people and think tanks to counter the perpetually wrong climate catastrophist view and its vicious “fix.” Two books are a good place to start; “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” by Alex Epstein and “The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the 21st Century” by Ronald Bailey. Neither are so-called “climate deniers.” Both rely on extensive empirical evidence and actual work of scientists, rather than appeals to authority (such as polls or “scientists say”). Unlike Al Gore disciples, both authors look at all sides and present balanced conclusions. Today it is the climate catastrophists who are emulating the tobacco companies’ deceit. Look past the smears and the hysteria of the climate catastrophists and get the big picture. Our lives and the lives of billions of people literally hangs in the balance.


The use of the non sequitur in the editorial even included a clip from Al Gore’s new “documentary,” An Inconvenient Sequel. In the clip, Gore argues that a combination of Sea Level rise and storm surge would flood lower Manhattan, and claimed that Superstorm Sandy proved him right. Well, there’s nothing new about fears of storm surge into New York City. New York sits in the crotch of a wedge-shaped coastal configuration that squeezes and magnifies storm surges. Because of that, New York City is considered especially vulnerable to flooding. Just the right combination of weather and atmospheric phenomenon has long been feared—and Superstorm Sandy was it. More than a decade before Gore’s first movie, An Inconvenient Truth, the 1993 book Great Storms of the Jersey Shore included the final chapter titled “The Storm that Eats the Jersey Shore.” It documents a hypothetical story of the worst-case scenario, a hurricane that moves up from the tropics and, instead of curving out to sea, curves into the New Jersey shore—just as Sandy did. So Gore simply adapted this well known and long feared event to his climate catastrophist scare-mongering. It’s an appeal to ignorance, not truth or understanding.

Related Reading:

The Heroes who Enabled Advance Warning of Sandy—my article for The Objective Standard

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