Challenge to Believers in Climate Change

By: hcubed , 5:13 PM GMT on April 15, 2012

The discussion about Global Warming/Climate Change and it's cause has been going on for a while now.

On the one side (the "believers"), are those who think that, while a single weather event cannot be tied to Climate Change, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events is prima facie evidence that man's burning of fossil fuels is the sole driver of those changes. And, if man doesn't drastically reduce their "obsession" with cheap energy, then global catastrophe will follow.

Why did I use "prima facie evidence" to describe the "believers" proof?

Definition: Evidence that (1) establishes a fact but is not a conclusive evidence of its existence, or (2) supports a judgment until contradictory evidence is produced in its rebuttal. Also called presumptive evidence.

As much as they keep bringing up the papers, there is still nothing in them that proves extreme weather events can be tied to the increase in CO2.

Scientists themselves use a statement "Correlation does not imply causation" - a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other (it can indicate possible causes or areas for further investigation; in other words, correlation is a hint).

The opposite belief, correlation proves causation, is a logical fallacy by which two events that occur together are claimed to have a cause-and-effect relationship. The fallacy is also known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for "with this, therefore because of this") and false cause. It is a common fallacy in which it is assumed that because two things or events occur together, one must be the cause of the other.

So to them, Man burns fossil fuels = increased CO2 = every single extreme weather event.

Well, let's correct that slightly - every RECENT weather event.

Problem is, they won't narrow down the range of man's involvement any farther than "since the start of the industrial revolution" (some time after the late 1700's or early 1800's). Using that time period as a start gives them a lot of leeway.

So what about the other side? The "deniers"? I can't speak for all of them, but for me, I think that the Climate has always changed (and there's proof of that), and a single weather event cannot be tied either way to prove or disprove Climate Change.

It's true, there have been an increase in weather events, but those "believers" today tend to either forget or discount equally extreme weather events in the past.

For example, the Queensland Australia floods of 2010/2011, and again in 2012 - compared to the same areas in 1893 and 1974. Which ones were caused by man, and which by natural causes?

So that's the challenge. Give us a month, day and year that the effect of man's burning of fossil fuels overrode the natural drivers of weather. I'm sure there's enough evidence out there to nail down a date.

Tell me that the longest stretch of 100 degree weather in history was in a period of time that man had the greater effect on weather. And, as a side point, if the weather is supposed to get more extreme, explain why that long-standing record still has not been broken.

To get you started, here's the info: Most consecutive days above 100 °F (37.8 °C): 160 days; Marble Bar, Western Australia from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924.

Driven by man, or driven by natural causes?

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).

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