Shortly before Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, meteorologist and climate writer Eric Holthaus unleashed a Twitter torrent confessing his depression about the new president. Holthaus admitted he was seeing a counselor due to his “climate despair” and whimpered that it was difficult to work or do much of anything.
“We don’t deserve this planet,” Holthaus tweeted. “There are (many) days when I think it would be better off without us.”
But Hurricane Harvey has apparently boosted Holthaus’ spirits. He is working at a feverish pace now, churning out a number of “I-told-you-so” articles and interviews. By Monday, Holthaus had already penned an overwrought article for Politico, where he wags a literary finger at us:
We knew this would happen, decades ago. We knew this would happen, and we didn’t care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible: Harvey is what climate change looks like. More specifically, Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn’t want to take climate change seriously.
There was more back-patting: “If we don’t talk about the climate context of Harvey, we won’t be able to prevent future disasters and get to work on that better future. Those of us who know this need to say it loudly.”
Nothing like a devastating Category 4 hurricane to cure those climate blues!
Of course, Holthaus is not alone. Before the first raindrops started to fall in Houston, climate activists and their propagandists in the media were already blaming Harvey on man-made global warming. But that wasn’t enough. President Trump, his voters, and the Republican Congress are also culpable. Oliver Willis, a writer for the anti-Trump website Shareblue, suggested via several tweets Sunday morning that the hurricane could have been avoided had we listened to Al Gore, honored the Paris Climate Accord, and elected Hillary Clinton:
if only someone had entered into an international agreement designed to reduce pollution and push back on extreme weather pic.twitter.com/S04M8s6Lnr
Even though some cooler heads in the scientific community cautioned against politicizing the hurricane while people were losing their lives, homes, and every possession, activists and the media would hear nothing of it. They persisted. Pope Francis even got in on the action, calling for a world day of prayer for the care of creation: “We appeal to those who have influential roles to listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer the most from ecological imbalance.”
It’s impossible to catalog all the ridiculous comments and accusations made over the past week, so a few highlights will have to suffice. In a CNN.com article, Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor and regular climate scold, demanded the resignation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott over the hurricane: “Once the immediate crisis ends, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, should resign with an apology to his state and his country. Then the Texas delegation in Congress should make a public confession. They have lied to their constituents for too long, expecting the rest of America to keep bailing them out.” Sachs called Texas a “moral hazard state” (he must have missed all the amazing videos of Texans helping each other regardless of color or political persuasion) because “Houston is an oil town, and the American oil industry has been enemy No. 1 of climate truth and climate preparedness.” Despicable.
Some cheered the devastation. George Monbiot, a particularly noxious climate writer for The Guardian, implied Houston deserved what it got:
The storm ripped through the oil fields, forcing rigs and refineries to shut down, including those owned by some of the 25 companies that have produced more than half the greenhouse gas emissions humans have released since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Hurricane Harvey has devastated a place in which climate breakdown is generated, and in which the policies that prevent it from being addressed are formulated.
Cenk Uyger, co-host of a YouTube news roundtable called “The Young Turks” (he’s not so young, as it happens), best represented the unintellectual and unscientific view of the climate cult when he said this on Monday:
So, if you’re one of those snowflakes who is going to get triggered when I say this has to do with climate change, go ahead and cry right now. If you’re gonna say it’s too say it’s too soon, I’m gonna say it’s too late. It’s not too soon to talk about climate change, we should have talked about it a long time ago so these storms wouldn’t be this severe. If you are a knucklehead who doesn’t understand science, and you say, oh well we used to have storms like this before, that doesn’t answer anything.
Alrighty, then. After we clear away the bluster, blame, and political posturing, what does the science say? Despite warnings after Hurricane Katrina that huge storms would increase in the near future, it has been 12 years since a major hurricane hit the U.S. mainland, and Harvey is only the fourth Category 4 or 5 hurricane since 1970. Between 1929 and 1969, the United States suffered through 14 storms of that magnitude.