The pundits at elite East Coast media outlets — The New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, CNN and their many satellites — wasted no time in rushing to judgment.
Torrential rains were still flooding a huge area of southeast Texas when they proclaimed Hurricane Harvey a prime example of devastating climate change.
They received standing applause from Al Gore and his legion of federally funded climate alarmists across the country — but they were jarringly wrong.
Hurricane Harvey is a horrible, extreme case of the weather that typically ravages Texas’ Gulf Coast but it has nothing to do with global climate change.
Some in the burgeoning climate disaster industry claim that Harvey was directly caused by man-made climate change, or, at the very least, was made significantly worse by it.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, for example, said, “Is some of the intensity and the magnitude of this related to climate change? I think most scientists believe it is.”
And he’s been joined by countless others making frenzied calls for more government action and saying climate change will make extreme storms more severe.
But for some historical perspective, consider what happened in 1900, when the worst hurricane in American history roared into the port of Galveston, destroying thousands of buildings and killing an estimated 6,000-12,000 people. Harvey, thus far, has accounted for less than 100 fatalities.
University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass said climate change did not cause Hurricane Harvey.
“You can’t really pin global warming for something this extreme,” Mass said.
William Happer, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University and a former director of energy research of the U.S. Department of Energy, is also among those highly skeptical of global warming as generally explained by mainstream media.
“Climate has been changing since the Earth was formed — some 4.5 billion years ago,” he wrote in an op-ed earlier this year. “Climate changes on every time scale — whether decades, centuries or millennia. The climate of Greenland was warm enough for farming around the year 1100 A.D., but by 1500, the Little Ice Age drove Norse settlers out. There is no opportunity for a hoax, since climate change is so well documented by historical and geophysical records.”
Debate between skeptical academics like Happer and his undoubting colleagues doing research with federal grants will likely continue ad infinitum.
In the meantime, tens of thousands of Texans are homeless, hungry and quite possibly shell-shocked.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Whitt Flora is an independent journalist who covered the White House for The Columbus Dispatch and was chief congressional correspondent for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. Readers may write him at 319 Shagbark Road, Middle River, Md., 21220.