Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
Latest posts by Jim Lakely (see all)
To the professional left, a tragedy — no matter how big or small — is a terrible thing to waste for political purposes. Just a few months ago the left exploited the Tucson Massacre in a shameless attempt to smear the Tea Party movement.
One would think that the left learned its lesson after getting burned by the facts of that incident — the shooter was certifiably insane, and if he had any political inklings that could be determined at all, he was a commie/anarchist. Wrong.
Think Progress put out a press release the other day blaming the tornados that took nearly 300 lives and devastated vast swaths of the South on the Republican Congressional delegation that represents the area. The headline on the disgusting release: “Catastrophic Climate: Storms Kill 292 In States Represented By Climate Pollution Deniers.”
The Congressional delegations of these states overwhelmingly voted (HR 910 and McConnell Amendment 183) to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous.
That statement is not only morally reprehensible — so those people had it coming thanks to the way they vote? — it’s (typically) wrong on the facts.
The votes upon which Think Progress blithely splashes the blood of the dead were to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from carbon dioxide as a “pollutant.” As much as Think Progress would like to think so, what we exhale is not a “pollutant.” And “global warming” had absolutely nothing to do with the once-every-40-years storms that struck the South last week. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s a scientific assessment:
US meteorologists warned Thursday it would be a mistake to blame climate change for a seeming increase in tornadoes in the wake of deadly storms that have ripped through the US south.
“If you look at the past 60 years of data, the number of tornadoes is increasing significantly, but it’s agreed upon by the tornado community that it’s not a real increase,” said Grady Dixon, assistant professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University.
“It’s having to do with better (weather tracking) technology, more population, the fact that the population is better educated and more aware. So we’re seeing them more often,” Dixon said.
But he said it would be “a terrible mistake” to relate the up-tick to climate change. …
Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), also dismissed Thursday climate change as a factor in the deadly tornadoes: “Actually what we’re seeing is springtime,” he said. …
However, the stronger-than-usual tornadoes affecting the southern states were actually predicted from examining the planet’s climatological patterns, specifically those related to the La Nina phenomenon.
“We knew it was going to be a big tornado year,” he said. But the key to that tip-off was unrelated to climate change: “It is related to the natural fluctuations of the planet.”
The emphasis in bold above is mine, and key. No word, yet, on Think Progress — which has recently collected a lot of money for a project designed to drive MSM coverage of politics and policy — issuing a correction, or an apology.
If you are interested in the number of F3-F5 tornadoes that have hit the United States from 1950 through 2007, you can look at the chart below.
Jim Rust continues:
This information is from NOAA and apparently they have not updated the table through 2010. It may be of no comfort, but the frequency trend is toward a decline since 1974. The peak year was 1974 when there were 118 violent tornadoes. This was the year when a tornado hit Atlanta, Georgia and took off the roof of the new Governor’s mansion. Only one person was killed by that tornado; but I well remember being awakened by it at 7:30 in the morning. Sounded like an old-fashioned steam locomotive.
There will be people who will say the tornados from this year are due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. (Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News tried to make that connection Thursday night, April 28.) I will say this is a false premise. For one, tornadoes are pretty much a phenomena in the United States; so it would be stretching things to say this is a global problem.
Number two, the heavy use of fossil fuels has been after 1974, the peak violent tornado year, when the trend has been toward fewer tornadoes. Fossil fuel use world-wide has increased every year since then. While fossil fuel use has been falling in the European Union and the United States since 2007 due to recessions, China and India have more than made up for the declines. Naturally, we don’t have the years 2008-2011 on this table; but a few years activity do not constitute climate change.
Someone alert Think Progress — which until it apologizes is a thoroughly discredited and reprehensible organization. And even that might not be enough to redeem it.
(HT: Power Line blog)