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Don't blame tornadoes on global warming

By: The Oklahoman
May 26, 2013 Updated: May 26, 2013 at 10:25 am
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photo - The rubble of a destroyed neighborhood is strewn about a neighborhood in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, May 21, 2013.   Many homes were stripped to their foundations Monday by a tornado which moved through  the area.  (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
The rubble of a destroyed neighborhood is strewn about a neighborhood in Moore, Okla., Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Many homes were stripped to their foundations Monday by a tornado which moved through the area. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) 

What is it about natural disasters and liberals who are determined to impose their vision of environmental purity on the rest of America? When people in the Northeast are freezing in uncommonly cold winters and conservatives cite the low temperatures as "proof" that global warming is not happening, liberals remind everybody that "the science is settled," so the deep cold must be disregarded.

But look what happened when a monstrous tornado struck Moore, Okla., killing 24 and leaving a path of utter destruction 20 miles long and two miles wide. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., stood on the Senate floor on Tuesday and lambasted Republican opposition to federal spending on programs to stop global warming: "When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn't just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we're in this together."

Burning fossil fuels, which are mostly produced in states like Texas and Oklahoma, causes global warming, which causes natural disasters like Oklahoma cyclones, Alabama hurricanes and floods and storms in Rhode Island. The only problem with this argument is that it is utter nonsense and an example of a Washington politician unconscionably taking advantage of the death and suffering in an Oklahoma City suburb to advance an ideological agenda.

Take those "cyclones" in Oklahoma: If global warming is worsening and thereby causing more severe weather, there should be a measurable, predictable increase in the incidence of such events. But Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., points out that "the 12-month period from May 2012 to April 2013 was remarkable for the absence of tornado activity and tornado impacts in the United States." Brooks offers data back to 1954 that demonstrates a remarkably consistent and stable pattern of tornadoes over the nearly six-decade period of available data. True, there was a record spike in 2010, but the previous record was set in 1973. In other words, the data demonstrate no link between increasing global warming and tornado incidence.

But global warming advocates like Whitehouse ignore such facts. A clue to their persistence in making such baseless claims may be found in the observations of Nobel Prize-winning economist and global warming advocate Thomas Schelling during a 2009 interview with The Atlantic. Lamenting the difficulty of persuading people to take seriously the threat from global warming (which he refers to as climate change), Schelling confessed that "it's a tough sell. And probably you have to find ways to exaggerate the threat . I sometimes wish that we could have, over the next five or 10 years, a lot of horrid things happening - you know, like tornadoes in the Midwest and so forth - that would get people very concerned about climate change."

Schelling doesn't say how many people need to be killed to make his specious point. - The Washington Examiner

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