Victor Davis Hanson: Democrats have turned California into a problem-plagued burning nightmare

More than 2 million Californians were recently left without power after the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric — which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year — preemptively shut down transmission lines in fear that they might spark fires during periods of high autumn winds.

Consumers blame the state for not cleaning up dead trees and brush, along with the utility companies for not updating their ossified equipment. The power companies in turn fault the state for so over-regulating utilities that they had no resources to modernize their grids.

Californians know that having tens of thousands of homeless in their major cities is untenable. In some places, municipal sidewalks have become open sewers of garbage, used needles, rodents and infectious diseases. Yet no one dares question progressive orthodoxy by enforcing drug and vagrancy laws, moving the homeless out of cities to suburban or rural facilities, or increasing the number of mental hospitals.

Taxpayers in California, whose basket of sales, gasoline and income taxes is the highest in the nation, quietly seethe while immobile on antiquated freeways that are crowded, dangerous and under nonstop makeshift repair.

Gas prices of $4 to $5 a gallon — the result of high taxes, hyper-regulation and green mandates — add insult to the injury of stalled commuters. Gas tax increases ostensibly intended to fund freeway expansion and repair continue to be diverted to the state’s failing high-speed rail project.

Residents shrug that the state’s public schools are among weakest in the nation, often ranking in the bottom quadrant in standardized test scores. Elites publicly oppose charter schools but often put their own kids in private academies.

Californians know that to venture into a typical municipal emergency room is to descend into a modern Dante’s Inferno. Medical facilities are overcrowded. They can be as unpleasant as they are bankrupting to the vanishing middle class that must face exorbitant charges to bring in an injured or sick child.

No one would dare to connect the crumbling infrastructure, poor schools and failing public health care with the non-enforcement of immigration laws, which has led to a massive influx of undocumented immigrants from the poorest regions of the world, who often arrive without fluency in English or a high-school education.

Stores are occasionally hit by swarming looters. Such Wild West criminals know how to keep their thefts under $950, ensuring that such “misdemeanors” do not warrant police attention. California’s permissive laws have decriminalized thefts and break-ins. The result is that San Francisco now has the highest property crime rate per capita in the nation.

Has California become premodern?

Millions of fed-up middle-class taxpayers have fled the state. Their presence as a stabilizing influence is sorely missed. About one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients live in California. Millions of poor newcomers require enormously expensive state health, housing, education, legal and law-enforcement services.

California is now a one-party state. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature. Only seven of the state’s 53 congressional seats are held by Republicans. The result is that there is no credible check on a mostly coastal majority.

Huge global wealth in high-tech, finance, trade and academia poured into the coastal corridor, creating a new nobility with unprecedented riches. Unfortunately, the new aristocracy adopted mindsets antithetical to the general welfare of Californians living outside their coastal enclaves. The nobodies have struggled to buy high-priced gas, pay exorbitant power bills and deal with shoddy infrastructure — all of which resulted from the policies of the distant somebodies.

California’s three most powerful politicians — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Gov. Gavin Newsom — are all multimillionaires. Their lives, homes and privileges bear no resemblance to those of other Californians living with the consequences of their misguided policies and agendas.

The state’s elite took revolving-door entries and exits for granted. They assumed that California was so naturally rich, beautiful and well-endowed that there would always be thousands of newcomers who would queue up for the weather, the shore, the mountains and the hip culture.

Yet California is nearing the logical limits of progressive adventurism in policy and politics.

Residents carefully plan long highway trips as if they were ancient explorers charting dangerous routes. Tourists warily enter downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco as if visiting a politically unstable nation.

Insatiable state tax collectors and agencies are viewed by the public as if they were corrupt officials of Third World countries seeking bribes. Californians flip their switches unsure of whether the lights will go on. Many are careful about what they say, terrified of progressive thought police who seem more worried about critics than criminals.

Our resolute ancestors took a century to turn a wilderness into California. Our irresolute generation in just a decade or two has been turning California into a wilderness.

