Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

November 10, 2012

Stupid on Sandy

The new cover of Bloomberg Businessweek has a photo of a flooded New York City over a screaming headline, "It's Global Warming, Stupid."

The magazine thus joins the effort to make the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy into a piece of cheap agitprop. Global-warming alarmists are desperate for a threat from climate change more immediate and telegenic than the low-lying Maldives supposedly sinking one day beneath a rising sea.

They need disasters, and they need them right away. There's a reason that Al Gore used an ominous photo of Hurricane Katrina as seen from space as the emblematic image for his propagandistic documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth."

In the case of Sandy, the alarmists revert to a simplistic style of reasoning (if it can be called that): Something bad happened. It must therefore have an easily identifiable cause. They then wrap this highly emotional appeal in the incontestable clothing of science. Bloomberg Businessweek's editor, Josh Tyrangiel, sent out a tweet: "Our cover story this week may generate controversy, but only among the stupid."

On the face of it, though, it requires belief in a series of improbabilities to be smart enough to meet Mr. Tyrangiel's standards. Because of global warming, there was a Hurricane Sandy. Because of global warming, Sandy ran into a high-pressure system and took a highly unusual westward turn directly into the coast. Because of global warming, it made that turn into New Jersey and affected the richest, most populated areas in the country. Because of global warming, it hit at high tide during a full moon.

The Bloomberg Businessweek piece acknowledges that it's "unsophisticated" to blame one storm on climate change, then does it anyway. It quotes an official with the Environmental Defense Fund making a baseball analogy: "We can't say that steroids caused any home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids." But what if a hitter is said to be on more steroids than ever, yet his power goes down, not up?

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