Environmentalist and global-warming believer Bjørn Lomborg was not impressed with President Obama’s fact-challenged global-warming alarmism in his inaugural address. Lomborg writes in today’s WSJ:
Fear-mongering exaggeration about effects of global warming distracts us from finding affordable and effective energy alternatives.
In his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama laudably promised to “respond to the threat of climate change.” Unfortunately, when the president described the urgent nature of the threat — the “devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms” — the scary examples suggested that he is contemplating poor policies that don’t point to any real, let alone smart, solutions. Global warming is a problem that needs fixing, but exaggeration doesn’t help, and it often distracts us from simple, cheaper and smarter solutions.
For starters, let’s address the three horsemen of the climate apocalypse that Mr. Obama mentioned.
Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that even with global warming proceeding uninterrupted, the level of wildfires will continue to decline until around midcentury and won’t resume on the level of 1950 — the worst for fire — before the end of the century.
Claiming that droughts are a consequence of global warming is also wrong. The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.” The U.N. Climate Panel in 2012 concluded: “Some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”
As for one of the favorites of alarmism, hurricanes in recent years don’t indicate that storms are getting worse. Measured by total energy (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), hurricane activity is at a low not encountered since the 1970s. The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest absence of severe landfall hurricanes in over a century — the last Category 3 or stronger storm was Wilma, more than seven years ago.