America Being Misled by Cook, Oreskes, Lewandowsky and Maibach

Guest “liar, liar, pants on fire” by David Middleton on Watts Up With That

Hat tip to Dr. Willie Soon…

America Misled: How the fossil fuel industry deliberately misled Americans about climate change

Over the past few decades, the fossil fuel industry has subjected the American public to a well-funded, well-orchestrated disinformation campaign about the reality and severity of human-caused climate change. The purpose of this web of denial has been to confuse the public and decision-makers in order to delay climate action and thereby protect fossil fuel business interests and defend libertarian, free-market conservative ideologies. The fossil fuel industry’s denial and delay tactics come straight out of Big Tobacco’s playbook. As a result, the American public have been denied the right to be accurately informed about climate change, just as they were denied the right to be informed about the risks of smoking by the tobacco industry. While fossil fuel companies attacked the science and called on politicians to “reset the alarm,” climate-catalyzed damages worsened, including increased storm intensities, droughts, forest damage and wildfires, all at substantial loss of life and cost to the American people.

This report explores the techniques used to mislead the American public about climate change, and outlines ways of inoculating against disinformation.

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

The authors of this malicious and defamatory pack of lies are:

  • John Cook, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University
  • Geoffrey Supran, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University
  • Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, and CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  • Naomi Oreskes, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University
  • Edward Maibach, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University

This reads like a particularly idiotic Skeptical Science blog post.

The 97% Consensus Lie

Figure 1. The 97% lie.

Cook 2014 and its cooked consensus

Cook 2014 was nothing but the second hand opinions of Skeptical Science bloggers. Most of the surveys listed in figure 1 are similar second hand opinion exercises. These sorts of papers consist of abstract reviews. The authors’ then tabulate their opinions regarding whether or not the abstracts support the AGW paradigm. As Legates et al., 2013 pointed out, Cook defined the consensus as “most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.” Cook then relied on three different levels of “endorsement” of that consensus and excluded 67% of the abstracts reviewed because they neither endorsed nor rejected the consensus.

Figure 2. Cook’s cooked consensus (click to enlarge).

The largest endorsement group was categorized as “implicitly endorses AGW without minimizing it.” They provided this example of an implied endorsement:

‘…carbon sequestration in soil is important for mitigating global climate change’

Carbon sequestration in soil, lime muds, trees, seawater, marine calcifiers and a whole lot of other things have always been important for mitigating a wide range of natural processes. I have no doubt that I have implicitly routinely “endorsed” the so-called consensus based on this example.

The second largest endorsement group was categorized as “implicitly endorses but does not quantify or minimize.” Pardon my obtuseness, but how in the heck can one explicitly endorse the notion that “most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic” without quantification? This is the example Cook provided:

‘Emissions of a broad range of greenhouse gases of varying lifetimes contribute to global climate change’

By this subjective standard, I have probably explicitly endorsed AGW a few times in WUWT posts.

Doran 2009 was a 97% consensus among 79 respondents

Doran and Kendall Zimmerman, 2009 was a survey of Earth Scientists listed in the American Geosciences Institute directory. The AGI includes AGU, AAPG and numerous other Earth Science societies. . This survey sample was limited to academic and government Earth Scientists. It excluded all Earth Scientists working in private sector businesses. The two key questions were:

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

I am a member of two AGI affiliated societies, AAPG and SEG, but not in the directories of academic institutions or government agencies. So, there was as zero-point-zero percent chance of me and about 50,000 other geoscientists being surveyed.

Had I been surveyed, I would have answered risen to #1 and my answer to #2 would have depended on the meaning of “human activity is a significant contributing factor.” If I realized it was a “push poll,” I would have answered “no.”

Interestingly, government and academic economic geologists and meteorologists were the most likely to answer “no” to question #2…

The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36).

The authors derisively dismissed the opinions of geologists and meteorologists…

It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.

No discipline has a better understanding of the “nuances” than meteorologists and no discipline has a better understanding of the “scientific basis of long-term climate processes” than geologists.

The authors close with a “no schist, Sherlock” bar chart:

If a survey was conducted of active publishers of abiotic oil papers, it would probably also yield a consensus. The same could be said of UFO researchers. Doran 2009 was an example of expertise cherry-picking and a total non sequitur… The conclusion doesn’t follow from the survey questions.

Stenhouse 2014 was a 52% “consensus”

The 97% claim from Stenhouse et al., 2014 was also contrived via expertise cherry-picking. These were the actual survey results:

Figure 3. 89% × 59% = 52%… A far cry from the oft claimed 97% consensus. (click to enlarge)
Figure 4. The 52% consensus. (click to enlarge)

When self-described “climate scientists” and meteorologists/atmospheric scientists are segregated the results become even more interesting…

Figure 5. Expertise cherry-picking. (click to enlarge)

Only 45% of meteorologists and atmospheric scientists endorse the so-called consensus.  Even self-described climate scientists only reach 78%.

