Tornado Alley Jogs South and East

Even as the left has failed to gain control of the energy industry via legislation, it has labored to cement the link between fossil fuels and climate change.  Leftists argue that climate change is a life-threatening problem demanding a government "fix," a fix that would place the energy industry under federal control.

Actually, there's no compelling evidence that fossil fuels play a significant role in climate change.  Altogether, the evidence points to a slight rise in global temperatures over the past century, with no significant rise over the past fifteen years – all of this compatible with natural, non-anthropogenic forces.  Even if we admit some human influence on climate change, the greatest contributor is not fossil fuels, but agriculture.  Farm animals emit more CO2 and vastly more methane than fossil fuels.

Such distinctions don't matter to the left.  What matters is power, and power over the oil and gas industry is a long-term goal.

It should be obvious to everyone except a liberal that the Earth's climate varies all the time of its own accord.  Current changes are no greater than those of the past despite increased global industrialization.  The Dust Bowl was a disaster because bad farming practices in the Plains coincided with a particularly hot decade, the 1930s – as hot as any subsequent decade.  Likewise, tornadoes have always been common on the Plains.

But now climate scientists have discovered that tornadoes are common in the Southeast as well – something anyone living in Mississippi or Arkansas could have told them with no federal grants to fund their "research."  Data indicate that Tornado Alley is shifting from the Plains to the south and east – into the more densely populated and poorer regions, where it will do more damage.  In these regions, the researchers point out, the housing stock is often what scientists politely call "lightly framed" (AKA trailers), offering less protection than a heavily framed or concrete block home.

As the experts admit, the data supporting that conclusion go back only 40 years.  That's hardly long enough to reach conclusions about long-term shifts in the weather, and it offers little support to the hypothesis that the shift will persist or that it has resulted from man-made global warming.

In fact, the data point to the opposite conclusion: that the shift has resulted from global cooling.

It may be true that Tornado Alley is jogging south and east, but the connection with man-made climate change is sketchy at best.  The federally funded scientists need to ask whether this is the first time that tornadic activity has shifted its location.  If it could be shown that Tornado Alley had shifted location in the past, long before human beings (and their livestock and pets, and their own increasing numbers) raised CO2 levels on the planet, then the anthropogenic climate change argument would be demolished.

Well, there is proof.

The deadliest tornadoes in the USA were, in order, the Tri-State tornado of March 1925; the Natchez, Mississippi tornado of May 1840; the St. Louis and East St. Louis tornadoes of May 1896; the Tupelo, Mississippi tornado of April 1936; and the Gainesville, Georgia tornado of April 1936.

What stands out is that all of these tornadoes occurred in the Southeast.  It may be that "tornado alley" once stretched south and east of where it has over the past half-century, but then 40 years of data would not detect that.  Such a possibility creates a problem for the theory of global warming.  It means that even in relatively recent human history, the Earth's climate has fluctuated independent of human activity and that it has now cooled enough to shift Tornado Alley back toward the southeast.  In fact, it is getting colder on the Plains.  As Kory Hartman, a famed storm-chaser, puts it, "it seems to stay colder and drier in the spring, so you don't see as many early season outbreaks in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas."

So, according to climate scientists, the current shift in tornadic activity is taking place because of global warming, except that it is caused by cooling, not warming.  If we could increase temperatures on the Plains, that would shift Tornado Alley back to the north and west and expose fewer people to harm.  So, according to the scientists, both global warming and global cooling are catastrophic, and since the Earth is always warming or cooling, it is always catastrophe demanding government action.  This makes about as much sense as the Mad Hatter.  

Actually, it makes sense to progressives because it's something they've come up with to gain control of the fossil fuel industry.  It's another giant step toward socialism.  The scientists are, I believe, often well meaning individuals who are genuinely concerned about the future of the planet.  That doesn't prevent some of them from fudging the data and others from overlooking the dishonesty of their peers.  But the real villains are the Deep State actors who are using these pawns with the intention of setting up a communist dictatorship and destroying our democracy.

