The outcry over global warming crowds out and obscures the real issues with hurricanes that should be considered by elected officials at all levels.
The notion that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma should cause President Trump to reconsider withdrawing from the Paris climate treaty and dismantling the Obama climate agenda is preposterous. Did the fact that no hurricanes of Category 3 or above made landfall in the United States from 2006 until this year cause global warming alarmists to reconsider their ruinously expensive and utterly ineffectual policies?
It’s no surprise that former vice president Al Gore shamefully tries to exploit every weather disaster, or that many in Congress are going to use the death and destruction caused by Harvey and Irma to push energy-rationing policies that will do nothing to prevent similar disasters.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report expresses “low confidence” in predicting increases in the intensity and duration of tropical hurricanes and typhoons worldwide over the long term and in predicting a human contribution to any trend.
To take one example, 10 hurricanes of Category 4 or 5 hit the U.S. from 1920 through 1969. From 1970 through this past week, only five hit. Thus, if there is any causal connection, it looks like warming produces fewer major hurricanes.
Although improvements in forecasting, infrastructure, emergency response and building methods have cut fatalities from hurricanes dramatically since more than 6,000 people died from the hurricane in Galveston, Texas, in 1900, many more people are at risk. And the costs of property destruction have gone up exponentially as beach shacks have been replaced in many areas by large housing tracts.
Rather than wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, much smaller amounts should be spent on improving the infrastructure that protects the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.