The Delusional and Disastrous Triple Point of White House Climatology

There's a term in meteorology called the "triple point."  The official Glossary of Meteorology (American Meteorological Society, 2000) gives one pertinent definition of the triple point as a "junction point within the tropics of three distinct air masses, considered to be an ideal point of origin for a tropical cyclone."

Beyond the atmospheric science profession, politicspower, and profit come together at a triple point to form the perfect storm of destruction that has diverted billions of dollars from the fight against real, solid global issues such as terrorism and world poverty to ethereal issues such as human-induced climate change.

Today, perhaps the best place to see the non-meteorological triple point in action is at the White House.  Although, as expected, President Obama's monologues at last week's "Summit on Violent Extremism" were well-crafted and well-delivered, his national security strategy released earlier this month warns that climate change is the real global challenge.  The strategy states that climate change "is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water."  The strategy assumes dubious relationships between human activity and atmospheric vagary.

Yet, in the real world, use of synonyms for "savage" and "evil" from Roget's thesaurus have been practically exhausted in describing the atrocities perpetrated by the Islamic State.

Understandably, Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the mundane terrorist realities emerging in the here and now, not the presidential airy imaginings of the by and by.  And so, not surprisingly, in the public's mind, the present immolation of people takes precedence over the tenuous future warming (or is it now cooling?) of the planet.

Regardless, in his past January presidential address, Mr. Obama asserted that "American leadership drives international action" – saying this in relation to leadership on fighting climate change.   After all, the administration tops its foreign relations policy thrust with the need to lead the world to climate utopia, and this by going backward to the future with windmills and sunbeam collectors rather than forward with nuclear energy and fracked fuels.  At home, the administration seems more concerned with the climate-changing potential of the Keystone XL pipeline invading the country, rather than life-changing Islamic radicals.

Ostensibly, once climate change is wrestled away from human influence and handed back to Mother Nature for her control, then, as corporation chairman Arthur Jensen enlightened Howard Beale in the 1976 Academy Award-winning film Network, "our children … will live to see that perfect world in which there is no war and famine, oppression and brutality – one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused."

The fantasy world of the current administration seems well-matched to the musings of Hollywood.  But, as with Network's uncanny prediction of what television was to become, the script also seems to have summarized well the fanciful expectation of the White House, as long as the malleable masses go along with their bureaucratic betters.

But reality can produce a lot of unscripted spit-takes.

It turns out, as the real-world climate is demonstrating, that human changes to the global environment are, in the long run, over the long term, inconsequential.  Some changes are better, some worse, but overall the changes, especially to the long-range global climate, are turning out to be trivial.

More destructive to the environment and the people who inhabit it is the force of the arrogant triple point of politics, power, and profit.  This is especially true when this triple-point force naively believes that it can overpower the singular real-life force of nature, in both its capricious climatological and "intensely wicked" human forms.

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and author of In Global Warming We Trust: A Heretic's Guide to Climate Science (Telescope Books).