Climate Change: Are the recent natural disasters a coincidence or tied to human-induced climate change? Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Climate Change
Late last week, the worst flooding in recent memory killed at least 200 people in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, prompting the German federal government to provide $235.5 million in emergency aid funding. Then on Tuesday, the search term, “Why is the Sun Red?” was trending on Google. This happened after smoke from wildfires burning in the Western United States and Canada made its way across the country to the East Coast, contributing to a noticeable haze in New York City. Meanwhile, torrential rains have lashed China’s flood-stricken central province of Henan. So far, 25 people have died in what weather officials called the heaviest rains for 1,000 years. Are the string of events a coincidence, or are they tied to human-induced climate change? Here’s what both sides are saying.
On The Left
Left-leaning commentators see the recent climate-related events as a prophecy foretold. All of the warnings Americans have heard for years are right in front of our eyes, they say. It’s past time to act, they add, and failure is not an option.
“A failure to act on climate is not an option” Abigail Dillen and Fred Krupp, The Hill: “As a nation, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment. Once-in-a-generation climate catastrophes are becoming regular occurrences, threatening communities and infrastructure in every town and city in the United States. … Climate disasters threaten public health and put our nation’s energy system under incredible strain. As we saw with extreme weather-related power outages earlier this year in Texas, this burden falls disproportionately on Black, Latino, and other communities of color. … The stakes could not be higher. Congress must act now to make transformative investments to tackle the climate crisis, transition to clean energy, and take aggressive action on environmental justice. … Biden ran and won on a strong commitment to … rebuild our economy with environmental justice, clean energy investments, and ambitious goals for tackling the climate crisis. More than 81 million Americans turned out to vote on these promises. … If Congress fails to enact solutions that match the severity of the climate crisis, communities across the country will be left to pay the cost of inaction.”
“Is There No Way Out of the Climate Crisis?” Rebecca Gordon, The Nation: “It’s hardly a new observation that the people who have benefited least from the causes of climate change—the residents of less industrialized countries and poor people of all nations—are already suffering most from its results. Island nations like the Republic of Palau in the Western Pacific are a prime example. … Obviously, people with more discretionary income will have an easier time investing in air-conditioning now that temperatures are rising. … Just as the coronavirus has disproportionately ravaged Black and brown communities … climate change–driven heat waves … mean that ‘black people living in most US cities are subject to double the level of heat stress as their white counterparts.’ … It’s impossible to overstate the urgency of the moment. And yet, as a species, we’re acting like the children of indulgent parents who provide multiple ‘last chances’ to behave. … Here in the United States, unless congressional Democrats succeed in ramming through major action to stop climate change before the 2022 midterms, we’ll have lost one more last, best chance for survival.”
“It Seems Odd That We Would Just Let the World Burn” Ezra Klein, New York Times Opinion: “Some hoped that the pandemic would alter the world’s course, but it hasn’t. Oil consumption is hurtling back to precrisis levels, and demand for coal, the dirtiest of the fuels, is rising. … 2020 was a hellish, unprecedented year of fires … But 2021 is tracking even worse. … But you’d never know it watching C-SPAN. The bipartisan infrastructure bill cuts most of the climate investments from President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. … That is the state of climate policy in 2021, and I am not optimistic that it will be much different in 2022, or 2025. … The good news is that the worst of the climate crisis seems less and less likely. We are on track for 3 degrees of warming, measured in Celsius, not 4 or 5. But 3 degrees is still a catastrophe of truly incomprehensible proportions, visited primarily upon the world’s poor by the world’s rich. We are engineering a world that is so much worse than it need be and that will be lethal for untold millions.”
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators and outlets think the verdict is still out as to whether or not climate change and global warming are truly getting worse. They cite studies that say otherwise and point out flaws with models that are heavily relied upon by “climate alarmists.”
“Six Facts the Left Doesn’t Want You To Know About Global Warming” David Simon, RealClearMarkets: “Hold on to your wallet. The Left’s global warming Chicken Littles insist that the sky is falling but don’t want you to know six key facts. First… the models relied upon by the Left to predict future global warming are so poor that they cannot even reproduce the temperature changes in the 20th century. … Second … the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s own analysis indicates that any negative economic impact that global warming eventually may have will be so modest that it warrants no action. Third, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the UN IPPC do not claim that a link has been established between global warming and natural disasters. … Fourth, as the earth’s temperature has risen, natural disasters have become far less deadly. … Fifth, some of the world’s best scientists believe that global warming will be beneficial rather than harmful. … Sixth, global warming saves lives. A study published in 2015 by the British medical journal The Lancet found that cold kills over 17 times more people than heat.”
“Biden’s obsession with climate change actually endangers the US” Augustus Howard, New York Post: “For [Biden], it is climate change — not China, Russia, North Korea, or Iran, not an open Southern border — that most threatens the American homeland. … Whatever the scale of man-made climate change, and whatever problems it may pose, the belief that it represents America’s greatest threat is already creating undesirable effects. By returning America to the Paris Climate Agreement, Biden has given China, our true, greatest geopolitical foe, a pure gift. As then-President Donald Trump noted before withdrawing from it, the climate pact allows Beijing to increase carbon emissions for years after the US would be forced to reduce its own. … Climate change fear is but one piece of the left’s overall ideological agenda, the program Biden both represents and serves. But, by the president’s own admission, it is also the central, animating tenet of his foreign and national security policies. Far from realpolitik, Biden offers ideological blindness to the facts on the ground — a recipe for weakness that could prove a true danger to America and the world.”
“Putting Climate Models On Trial” Editorial Board, Issues and Insights: “It’s hot. A number of North American cities have set record-high temperatures. But this is summer and that’s not indisputable evidence that man’s use of fossil fuels is overheating the planet. No matter what the Democrats say, how much the media nag, and how loudly zealots screech, the issue is not settled. … If climate models were on trial – and they should be – that doubt would be magnified by a new post from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, which confirms ‘models may overestimate warming.’ … The inadequacy of climate models is not a new discovery. Even though they’ve been the cornerstone for a host of public policy decisions, especially in California, it’s been known for decades that they are unreliable. … Bad news for the New Green Dealers, good news for reason and science, which is obviously never settled. The findings should force researchers to reevaluate.”
Flag This: Climate Change
Flag Poll: An April poll from the Pew Research Center highlighted how Americans’ attitudes about climate change are extremely nuanced, especially across age groups. For example, “About a third of Gen Zers (32%) and 28% of Millennials say they’ve done something in the past year to address climate change, such as donating money, volunteering, contacting an elected official, or attending a rally or protest.” Moreover, “A majority of Gen Zers (56%) and Millennials (57%) support a move to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles … Roughly two-thirds of Gen Z adults (66%) and Millennials (64%) [also] oppose increasing offshore oil and gas drilling, compared with 46% of Baby Boomer and older adults.” Varied perspectives exist within each political party as well. “For example, Gen Z Republicans are 30 percentage points less likely than Baby Boomer and older Republicans (44% vs. 74%) to favor more hydraulic fracturing, the primary extraction technique for natural gas.”
Flag This: So, where’s the middle ground? This sentence sums up the sentiment perfectly: “Majorities of Americans say the federal government, businesses, and other actors are doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change and express support for a variety of policy approaches aimed at addressing the issue. At the same time, the public has limited appetite for some of the more dramatic proposed changes to energy consumption, such as phasing out the use of fossil fuels entirely or ending the production of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.”
Flag Poll: Climate Change
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