Tuesday, March 15, 2011


"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

Japan Tsunami
Eighty miles off the eastern shore of Japan, a massive earthquake shook the island nation and slammed it with waves more than thirty feet high. As Japan digs out of the mess and deals with the fires, floods, collapsed buildings, and damaged nuclear reactors, the hearts of the world go out to the people living there. And, in many cases, climate change alarmists could not contain themselves, immediately using this disaster to further their political cause.

At Grist, Christopher Mims wrote a piece immediately after the quake with the headline "Today’s tsunami: This is what climate change looks like." Later he apologized for the headline and changed it to "Does climate change mean more tsunamis?" At Treehugger, Brian Merchant answered with the headline "Yes, Climate Change May Cause More Tsunamis. No That's Not Alarmism." Well, actually, Brian, it is.

Amanda Carey at the Daily Caller pointed out another alarmist who exploited this situation for their favorite cause:
The president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Staffan Nilsson, issued a statement calling for solidarity in tackling the global warming problem.

“Some islands affected by climate change have been hit,” said Nilsson. “Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity — not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming?”

“Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do,” he added.
What is it that prompts some people to instantly link every single event, no matter how contradictory, to global climate change? Why would someone's first response to a horrific tragedy to cry wolf once more? The same reason that Hurricane Katrina's devastation to New Orleans ended up being more about President Bush than about the plight of the survivors and the city's destruction for weeks in the press. Because it is politically useful.

When your worldview is so dominated by a political position, and some of these folks have a nearly monomania about climate change, then that's the first thing you think of when anything happens. As James Lileks put it, "When your world view is made up entirely of round holes, your mind is a lathe that can turn everything into a cylinder."

It isn't that their concern is not genuine or they do not sincerely mean what they say, its that they are so focused on one goal that it overwhelms their sense of what is appropriate or reasonable. Instead of concern over the humans who died, were injured, or lost homes and all they owned in this disaster, they immediately focused on their favorite topic.

The theory, which is not entirely without any scientific merit, is that melting ice sheets remove their weight from the crust, causing it to change shape and send ripples of tectonic displacement, causing more earthquakes. It is unlikely, given the distribution of plates and the variations of crust, not to mention the huge distances involved, that melting ice in the arctic would cause earthquakes in Japan, but the truth is we don't know enough about the topic to conclude one way or the other.

But that's not the real problem here. Whether they're right or wrong - and they're acting as if there never were any earthquakes or tsunamis before Michael "Piltdown" Mann's infamous hockey chart started its uptick - the reaction says a lot more about them than the world or the climate we are living in.

At least they didn't blame the Koch brothers, who seem to be the nexus of all evil for the left these days.

*Hat tip Tim Blair for several links

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