Fine print in White House’s National Climate Assessment gives reasons to doubt National Climate Assessment
**Written by Doug Powers
This week, the White House released an 800-plus page report called the National Climate Assessment — or, “If you like your plan you can keep it” as the title appeared to many.
The report dishes up some heavy doses of fear.
The report is designed to dramatize the supposed immediacy of climate change by concentrating on droughts, floods, heat waves, torrential rains, wildfires, polar-vortex winters and other indicia of the end of days. Everybody “gets” the weather.
But as a marketing exercise, the report has the feel of that infomercial footage of the people who can’t crack an egg or perform routine household tasks until they acquire this or that as-seen-on-TV product. The cautious findings of serious empirical climate literature are so obviously exaggerated and colored that the document is best understood as a political tract with a few scientific footnotes.
For instance, the report’s “overview” summary asserts that “extreme weather events with links to climate change have become more frequent and/or intense,” climate change is already “disrupting people’s lives,” and “this evidence tells an unambiguous story.” Good thing we’ve been building that ark in the backyard.
After cranking up the fear of increasing droughts, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, the report offers some little disclaimers admitting to unsettled science:
But the fine print that few will ever read acknowledges the real uncertainties of something as complex as the planet’s atmosphere. “There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900,” the authors observe. We also learn that “trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively.” And so on.
Even the National Climate Assessment is a National Climate Assessment denier.
The short version of the fine print: “Note: This entire report is probably false. Now let’s pour trillions of dollars into fixing these problems!”
**Written by Doug Powers
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