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Jeb Bladine: Hurricane Harvey draws climate talk

Much is happening behind the tragic human scenes caused by Hurricane Harvey, but it’s difficult to look elsewhere in the face of so much life-altering destruction.
“The immediate priorities, of course, are protection and rescue,” wrote David Leonhardt in The New York Times. “… Residents are checking up on neighbors and saving people they’d never met before. The stories are inspiring.”

Leonhardt’s attention, however, was focused well past Harvey:

The stories frequent, he wrote, “because they involve people coming together to protect one another. And how can people come together to protect one another from future storms and floods? The answer starts with getting real about climate change, which is the main reason storms are doing more damage than in the past.”

A regular commentator on climate change, Leonhardt quoted the federal National Climate Assessment report connecting torrential rainfalls to warmer seas and air: “The mechanism driving these changes,” the report says, “is hotter air stemming from ‘human-caused warming.’”

Whatchamacolumn

Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Leonhardt escalated his point: “Beyond Harvey, the potential damage from climate change is terrifying. Disease, famine and flooding of biblical proportions are within the realm of possibility. Unfortunately, stories of potential misery have not been enough to stir this country to action.”
That NYT commentary drew a quick rebuke from The Daily Caller, an influential conservative news outlet that does ideological battle with such liberal media as The Huffington Post.

Climate change denier Michael Bastasch responded to Leonhardt with a blog post by climate scientist Judith Curry: “Anyone blaming Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on.”

In 2015 testimony to Congress, Curry wrote: “Efforts to link dangerous impacts of extreme weather events to human-caused warming are misleading and unsupported by evidence … We should expand the frameworks for thinking about climate policy and provide a wider choice of options in addressing the risks from climate change … (such as) efforts to accelerate energy innovation, build resilience to extreme weather, and pursue no regrets pollution reduction.”

This week we saw human chains reaching into raging flood waters to save the lives of stranded neighbors; we watched hundreds of private and public watercraft on door-to-door rescue missions. Next comes the herculean tasks of restoration and remediation for tens of thousands of Americans with homes destroyed and finances in shambles.

Meanwhile, we have to wonder how many Harveys it may take before the climate science duel ends in agreement on the best ways to reduce global warming.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

Don Dix

As the 'global warmers' have explained many times when there is a strong cold weather event, 'weather is not climate'. Well gee, Harvey was a 'weather event'. It dumped so much rain because it was stalled over Texas by high pressure to the east and west of the low. It virtually had no place to go, hence slow-moving, heavy rain.

A hurricane cannot form without warm water, no matter any other factors. So the argument that 'hot air' causes the phenomenon is just that!

And when the models used to predict future climate and climate events are a complete failure, it appears the 'science isn't at all settled' (correct science is never settled). Oddly, throwing money at the problem always seems to be the best answer available Someone, please explain how that works!

Jeb Bladine

Setting aside all the science and theories, it seems the greatest difference between people on different sides of this issue is that climate-change believers sincerely hope they are wrong, while climate-change deniers passionately hope they are right.

Jeb Bladine

A March story in the Chicago Tribune was headlined, “Gulf of Mexico waters are freakishly warm, which could fuel strong spring storms.” Clearly, those warm waters have fueled strong late-summer storms, with Hurrican Irma now threatening to create the first time in 100-plus years that two Category 4 hurricanes hit our mainland.

Warm waters and other factors greatly increased Harvey’s rainfall. As Don said, off-setting high pressure systems held Harvey in slow-motion, adding to rainfall totals. Scientists generally stop short of blaming climate change for the strength of these hurricanes, but there are theories that climate warming is contributing to circumstances that combine to produce strong storms.

Don Dix

Jeb,

Two things:
1.Those who push the climate change agenda are operating on hypotheses, not theories.

2.While I don't believe CO2 (and especially human produced CO2) is responsible for warming (a hypothesis), it is a fact that the earth's climate is naturally in constant flux and always has been (a theory).

I have never 'denied' the climate changes (as most), but the hypothetical connections being strutted around as 'settled science' have proven nothing but to be unreliable predictions. And when the climate models have to be tweaked to fit 'observed conditions', the entire hypothesis (AGW) has major issues, IMO.

Horse with no name

Dix - What are your qualifications to speak on climate change and whether it is caused by human activity?

"97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position."
- https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

Go with the professionals and not the fringe flakes if you want to deal with reality and solve serious problems.

Don Dix

Study Horse, study. Study says the 97% claim is bogus. Study says CO2 is a fertilizer (vegetation) and not a pollutant. Study says CO2 is vital to all life on Earth (carbon based life-forms). Study says CO2 levels rise after temps (800 year lag - all studies). Study says the UN ideology is redistribution of wealth (Christine Figueres). Study says the Earth has warmed and cooled throughout it's billions of years. Study says Greenland was farmed (950-1300 A.D.). Study says CO2 is a trace gas (.04 of all greenhouse gasses) and water vapor overwhelms all other greenhouse gasses. Study says words such as 'likely', 'probably', 'could', etc. are uncertain terms and only raise the possibility of any event, but prove nothing.

Science, with the exception of some mathematical Physics, is never settled simply because it deals in probabilities, not certainties. Science has never been guided by 'consensus' or a vote, but by replicating (or not) the hypothesis or trial. The simple fact that 114 out of 117 climate predictions made (UN produced) have proven wrong, somewhere the science is flawed.

If one can explain how to overthrow Mother Nature and her chaotic climate design, as well as the facts exposing errors and fallacies of climate change conversation, by all means, explain away!

Horse with no name

Obviously you didn't study long and hard enough to become a climate scientist, so as Jimmy the Greek would say "go with the odds". I go with the odds and the odds are best if you heed the advice of a professional.
I got to admit you got a great line of beans going there, you should write a book.
Next time you want some work done, think about it, don't you want the most qualified person doing the job... yeah we all do. We want professionals doing the work and giving us advice, because that's our best chance of surviving.

Don Dix

Let's see, Horse -- James Snyder, really? From your comments, hiring a 'professional' is based on his saying he/she is the best (or correct) -- whereas it would be much wiser to see the evidence of that claim (previous work) -- got it!

Lulu

Don--why don't you explain your theory to the polar bears?

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