Paper: Droughts, Heat Waves Are Not Getting Worse Like Alarmists Predicted

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Climate scientists and environmentalists have claimed for years droughts and heatwaves were getting worse because of man-made global warming, but those predictions have not come true, according to a new study.

“Evidence that droughts have become more prevalent on a global scale is equally hard to come by,” Andrew Montford, a British author and global warming skeptic, wrote in a new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Montford’s report debunks many claims advanced by activists that droughts and heatwaves were getting worse, citing examples of alarmism playing out across the world and costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

Ultimately, droughts and heatwaves have not gotten worse globally, according to Montford, and even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations’ climate bureaucracy, has backed off alarmist claims of worsening weather.

The IPCC, which is regarded by many scientists and activists as the world’s foremost authority on global warming, reported in 2007 that droughts were more common due to human-driven warming. But in 2013, the IPCC changed its tone when it said “[c]onfidence is low for a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century, owing to lack of direct observations, methodological uncertainties and geographical inconsistencies in the trends.”

The IPCC was only able to show increases in drought in a few regions, while other regions showed a marked decrease in droughts.

“Based on updated studies, [the IPCC’s 2007] conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated,” the IPCC admitted in 2013. “However, this masks important regional changes: the frequency and intensity of drought have likely increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and likely decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950.”

Interestingly enough, Australian politicians were motivated by alarmist claims from the IPCC and environmentalists to invest billions of dollars in desalination plants when the country was struck by a particularly harsh drought a few years ago. The country is now stuck with paying for nearly $4 billion in mothballed water infrastructure.

Those massive desalination projects will cost Queensland, Australia taxpayers $150 million in interest payments and $33 million in maintenance costs.

“Drought makes for powerful images, with dusty landscapes and parched earth a staple of the fundraising efforts of both environmentalists, the public relations efforts of academics and the posturing of politicians,” Montford wrote. “But as the rains wash the drought away and cool days replace hot ones, and as the desalination plants are quietly mothballed, life goes on much as it always has, with farmers and the general public quietly adapting to whatever the weather throws at them.”

Without the backing of the IPCC, global warming activists have taken to claiming global warming-induced droughts caused war to break out in Syria in 2011. That line of argument has even been taken up by the Obama administration to justify new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Military experts, however, have heavily criticized such claims, and even climate scientists have argued global warming played little to no role in sparking Syria’s civil war. The real culprit, according to experts, was politics, not drought.

“The tendency of climate scientists to make apocalyptic claims based on the output of computer simulations is thoroughly to be regretted, as indeed are the tendencies of environmentalists to use these wild statements to promote their own fundraising efforts and of politicians to act upon them,” Montford wrote.

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