Were leftists to speak honestly, they would admit that the climate has always changed, often to a far greater extent than today.  If we wish to address the naturally fluctuating climate, we should do so by allowing individuals to prepare for it by becoming more financially secure.  The best way to do so would be by lowering taxes and regulation (including less regulation of the energy industry), and by vastly decreasing government spending.

Then individuals in the Southeast, and elsewhere, could keep what they've earned, and they would build storm-resistant homes, schools, and commercial buildings, and less damage would result.  Then those who are more vulnerable – the poor living in the new Tornado Alley – would suffer less, but no one on the left seems to care about Southerners living in trailers.  They're too busy mocking them for their guns, pickup trucks, and belief in God.

Most Americans who are poor would love to upgrade their housing, but government spending won't allow them to do so.  If it's true that Tornado Alley has shifted to a poorer and more populous zone, and that more deaths will result, it's not because of fossil fuels – it's because liberals are obsessed with power to the point of sacrificing the lives of the poor to satisfy their own ambitions.  That's the way it's always been, from the early days of the Progressive Movement, when FDR's regulation of agriculture resulted in fewer sharecropping jobs and great misery to the poor – to today, when the left's plans for the oil industry would result in the elimination of 10.3 million high-paying jobs (2015 numbers).

Tornadoes are frightening and potentially deadly – anyone who grew up in Tornado Alley, as I did, knows that.  But what's deadlier is the callous ambition of politicians like Schumer and Pelosi.  Fossil fuels create wealth, which helps the poor build better homes.  Left-wing politicians create poverty, which further exposes the poor to storm damage.  It's the left that makes tornadoes truly deadly by keeping the poor unprotected.  Give them a chance, and they'll build stronger homes and survive when the storms do hit.

Jeffrey Folks taught at universities in the U.S., Europe, and Japan for over three decades.  He has published twelve books and over 300 articles and reviews.

Even as the left has failed to gain control of the energy industry via legislation, it has labored to cement the link between fossil fuels and climate change.  Leftists argue that climate change is a life-threatening problem demanding a government "fix," a fix that would place the energy industry under federal control.

Actually, there's no compelling evidence that fossil fuels play a significant role in climate change.  Altogether, the evidence points to a slight rise in global temperatures over the past century, with no significant rise over the past fifteen years – all of this compatible with natural, non-anthropogenic forces.  Even if we admit some human influence on climate change, the greatest contributor is not fossil fuels, but agriculture.  Farm animals emit more CO2 and vastly more methane than fossil fuels.

Such distinctions don't matter to the left.  What matters is power, and power over the oil and gas industry is a long-term goal.

It should be obvious to everyone except a liberal that the Earth's climate varies all the time of its own accord.  Current changes are no greater than those of the past despite increased global industrialization.  The Dust Bowl was a disaster because bad farming practices in the Plains coincided with a particularly hot decade, the 1930s – as hot as any subsequent decade.  Likewise, tornadoes have always been common on the Plains.

But now climate scientists have discovered that tornadoes are common in the Southeast as well – something anyone living in Mississippi or Arkansas could have told them with no federal grants to fund their "research."  Data indicate that Tornado Alley is shifting from the Plains to the south and east – into the more densely populated and poorer regions, where it will do more damage.  In these regions, the researchers point out, the housing stock is often what scientists politely call "lightly framed" (AKA trailers), offering less protection than a heavily framed or concrete block home.

As the experts admit, the data supporting that conclusion go back only 40 years.  That's hardly long enough to reach conclusions about long-term shifts in the weather, and it offers little support to the hypothesis that the shift will persist or that it has resulted from man-made global warming.

In fact, the data point to the opposite conclusion: that the shift has resulted from global cooling.

