Punching Back At Counterpunch’s False Climate Claims

A website called Counterpunch.com ran a story on January 31 saying that we must solve climate change or disaster will befall us. The story is titled, “Solving Climate Change…or Else!” by Stan Cox.

As we’ve written time and again on Climate Realism, these sorts of claims about worsening disasters are easily proven false simply by looking at historical data. The story cites other sources such as the New York Times but has no new information itself. [emphasis, links added]

The story leads with this claim:

In December, the New York Times reported that “Earth is finishing up its warmest year in the past 174 years and very likely the past 125,000.” (Though it’s not the Times’s style, that latter figure should have had a couple of exclamation points after it!)

Furthermore, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s chief scientist, “Not only was 2023 the warmest year in NOAA’s 174-year climate record — it was the warmest by far.”

Then after establishing what they believed to be a record-warm year, they immediately go toward trying to link catastrophes to the warmth in 2023 without any real evidence to support it.

And you don’t have to wait for the distant future to see the impact of such accelerated heating.  Just look at current global data. Comparing 2023 to 2022, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported a worldwide rise of 60% in the number of deaths from landslides, 278% from wildfires, and 340% from storms.

First, the landslides claim. Landslides are not a direct result of climate change but rather are a symptom of weather events, such as excess rainfall saturating the ground and weakening it.

Put simply, weather events are not climate. The following table is from Chapter 12 of the UN IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Page 90 of Chapter 12 Climate Change Information for Regional Impact and Risk Assessment.

It essentially charts the UN IPCC’s assessment of the odds that each type of extreme weather is due to climate change.

Second, the increased wildfires and storms claim made by counterpunch.com are also addressed by the IPCC in the table below.

Table 1 from Page 90 – Chapter 12 of the UN IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. The emergence of Climate Impact Drivers (CIDs) for the present day, 2050, and 2100. The color corresponds to the confidence of the region with the highest confidence: white colors indicate where evidence of a climate change signal is lacking or the signal is not present, leading to overall low confidence of an emerging signal.

As can be seen from the table, there is no evidence of any increase or decrease, globally or by region, in the frequency, severity, or extent of frost, mean precipitation, river floods, heavy precipitation and pluvial floods, landslides, aridity, hydrological drought, agricultural or ecological drought, fire weather or wildfires, mean wind speed, severe wind storms or tornados, tropical cyclones or hurricanes, sand and dust storms, snow glacial or ice sheets, heavy snowfall and ice storms, hail, snow avalanche, relative sea levels, coastal floods, coastal erosion, marine heatwaves, ocean acidity, or air pollution weather.

In addition to no increase in landslides or wildfires, the IPCC states there’s no increase in storms overall.

So, the “increasing disasters” claim made by counterpunch.com is completely nullified because there’s no evidence to support it whatsoever.

As for the claims of the hottest year ever in 2023 going back 125,000 years, that too is false.

A study in 2013 by Marcott, et al. reconstructed temperatures from the present back to 11,300 years ago. Figure 2 shows clearly that temperatures about 9,500 years ago known as the Holocene Climatic Optimum were warmer than present-day.

Figure 2: Temperature and carbon dioxide change during the Holocene. Black curve, global temperature reconstruction by Marcott et al., 2013. Red curve, CO2 levels as measured reported in Monnin et al., 2004. Importantly, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), in the red line, began increasing 8200 years ago even as temperatures, the black line, went down.

Clearly, the author Stan Cox has no significant comprehension of climate data and climate history but prefers to simply regurgitate claims made in other publications as if they were fact.

This lack of attention to detail and facts might explain why even after being online since 1993, counterpunch.com remains virtually unknown.

Read more at Climate Realism

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