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Climate Alarmists: Justifying Japanese Judgment Day

The devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan couldn’t have been caused by purported man-made global warming. This reality hasn’t stopped environmental alarmists from trying to exploit the tragedy to bolster their sagging cause.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake was the worst to hit Japan since detailed records have been kept. The calamity has been given continuous news coverage, driven by dramatic images of the tsunami sweeping across fields, engulfing towns and tossing around cars, ships and even buildings. The environmental activist website Grist was one of the first out of the gate with a story under the headline: “Today’s tsunami: This is what climate change looks like.”

The footage of the deluge did resemble a scene from Al Gore’s doomsday science-fiction film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” in which rising oceans rapidly inundate vast portions of the United States. Grist’s bold claim was so absurd, however, that author Christopher Mims was forced to post an update backing off the baloney, while nonetheless speculating that “climate change may cause tsunamis directly, so it’s possible we’ll someday see more images like this as a result.” Or, put another way, it’s highly likely that we never will be able to connect those dots.

Staffan Nilsson, president of the European Economic and Social Committee, a consultative body of the European Union, rushed out a statement early in the Japanese aftermath asserting “some islands affected by climate change have been hit” and calling for “solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change” and supposed global warming. “Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do,” he proclaimed. Contrary to this lefitist euro propaganda, it later appeared that no small Pacific islands were at risk of being submerged, and the statement was changed to omit the clarion call for action on the global-warming front. For good measure, Mother Nature was edited out too.

Part of the problem with trying to appropriate the tragedy for the warmist cause was the lack of clear connection between greenhouse gases and plate tectonics. Bill McGuire of the University College London’s Hazard Research Center provided this linkage with a 2009 statement that “When the [polar] ice is lost [from global warming], the earth’s crust bounces back up again and that triggers earthquakes, which trigger submarine landslides, which cause tsunamis.” Unfortunately for the scaremongers, the earthquake’s epicenter was far from the polar ice cap, and in any case, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Arctic sea ice coverage for this winter is at the same level it was in 2006-2007, so the Earth’s crust is unlikely to be bouncing at the rate necessary to bring about killer quakes.

The environmentalist website struck back at criticism of the warming/tsunami link and accused those who opposed the thesis of trying to “shut down the dialogue.” That two sides are required for a dialogue seems to have escaped them. These eco-warriors lamely admitted that there was no “definitive link between climate change and more earthquakes” but couldn’t resist positing that, “there’s some compelling evidence that there could be a relationship between the two.” Yet according to a June 2010 study by staff members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “the total number of magnitude 7.5 earthquakes per decade since 1901 has remained consistent.” Since major earthquakes are not increasing in frequency, the compelling evidence suggests there is no relationship between earthquakes and warming, unless of course warming isn’t happening either.

As the warmist cause continues to cool globally, its proponents become increasingly desperate. In January 2010, former actor Danny Glover tied warming to the earthquake in Haiti. Liberal columnist Thomas Friedman has offered the “global weirding” thesis in which practically any climate event could be taken as proof of man’s impact on the planet. Record snowfalls in recent winters have been attributed to global warming, and activists have even warned that global warming may bring colder overall temperatures. At some point, these tired hysterics will have to admit they have no idea what they’re talking about and move on to the next apocalyptic cause. Perhaps they can examine the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan calendar, which is just as strongly rooted in science.

The Washington Times, 15 March 2011