It may be true that Tornado Alley is jogging south and east, but the connection with man-made climate change is sketchy at best.  The federally funded scientists need to ask whether this is the first time that tornadic activity has shifted its location.  If it could be shown that Tornado Alley had shifted location in the past, long before human beings (and their livestock and pets, and their own increasing numbers) raised CO2 levels on the planet, then the anthropogenic climate change argument would be demolished.

Well, there is proof.

The deadliest tornadoes in the USA were, in order, the Tri-State tornado of March 1925; the Natchez, Mississippi tornado of May 1840; the St. Louis and East St. Louis tornadoes of May 1896; the Tupelo, Mississippi tornado of April 1936; and the Gainesville, Georgia tornado of April 1936.

What stands out is that all of these tornadoes occurred in the Southeast.  It may be that "tornado alley" once stretched south and east of where it has over the past half-century, but then 40 years of data would not detect that.  Such a possibility creates a problem for the theory of global warming.  It means that even in relatively recent human history, the Earth's climate has fluctuated independent of human activity and that it has now cooled enough to shift Tornado Alley back toward the southeast.  In fact, it is getting colder on the Plains.  As Kory Hartman, a famed storm-chaser, puts it, "it seems to stay colder and drier in the spring, so you don't see as many early season outbreaks in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas."

So, according to climate scientists, the current shift in tornadic activity is taking place because of global warming, except that it is caused by cooling, not warming.  If we could increase temperatures on the Plains, that would shift Tornado Alley back to the north and west and expose fewer people to harm.  So, according to the scientists, both global warming and global cooling are catastrophic, and since the Earth is always warming or cooling, it is always catastrophe demanding government action.  This makes about as much sense as the Mad Hatter.  

Actually, it makes sense to progressives because it's something they've come up with to gain control of the fossil fuel industry.  It's another giant step toward socialism.  The scientists are, I believe, often well meaning individuals who are genuinely concerned about the future of the planet.  That doesn't prevent some of them from fudging the data and others from overlooking the dishonesty of their peers.  But the real villains are the Deep State actors who are using these pawns with the intention of setting up a communist dictatorship and destroying our democracy.

Were leftists to speak honestly, they would admit that the climate has always changed, often to a far greater extent than today.  If we wish to address the naturally fluctuating climate, we should do so by allowing individuals to prepare for it by becoming more financially secure.  The best way to do so would be by lowering taxes and regulation (including less regulation of the energy industry), and by vastly decreasing government spending.

Then individuals in the Southeast, and elsewhere, could keep what they've earned, and they would build storm-resistant homes, schools, and commercial buildings, and less damage would result.  Then those who are more vulnerable – the poor living in the new Tornado Alley – would suffer less, but no one on the left seems to care about Southerners living in trailers.  They're too busy mocking them for their guns, pickup trucks, and belief in God.

Most Americans who are poor would love to upgrade their housing, but government spending won't allow them to do so.  If it's true that Tornado Alley has shifted to a poorer and more populous zone, and that more deaths will result, it's not because of fossil fuels – it's because liberals are obsessed with power to the point of sacrificing the lives of the poor to satisfy their own ambitions.  That's the way it's always been, from the early days of the Progressive Movement, when FDR's regulation of agriculture resulted in fewer sharecropping jobs and great misery to the poor – to today, when the left's plans for the oil industry would result in the elimination of 10.3 million high-paying jobs (2015 numbers).

Tornadoes are frightening and potentially deadly – anyone who grew up in Tornado Alley, as I did, knows that.  But what's deadlier is the callous ambition of politicians like Schumer and Pelosi.  Fossil fuels create wealth, which helps the poor build better homes.  Left-wing politicians create poverty, which further exposes the poor to storm damage.  It's the left that makes tornadoes truly deadly by keeping the poor unprotected.  Give them a chance, and they'll build stronger homes and survive when the storms do hit.

Jeffrey Folks taught at universities in the U.S., Europe, and Japan for over three decades.  He has published twelve books and over 300 articles and reviews.