The 52% overall “consensus” among the membership of the American Meteorological Society was explained away as being due to “perceived scientific consensus,” “political ideology,” and a lack of “expertise” among non-publishing meteorologists and atmospheric scientists…

While we found that higher expertise was associated with a greater likelihood of viewing global warming as real and harmful, this relationship was less strong than for political ideology and perceived consensus. At least for the measure of expertise that we used, climate science expertise may be a less important influence on global warming views than political ideology or social consensus norms. More than any other result of the study, this would be strong evidence against the idea that expert scientists’ views on politically controversial topics can be completely objective.

Finally, we found that perceiving conflict at AMS was associated with lower certainty of global warming views, lower likelihood of viewing global warming as human caused, and lower ratings of predicted harm caused by global warming.

So… Clearly, 97% of AMS membership would endorse the so-called consensus if they were more liberal, more accepting of unanimity and published more papers defending failed climate models.  No schist, Sherlock!

On top of all that, Stenhouse didn’t even ask the right questions. The so-called consensus is that humans have caused more than half of the warming since 1950. Stenhouse asked about the past 150 years.

Why did the misleaders omit Maibach et al., 2016?

Maibach is one of the authors of the pack of lies, yet they failed to even mention his 2016 AMS survey.

This survey told us that atmospheric scientists were very divided about climate change since 1950.

The questions also eerily correlate with this infamous Tweet…

Barack Obama


Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: change is real, man-made and dangerous. Read more: http://OFA.BO/gJsdFp 

3,184 people are talking about this

“Climate change is real”

Page 8 from AMS_Member_Survey_Report_2016-4
Figure 6. Close, but no cigar… Only 96% of “scientists” agree that climate change is real.


Pages_11_12 from AMS_Member_Survey_Report_2016_Page_1
Figure 7. Only 67% of “scientists” characterized climate change as real and man-made.

“And dangerous”

Page 20 from AMS_Member_Survey_Report_2016-2
Figure 8. Only 38% of “scientists” characterized climate change as having been dangerous (primarily or exclusively harmful impacts) over the past 50 years.
Page 22 from AMS_Member_Survey_Report_2016-3
Figure 9. Only 50% of “scientists” characterized climate change as being dangerous (primarily or exclusively harmful impacts) over the next 50 years.

“And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.”

 So climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored. The world is looking to the United States – to us – to lead. 

–Former (thankfully) President Barack Hussein Obama, April 18, 2015

Pages_11_12 from AMS_Member_Survey_Report_2016_Page_2
Figure 10. Only 18% of “scientists” thought that there was any point in destroying our economy in order to prevent the weather from changing. Fully 41% of “scientists” indicated that climate change might as well be “ignored.”

Climate Change…

Survey Says.png
Figure 11. Survey says…

Why did the misleaders omit Stenhouse 2017?

Stenhouse et al., 2017 tells us that there is conflict within the American Meteorological Society on the subject of climate change.

This article analyzes open-ended survey responses to understand how members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) perceive conflict within the AMS over global warming. Of all survey respondents, 53% agreed that there was conflict within the AMS; of these individuals who perceived conflict, 62% saw it as having at least some productive aspects, and 53% saw at least some unproductive aspects. Among members who saw a productive side to the conflict, most agreed as to why it was productive: debate and diverse perspectives enhance science. However, among members who saw an unproductive side, there was considerable disagreement as to why. Members who are convinced of largely human-caused climate change expressed that debate over global warming sends an unclear message to the public. Conversely, members who are unconvinced of human-caused climate change often felt that their peers were closed-minded and suppressing unpopular views. These two groups converged, however, on one point: politics was seen as an overwhelmingly negative influence on the debate. This suggests that scientific organizations faced with similar conflict should understand that there may be a contradiction between legitimizing all members’ views and sending a clear message to the public about the weight of the evidence. The findings also reinforce the conclusion that attempts by scientific societies to directly address differences in political views may be met with strong resistance by many scientists.

