Former Vice President Al Gore made some amazing claims about global warming. The failed presidential candidate told Politico Magazine that “extreme weather events” are 100 times more common today than they were 30 years ago due to global warming.
But Gore’s claims actually run counter to mounting scientific evidence that global warming is not making the weather more “extreme.”
“The game changer for the first question is the extreme weather events related to climate that are now 100 times more common than they were just 30 years ago,” Gore told Politico. “This is having a huge impact. And they’re getting more frequent. More common. Bigger. More destructive. And people are looking at their hole cards.”
“The extreme weather events and the knock-on effects with the stronger ocean-based storms, the bigger downpours, more floods, mudslides, the saturation of that hillside in Snohomish County, for example — these things are way more common now, because the extremes are more extreme and they are more frequent,” Gore added.
Gore’s claims, however, are not even in line with evidence presented by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a group often cited by Gore as evidence that global warming could be catastrophic.
The IPCC found that there “is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century” and current data shows “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.”
The IPCC also said “there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale” adding “that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends.”
Extreme weather has been a major talking point for environmentalists and Democrats who want to show evidence that the planet is warming. Last year, politicians jumped on the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines, saying it was more evidence that human activity was making the weather worse.
“This is all over the world,” Gore said. “In the Philippines, there were four million homeless refugees and still are. That’s twice as many as the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Philippines has always been hit hard by typhoons, but this is something different and the warmer ocean is connected to it. And all over the world, people are saying, ‘Whoa, this is getting pretty crazy.’”
But the IPCC isn’t the only body to counter Gore’s claims. University of Colorado scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. has also presented evidence that weather has not gotten more extreme.
“It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally,” Dr. Pielke told the Senate last summer. “It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.”
“Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900,” Pielke added. “The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970.”
So far this year, the United States has experienced a record-low number of tornadoes, according to Pielke, and the number of deaths and the amount of property damage from tornadoes has decreased dramatically in the past six decades.
“The average annual U.S. property losses caused by tornadoes, from 1950 to 2013, is $5.9 billion in today’s dollars,” Pielke wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “However, for the first half of the data set (1950-81), the annual average loss was $7.6 billion, and in the second half (1982-2013), it was $4.1 billion—a drop of almost 50%.”
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