The Corner

Green Unrepentant

Germany’s Environment Minister is standing by his comments that linked the President’s stance on global warming to the damage caused by Katrina. He and the German Foreign Ministry claim scientific backing for the suggestion. Perhaps they might like to read this or the comment here (#6) from one of the leading experts in hurricane damage research, who says:

There have been no published studies that argue for attributing an observed increase in hurricane intensity or frequency to global warming. Emanuel’s recent paper, which I am very familiar with, argues for the existence of a trend in an index that he calls the PDI, which is indeed a measure of hurricane intensity. The paper does not present information for attribution of this trend, and if you look at Emanuel’s recent statements to the media he has been exceedingly responsible in describing his work and its limits. His paper is suggestive of a link, but I don’t think that it allows for the statement that [global warming increases hurricane intensity]. This is also what the IPCC most recently concluded in 2001. Saying that global warming has made storms more intense is simply not supported by the literature.

But then a fair question is, so what? If this were only a dispute about science then it probably wouldn’t be something I’d be interested in. It is ultimately a debate about action. [Ross] Gelbspan is arguing for specific actions based on a claim that these actions will reduce the toll of floods, hurricanes, blizzards and other events. It is a misleading claim. If people who suffer the impacts of these events accept his policy argument, they will be sadly disappointed. Selling snake oil under a claim that it will cure disease is immoral.

This whole debate is rapidly descending from oil emissions to snake oil emissions. At least technology will reduce one of them.

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