Blaming Hurricane Sandy On Global Warming Was Good Politics - But Terrible Science
    By Hank Campbell | December 4th 2012 12:45 PM | 5 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Which esteemed body does not like any attribution of hurricanes to global warming?

    The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that's who. Yes, the same group that claimed global warming would lead to African farming being cut in half by 2020 and gave credibility to a baffling claim that the Himalayas will be gone just over 20 years from now thinks attributing weather events to global warming is just too kooky. 

    Yet in the run-up to America's November election, the weather event that doomed a candidate was unabashedly attributed to global warming - both by people who should know better, like science journalists, and also the usual suspects, like Think Progress and other places that write for populist pageviews rather than science.  The not-exactly-science publication BusinessWeek even invoked the 1992 "It's the economy, stupid" campaign of Democrats against President George W. Bush by declaring “IT’S GLOBAL WARMING, STUPID”, which shows you how they voted.

    But a week before the almost-hurricane hit New York City, no one was talking about global warming.   In four debates, three presidential and a vice-presidential, no moderator brought up the subject nor did any candidate.  In the Democratic National Convention it barely got a mention and its omission was unnoticed by the base voters despite the fact that they had it in their platform, whereas having neither God nor the capital of Israel in their platform got those two things invoked every other speech.

    You might have hoped that Politicization Of Science got popular and died last decade, like the term 'metrosexual', but, no, it is still around. Politization Of Science I mean, the metrosexual marketing effort collapsed in 2004, almost as quickly as it came.  Why the sudden global warming resurgence?

    First, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater when criticizing political hatchet men who used a weather disaster for their own gain; climate change is real and something has to be done about it.  But fake correlations and junk science do far more to hurt public trust in science than they do to help. As detailed in Science Left Behind, a key reason so many people have an a la carte mentality toward science today is because they see it hopelessly politicized, including by people on their own side, so they think all science is subjective the same way.

    Professor Bjørn Lomborg is a climate change accepter yet perpetual wet blanket for the hysterical Global-Warming-Will-Kill-Us-Unless-You-Vote-Democrat fifth columnists - in other words, he is what more people should be.  He rightly notes that, if global warming had caused  Sandy, we would not have gone 7 years without a Category 3 hurricane but we had the longest big hurricane drought in over a century. 

    New York media so needed a disastrous event and a chance for leadership photo-ops that when Sandy was downgraded from a hurricane before it could hit, they created a meaningless 'superstorm' designation to keep the drama going. Meanwhile a real superstorm, Bopha In The Philippines, is tearing the place up but we aren't declaring it should change any votes, Think Progress is instead exploiting a young girl to make their case about Easy Bake Ovens and what it does to the our collective psyches.  So much for the environment.

    If we want people to accept science, we need to stop letting it be hijacked for political gain.  The Internet has science bloggers talking about anti-vaccine rants from some Republicans - and it's nice that Democrats are not alone in their crackpottery, but who else out there mentioned that Democrats were tearing into the same CDC at all?


    A very poorly articulated article, full of conjecture and bias. Why was this trash even published?

    Sorry for violating your social authoritarian fundamentalist beliefs by publishing something that violates your worldview - but is there any actual fact you can offer in contrast?
    I've got to say Hank you manage to get a lot of haters and trolls coming out of the woodwork after you.

    On topic, I agree with the premise of this article. One of the problems with alarmists is the bias in reporting any major event as being caused by global warming while ceasing to mention a lack of events in a given year.

    This article is full of misinformation, unsupported innuendo and just plain junk. For example, discrediting climate science because a 'prediction' (not hard evidence) had a typo indicating early melting of the Himalayan glaciers (which was later corrected) does not constitute an argument against the science, which has now reached the level of irrefutable. Who's paying this guy?

    Part of the reason people do not accept science that violates their cultural or political world view is that they think anyone who disagrees must be getting paid - when both sides do it, no policy gets made. You show that nicely. My criticisms of the IPCC are not related to climate change data - 10,000 climate scientists are not wrong - but rather the IPCC itself, which is not made up of the best scientists, as they admit, but rather is picked to represent demographic interests. That is why they accept grey literature - which led to their promotion of junk in the last report, and pick members based on geography rather than qualifications. The unfortunate thing is, they get painted as some sort of Justice League of climate researchers when just the opposite is true.

    You'd know that if you used some critical thinking. There can be no 'correction' in publishing a magazine speculation about melting as fact, all it does is feed deniers and they were criticized by their own internal investigations for that and many other errors and misperceptions. By defending that conduct, you make deniers look right in claiming this is a political issue and not a science one.