The #ExxonKnew Secret Science Lie

Apart from the bit about defending “libertarian, free-market conservative ideologies”, this is a pack of lies:

Over the past few decades, the fossil fuel industry has subjected the American public to a well-funded, well-orchestrated disinformation
campaign about the reality and severity of human-caused climate
change. The purpose of this web of denial has been to confuse the public and decision-makers in order to delay climate action and thereby protect fossil fuel business interests and defend libertarian, free-market conservative ideologies 1. The fossil fuel industry’s denial and delay tactics come straight out of Big Tobacco’s playbook. As a result, the American public have been denied the right to be accurately informed about climate change, just as they were denied the right to be informed about the risks of smoking by the tobacco industry. While fossil fuel companies attacked the science and called on politicians to “reset the alarm,” climate-catalyzed damages worsened, including increased storm intensities, droughts, forest damage and wildfires, all at substantial loss of life and cost to the American people 2.

Cook et al., 2019

Figure 12. #ExxonKnew what the US government knew… So what? (click to enlarge)

The cartoon of a climate model is from the 1978 Black presentation:

Figure 13. Exxon’s secret climate model.

The fossil fuel industries couldn’t have denied the American public “the right to be accurately informed about climate change” if we had tried.

Everything oil companies allegedly knew came from publicly available government and/or academic sources

One of the allegedly most damning documents was the 1968 Robinson Report for the American Petroleum Institute (API).

In 1968, scientists with the Stanford Research Institute reported to the American Petroleum Institute about their research on atmospheric pollutants of interest to the industry. Summarizing the available science, the scientists saved their starkest warnings for carbon dioxide (CO2). They cautioned that rising levels of CO2 would likely result in rising global temperatures and warned that, if temperatures increased significantly, the result could be melting ice caps, rising sea levels, warming oceans, and serious environmental damage on a global scale.


A page reproduced from this damning report referenced Möller (1963) as the source of a 1-7 °F rise in temperature due to a 25% increase in atmospheric CO2

Figure 14. Möller (1963)

Unless Exxon owned the American Geophysical Union back then, Möller (1963) was not a secret document…

On the influence of changes in the CO2 concentration in air on the radiation balance of the Earth’s surface and on the climate
F. Möller

The numerical value of a temperature change under the influence of a CO2 change as calculated by Plass is valid only for a dry atmosphere. Overlapping of the absorption bands of CO2 and H2O in the range around 15 μ essentially diminishes the temperature changes. New calculations give ΔT = + 1.5° when the CO2 content increases from 300 to 600 ppm. Cloudiness diminishes the radiation effects but not the temperature changes because under cloudy skies larger temperature changes are needed in order to compensate for an equal change in the downward long-wave radiation. The increase in the water vapor content of the atmosphere with rising temperature causes a self-amplification effect which results in almost arbitrary temperature changes, e.g. for constant relative humidity ΔT = +10° in the above mentioned case. It is shown, however, that the changed radiation conditions are not necessarily compensated for by a temperature change. The effect of an increase in CO2 from 300 to 330 ppm can be compensated for completely by a change in the water vapor content of 3 per cent or by a change in the cloudiness of 1 per cent of its value without the occurrence of temperature changes at all. Thus the theory that climatic variations are effected by variations in the CO2 content becomes very questionable.

Journal of Geophysical Research

From the full paper…

In this case, we must distinguish between the assumptions that the water vapor content (in cm l.e.) remains unchanged in spite of heating (cooling) of the atmosphere and that it increases (decreases). Constant absolute humidity means that the relative humidity (f) decreases from 75 to 70.34 per cent with a 1° or lowered by 4.66 per cent per deg. According to the above-mentioned calculations, an increase in CO2 from 300 to 600 ppm gives us a temperature change ΔT = +1.5° for Δf = -4.66 per cent per deg, and a temperature change ΔT = +9.6° for Δf = 0.


We recognize that for Δf = 0.8 per cent per deg the temperature change becomes infinite. Very small variations effect a reversal of sign or huge amplifications.

It is not too difficult to infer from these numbers that the variation in the radiation budget from a changed CO2 concentration can be compensated for completely without any variation in the surface temperature when the cloudiness is increased by +0.006 or the water vapor content is decreased by -0.07 cm l.e.


These are variations in the cloudiness by 1 per cent of its value or in the water vapor content by 3 per cent of its value. No meteorologist or climatologist would dare to determine the mean cloudiness or mean water content of the atmosphere with such accuracy; much less can a change of this order of magnitude be proved or its existence denied. Because of these values the entire theory of climatic changes by CO2 variations is becoming questionable.

