Ex US Vice-President Al Gore recently compared those who are not on board with his extreme and elitist idea of climate activism to the Uvalde police, who failed to save school children from a lunatic gunman.
This crass and asinine comparison exemplifies the heartless instinct of some in the political sphere of never letting a crisis go to waste. The comparison, such as it is, is also completely wrong – a state that Al Gore has a habit of being in as his foretold climate apocalypses fail to manifest.
For Gore’s unscrupulous analogy to have any merit, there must be evidence that Climate Change is at least associated with more deaths. Despite the shrill shrieks and vituperative screeds of extremist activists, the opposite is true. Over the past century, deaths from natural disasters have dropped precipitously. According to the International Disaster Database, the decadal death toll from natural disasters has dropped by 92 per cent since the 1920s, even as the world’s population quadrupled and the global temperature rose by 1.3°C.
The doom-mongers’ dire forecast of killer super-hurricanes is also exaggerated. The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report actually predicts that while the lifetime maximal intensity of Atlantic hurricanes will increase by 5 per cent during the course of the 21st century, the overall number of Atlantic hurricanes will decrease by 25 per cent.
People like Gore never seem to pay any price for being wrong. After his prophecies in the film An Inconvenient Truth failed to materialise 11 years after its showing, Mr Gore simply appeared with new ones in the follow-up film, An Inconvenient Sequel, like the doomsday cultists of yore. Not only that, these doom-peddlers get away with the most atrocious displays of hypocrisy.
While gaining an Oscar and a Nobel Prize for his activism, Gore’s Nashville house was shown to guzzle tens of times the amount of energy as the average American home. Furthermore, he sold his television channel, Current TV, to the Qatari government-funded media company Al Jazeera, for around 100 million petroleum-soaked dollars. Inconvenient truths indeed.
The pattern is repeated again and again among the climate activist class. You have Leonardo DiCaprio, who flew on his private jet to accept an environmentalism award. Then there is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who enjoy endless private jet trips while lecturing the masses about their carbon footprint. After renovating Frogmore Cottage, their UK residence, for a cool £2.4 million of taxpayer money, including eco-friendly vegan paint, the pair ditched their residence and set up house in a £11 million Californian mansion, replete with a giant pool, sauna, and five-car garage. You have John Kerry, appointed by Biden as the federal government global climate envoy, whose family private jet has flown 48 trips since Biden took office, emitting some 325 metric tons of CO2. And you have all the leaders attending COP26 in Scotland in 2021, a conference about tackling Climate Change, half of whom seemed to have taken private jets when Skype would have sufficed.
The largely incurious media, not phased about these discrepancies between speech and behaviour, carries on stolidly with the apocalyptic messaging regarding Climate Change. The result is more and more neurotic and histrionic responses to weather events, such as that by Mr Gore. But weather is not in the least the same as climate, which is considered in units that span half-centuries.
The recent UK heatwave has demonstrated this, with a week’s worth of scaremongering headlines, building up to fever pitch, leading up to a single day of albeit record-breaking heat. But this is nothing compared to the heatwave in the summer of 1976, when the UK endured 15 days over 32.2°C, five of which were over 35°C. Or the heatwave in 1911, which lasted two and a half months. Or indeed the pre-industrial heatwave in 1540, which lasted almost a year.
Nor do the media give the same misguided deference to equally unusual cold waves, though the cold kills far more people each year than heat. For example, in 2021, cold waves were observed in Greece and North America. The extreme event in North America in particular impacted Canada, America, and even Mexico, dropping temperatures 14-28°C below the average. Many southern states in America broke records for lowest temperatures. Almost 300 people were reported to have died as a consequence of the cold snap.
Just as these cold waves do not disprove global warming, rare heatwaves should not be used as evidence for global warming.
All this is not to say that human activities do not contribute toward Climate Change – they certainly do – but the degree of unhealthy hysteria generated by the likes of Al Gore is not derivable from the data. What the doom-peddlers try to do is to make people think with their blood rather than their brains. While this might grant them more money, power, and privilege, it is a profoundly unhelpful way to think about a topic as complex as climate change, and will only retard our ability to tackle it.
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