The Climate’s Alright, Marlo Lewis, Jr.


From Competitive Enterprise Institute, June 5, 2013.

Quoting from Lewis article,

There is much more. In 2006-2007, commentators like Al Gore, Joseph Romm, and Fred Pearce popularized scary climate-change impact scenarios, such as ice-sheet  disintegration and catastrophic sea-level rise, dramatic increases in  extreme weather, and climate-destabilizing releases of methane from  melting permafrost. Recent studies undercut the credibility of such  predictions. Here’s a short list:

King et al. (2012): The rate of Antarctic ice loss is not accelerating and translates to less than one inch of sea-level rise per century.

Faezeh et al. (2013):  Greenland’s four main outlet glaciers are projected to contribute 0.7  to 1.1 inches to sea-level rise by 2200 under a mid-range warming  scenario (2.8°C by 2100) and 1.1 to 1.9 inches under a high-end warming  scenario (4.5°C by 2100).

Weinkle et al. (2012):  There is no trend in the strength or frequency of land-falling  hurricanes in the world’s five main hurricane basins during the past 50  to 70 years.

Bouwer (2011):  There is no trend in hurricane-related damages since 1900 once  economic-loss data are adjusted for changes in population, wealth, and  the consumer-price index.

NOAA: There is no trend since 1950 in the frequency of strong (F3 to F5) U.S. tornadoes.

National Climate Data Center: There is no trend since 1900 in U.S. soil moisture as measured by the Palmer Drought Severity Index.

Hirsch and Ryberg (2011): There is no trend in U.S. flood magnitudes over the past 85 years.

Schultz (2011):  Even under the most extreme climatic scenario tested, permafrost thaw  in the Siberian shelf will not exceed 10 meters in depth by 2100 or 50  meters by the turn of the next millennium, whereas the bulk of methane  stores are trapped roughly 200 meters below the sea floor.

Kessler et al. (2011):  Microbes digested the methane released during the 2010 BP Deepwater  Horizon oil spill, indicating that any warming-induced “large-scale  releases of methane from hydrate in the deep ocean are likely to be met  by a similarly rapid methanotrophic response.”

Goklany (2009):  Global deaths and death rates related to extreme weather have declined  by 93 percent and 98 percent, respectively, since the 1920s.

Granted, climate-alarm persists. The main reason is that climate risk is easily confused with climate-change risk.  Due to their sheer magnitude and terror, natural catastrophes have an  almost supernatural aspect. People are innately prone to imagine that  natural disasters have non-natural causes. Thus, each time disaster  strikes, pundits — especially those with scientific credentials — can  plausibly blame fossil fuels and declare “it’s worse than we thought.”

But  the best available science does not support such claims. Far from being  worse than predicted, the climate outlook is better than we have long  been told. For this reason, too, policymakers should remove  self-inflicted constraints on the development and export of North  American energy.


Marlo Lewis, Jr. is a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, where he writes on global warming, energy policy, and other public policy issues. Prior to joining CEI in April 2002, he served as Director of External Relations at the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles, California. During the 106th Congress, Marlo served as Staff Director of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs.

His interests include the science, economics, and politics of global warming policy; the precautionary principle; environmentalism and religion; and the moral basis of free enterprise. Marlo has been published in The Washington Times, Investors Business Daily, TechCentralStation, National Review, and Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy. He has appeared on various television and radio programs, and his ideas have been featured in radio commentary by Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy.

Before joining CEI for his first tenure with the organization in 1993, Marlo served as Research Director for the grassroots organization, Citizens Against Government Waste. Earlier, he was a Staff Consultant to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade, a Special Assistant at the State Department Bureau of Inter-American Affairs and Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Claremont McKenna College. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University and a B.A. in Political Science from Claremont McKenna College.

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