Möller (1963)

So, as far back as 1963, Exxon knew exactly what we know today:

The entire theory of climatic changes by CO2 variations is questionable.

The infamous 1978 Black presentation was just a review of government and academic publications on the so-called greenhouse effect.

Here’s what Exxon knew in 1978…

Figure 15. Exxon knew that most government and academic scientists wanted more research money.
Figure 16. There’s a lot of schist we don’t know.
Figure 17. In 1978, Exxon knew that the effects on sea level and the polar ice caps would likely be negligible, models were useless and more effort should be directed at paleoclimatology.

Black’s allegedly proprietary climate model was just another cartoon based on publicly available literature.

Figure 18. What Exxon knew during “The Ice Age Cometh.”

I added HadCRUT4 to highlight how Hansen-ian it was in its wrongness.

This allegedly proprietary Exxon climate model is a cartoon derived from a 1979 National Research Council publication

Figure 19. What Exxon knew in 1982.

I plotted HadCRUT4 and MLO CO2 on it at the same scale… The models were wrong back then and are not much better now.

By 1978, Exxon knew that Gorebal Warming was 97% horst schist and that future climate models would fail miserably.

By 1982, Exxon’s “brilliant climate modelers” (/SARC) predicted that, apart from the recent El Niño, HadCRUT4 would remain within the “range of natural fluctuations (climatic noise) for at least the next 40 years.

Exxon: The Fork Not Taken

An amazing feat, considering that “the first-ever synthesis of land and marine temperature data – i.e., the first global temperature record” didn’t exist before 1989.


Cook, J., Supran, G., Lewandowsky, S., Oreskes, N., & Maibach, E., (2019). America Misled: How the fossil fuel industry deliberately misled Americans about climate change. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Available at

Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., Green, S. A., Richardson, M., Winkler, B., Painting, R., et al. (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8, 024024.

Doran, P., & Zimmerman, M. (2009). Examining the scientific consensus on climate change. EOS. Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 99, 22–23.

Legates DR, Soon WW-H, Briggs WM et al. (2013) Climate consensus and “misinformation”: a rejoinder to “agnotology, scientific consensus, and the teaching and learning of climate change”. Sci Educ. doi:10.1007/s11191-013-9647-9.

Maibach, E., Perkins, D., Francis, Z., Myers, T., Englbom, A., et al. (2016). A 2016 National Survey of American Meteorological Society Member Views on Climate Change: Initial Findings. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA: Center for Climate Change Communication.

Möller, F. (1963). “On the influence of changes in the CO2 concentration in air on the radiation balance of the Earth’s surface and on the climate”. J. Geophys. Res., 68(13), 3877–3886, doi:10.1029/JZ068i013p03877.

National Research Council. 1979. “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment”. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Stenhouse, N., and Coauthors, 2014: Meteorologists’ views about global warming: A survey of American Meteorological Society professional members. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.95, 1029–1040, doi:

Stenhouse, N., A. Harper, X. Cai, S. Cobb, A. Nicotera, and E. Maibach, 2017: Conflict about Climate Change at the American Meteorological Society: Meteorologists’ Views on a Scientific and Organizational Controversy. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98, 219–223,

Further Reading

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part 1)

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part Deux, “Same as it ever was.”)

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part 3, Exxon: The Fork Not Taken

“Smoke & Fumes”… The dumbest attack on ExxonMobil evah’

“Smoke & Fumes,” Part Deux: Exxon Knew “The entire theory of climatic changes by CO2 variations is questionable.”

Even dumber than the dumbest attack on ExxonMobil evah’

What Did Shell Know and When Did They Know It?

The Guardian: “Climate change denial won’t even benefit oil companies soon”… Is it even grammatically possible to deny climate change?

HuffPost: The Dumbest #ExxonKnew Article… EVAH!

NY Attorney General Defies Judge’s Order in Exxon Case

ExxonKnew Epic Fail: Oil Companies DID NOT build “their rigs to account for sea-level rise”

Defending Mann’s Hockey Stick because #ExxonKnew

Kamala Harris Lied About #ExxonKnew Lies

This scientist proved climate change isn’t causing extreme weather — so politicians attacked

And so, many scientists who have the facts and know the truth remain silent

Hurricanes have not been proven to be more frequent or more dangerous than in the past.WILMA.png

NOAA / AFP / Getty Images
Special to Financial Post

June 19, 2019
12:45 PM EDT

By Ross McKitrick

This week in Vancouver, Prime Minister Trudeau said the federal carbon tax, a key pillar in his government’s climate policy, will help protect Canadians from extreme weather. “Extreme weather events are extraordinarily expensive for Canadians, our communities and our economy,” he said, citing the recent tornadoes in Ottawa and wildfires in Western Canada. “That’s why we need to act.”

