Climatism: That Climate Change Chameleon

Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is a remarkably flexible ideology. Calling it "global warming" for many years, advocates then renamed the crisis "climate change" after the unexpected cooling of global surface temperatures from 2002-2009. Last month, John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, urged everyone to start using the term "global climate disruption." What's next -- "catastrophic climate calamity"?

Cape Dwarf Chameleon -- Photo by Sharp

Decreasing snowfall was once claimed as an indication of man-made climate change. After years of declining snowfall in England, Dr. David Viner, senior scientist at the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia, predicted that winter snowfall would become "a very rare and exciting event." Others predicted that snow cover in the United Kingdom would disappear by 2020. But last winter, at the same time that much of the eastern U.S. received record snowfalls, the U.K. was entirely blanketed by snow, as shown in the following NASA satellite photograph -- a rare occurrence.

The heavy snow in England was very embarrassing for the U.K. Meteorological Office, which had predicted a mild winter.

So what have the alarmists done? Attend almost any lecture today by an advocate of man-made global warming and you'll find that "heavy snowfall" is now included on the list of impacts from climate change. Now both heavy snow and lack of snow are evidence of man-made warming.

To anyone who studies geologic history, the 1.3oF rise in global surface temperatures over the last century is unremarkable. Yet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations calls this rise "unprecedented" and labels it evidence of man-made climate change. This recent temperature rise is well within the +/-2.5oF range of Earth's average surface temperature over the last ten thousand years. It's a remarkably small change, given the titanic forces exerted on our world by the sun, the planets, and Earth's own terrestrial forces of weather and ocean cycles. Even though the average surface temperature of Earth has stayed in a narrow range, local temperatures vary widely. In Chicago, for example, the average annual range is from about -5oF to +95oF. Such wide local variation means that a "hundred-year weather event" is occurring somewhere on our planet at any given time.

Climatism uses these local weather variations, and increasingly the term "climate volatility," to raise alarm. A recent example is the August report from the World Bank warning that "climate volatility" is expected to "worsen poverty vulnerability in developing countries." This year, we've had drought in Russia and record floods in Pakistan. Both occurrences were seized upon by climate alarmists as evidence of increasing man-made climate volatility. Record cold temperatures in July in Bolivia, which killed millions of fish in South American rivers, were ignored. Natural local weather events, selectively amplified, provide an endless source of fodder for promoting the coercive governmental policies of Climatism.

Yet, scientific evidence shows that weather would be less extreme in a warmer world. Peer-reviewed studies on droughts, floods, hurricanes and storms show that 20th Century occurrences have been of equal or lesser severity than similar events in past centuries, when Earth's climate was in the cooler period of the Little Ice Age. The bulk of science shows that today's climate is not more volatile as alarmists claim.

The latest initiative from the climate change chameleon is to frame global warming as detrimental to the health of U.S. citizens. On September 28, a joint letter from 120 of America's health organizations was delivered to President Obama, supporting efforts by the Environmental Regulatory Agency to regulate greenhouse gases. The letter claims that man-made global warming is now a U.S. public health issue especially for "older adults." Yet senior citizens continue to retire to Florida, Texas, and Arizona rather than North Dakota and Minnesota. Don't they know that warmer temperatures are a serious health risk?

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century's Hottest Topic.
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