For decades, climate activists have been making dire predictions about the future of our planet. While many of the dates of their predictions have passed with nothing close to the dramatic consequences taking place, activists continue to make such predictions.
President-elect Joe Biden recently joined the ranks of dire predictors in a Twitter video. While Michael Shellenberger did an excellent broader fact-check of the claims in the video, I will focus on just one.
False. Completely make believe.
This statement is wildly untrue. Many warn of terrible weather and natural disasters or irreparable damage to our climate, but even the most avid climate activist doesn’t argue (at least with any evidence) that climate change threatens the existence of our planet.
While climate change science is not “settled,” the majority of scientists agree that the climate is warming and that humans are contributing to this trend to some degree. For example: Since 1850, global temperature has increased around 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). At the same time, however, the earth has gone through long periods of warming and cooling for millenia, and it can be difficult to determine to what extent the changes are due to natural climate variables.
Many point to more frequent or intense weather events as “proof” that the climate is changing. The 2020 hurricane season, for example, brought record numbers of named storms into the Gulf of Mexico. But at the same time, there were remarkably few hurricanes that hit the eastern coast of the United States during the same period. Claims regarding weather events are based on cherry-picked information that focuses on out-of-context costs or manipulated timeframes. In reality: According to the 2014 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there has been no increase in hurricanes, floods, droughts or tornadoes within the past 30 years. In the United States, there has been no increase in the average frequency or severity of hurricanes for more than a century.
And at the same time, the United States has been working to significantly reduce fatalities due to weather events. In 1900, despite having a far smaller population than now, the Great Galveston Hurricane claimed over 8,000 lives in Texas compared to Hurricane Harvey, a similar hurricane in terms of size, intensity and geographic landfall, which claimed 88 lives in 2017.
We all want a healthy planet for years to come. But climate fear mongering, particularly from our President-elect, is unproductive and dangerous. Americans have risen to many challenges throughout the years and climate change is no different. We are creative and innovative people who can find the best solutions to cleaner energy. While this is unlikely to happen with the increasing pressure from Democrats and climate activists, Biden should recognize that and support the innovation of the American people and trust that we can find reliable and realistic solutions to the challenges our country and world face.