While members of the media may nod along to such claims, the evidence paints a different story. Roger Pielke Jr. is a scientist at University of Colorado in Boulder who, up until a few years ago, did world-leading research on climate change and extreme weather. He found convincing evidence that climate change was not leading to higher rates of weather-related damages worldwide, once you correct for increasing population and wealth. He also helped convene major academic panels to survey the evidence and communicate the near-unanimous scientific consensus on this topic to policymakers. For his efforts, Pielke was subjected to a vicious, well-funded smear campaign backed by, among others, the Obama White House and leading Democratic congressmen, culminating in his decision in 2015 to quit the field.

A year ago, Pielke told the story to an audience at the University of Minnesota. His presentation was recently circulated on Twitter. With so much misinformation nowadays about supposed climate emergencies, it’s worth reviewing carefully.

Pielke’s public presentation begins with a recounting of his rise and fall in the field. As a young researcher in tropical storms and climate-related damages, he reached the pinnacle of the academic community and helped organize the so-called Hohenkammer Consensus Statement, named after the German town where 32 of the leading scientists in the field gathered in 2006 to sort out the evidence. They concluded that trends toward rising climate damages were mainly due to increased population and economic activity in the path of storms, that it was not currently possible to determine the portion of damages attributable to greenhouse gases, and that they didn’t expect that situation to change in the near future.

Shortly thereafter, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its 2007 report, largely agreeing with the Hohenkammer Consensus, while cherry-picking one unpublished study (and highlighting it in the Summary for Policymakers) that suggested a link between greenhouse gases and storm-related damages. But the author of that study — who just happened to be the same IPCC lead author who injected it into the report — later admitted his claim was incorrect, and when the study was finally published, denied the connection.

In 2012, the IPCC Special Report on Extreme Weather came out and echoed the Hohenkammer Consensus, concluding that once you adjust for population growth and economic changes, there is no statistical connection between climate change and measures of weather-related damages. In 2013 Pielke testified to the United States Congress and relayed the IPCC findings. Shortly thereafter, Obama’s science advisor John Holdren accused him of misleading Congress and launched a lengthy but ill-informed attack on Pielke, which prompted congressional Democrats to open an investigation into Pielke’s sources of funding (which quickly fizzled amid benign conclusions). Meanwhile heavily funded left-wing groups succeeded in getting him fired from a popular internet news platform. In 2015 Pielke quit the climate field.

So where did the science end up?

In the second half of his talk, Pielke reviews the science as found in the most recent (2013) IPCC Assessment Report, the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment, and the most up-to-date scientific data and literature. Nothing substantial has changed.

Globally there’s no clear evidence of trends and patterns in extreme events such as droughts, hurricanes and floods. Some regions experience more, some less and some no trend. Limitations of data and inconsistencies in patterns prevent confident claims about global trends one way or another. There’s no trend in U.S. hurricane landfall frequency or intensity. If anything, the past 50 years has been relatively quiet. There’s no trend in hurricane-related flooding in the U.S. Nor is there evidence of an increase in floods globally. Since 1965, more parts of the U.S. have seen a decrease in flooding than have seen an increase. And from 1940 to today, flood damage as a percentage of GDP has fallen to less than 0.05 per cent per year from about 0.2 per cent.

And on it goes. There’s no trend in U.S. tornado damage (in fact, 2012 to 2017 was below average). There’s no trend in global droughts. Cold snaps in the U.S. are down but, unexpectedly, so are heatwaves.

The bottom line is there’s no solid connection between climate change and many major indicators of extreme weather that politicians keep talking about, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, rainfall and floods, despite Trudeau’s claims to the contrary. The continual claim of such links is misinformation employed for political and rhetorical purposes. Powerful people get away with it because so few people know what the numbers show. Many scientists who know better remain silent. And the few who push back against the propaganda, such as Roger Pielke Jr., find themselves on the receiving end of abuse and career-threatening attacks, even though they have all the science in their corner. Something has gotten scary and extreme, but it isn’t the weather.

  • Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at the University of Guelph and senior fellow of the Fraser Institute.