LETTERS: A response to the claims that writer’s climate assertions unfounded

Speculation is not evidence

To the Expositor: 

I respond to a letter in the November 21, 2018 edition of this paper written by Kamarad Klein’s very own Commissary for The Island (Page 5).

First there is this: “I could not find confirmation of his statement that the US National Hurricane Centre suggests no increase in the frequency or intensity of hurricanes…etc.” Perhaps I can help with the search. Try entering ‘NOAA Hurricane Research Division, Continental US Hurricane Impacts/Landfalls 1851 – 2017.’ In case this proves to be a challenge, here is a summary. For the period 1851 to 2017, the US averaged approximately six type 3+ hurricanes per decade. For the last five decades, the average number per decade has been four, five, five, seven and two so far this decade for an average of five excluding this decade. Hence my claim that hurricane landfalls are declining somewhat and there is zero evidence to support a claim that hurricane numbers are on the rise.

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The Commissary also could not find what he says he looked for in the IPCC special report on extreme weather events. Again, I will assist by providing a few salient statements from IPCC AR5 Chapter 2 as follows:

“Current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. No trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the last 100 years in the North American basin.”

“There continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”

The report also comments on drought, hail, thunderstorms etc. with no increasing trends.

All this is evidence to support my claim. What I get in response from the Commissary is the following – “recent studies suggest global warming may act to increase tropical cyclone activity…etc.” There is a word to describe these types of studies. The word is speculation. Evidence vs. speculation, note the difference!

I have enjoyed listening to a number of online lectures by Steven Pinker, a Canadian and professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. In one of these sessions during a Q&A, he was asked to comment on the intolerance of the Left for ideas that do not conform to left wing orthodoxy. For example, if an individual associated with the environmental movement expresses a view that nuclear energy is a viable option for energy production, this person is immediately branded as right wing since the orthodoxy is that all Lefties are supposed to oppose nuclear power and support renewables. His response to the issue was, “there is this mythical place called the Left Pole. Just as when you are at the North Pole, all directions are South, the Left Pole is a mythical place from which all directions are Right.” Any opinion that doesn’t conform to left wing orthodoxy is branded as right wing or even more serious, far right. If the view expressed is particularly heinous to Left Wing sensitivities, then the offender is obviously alt-right. And we also have the Commissary handing out neoliberal and quasi-neoliberal tags like a cannabis stoked reveller slings beads at the Mardi Gras. What a sad state of affairs! I’m sure that the normal people on the Left would agree that there is every reason to discuss issues like climate without the vitriol that we witness in far too many exchanges.

This just in: NOAA Storm Prediction Center has just released data indicating that the 2018 tornado count was the lowest in 65 years since record keeping began. More evidence!

Shane Desjardins