Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming

Patrick Michaels the author of Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media joins Craig to discuss the truth about Global Warming.

There is no politically acceptable technological strategy at this time that would result in a significant change to the warming trajectory that surface temperatures are on.

If every nation on earth lived up to the Kyoto Protocol, the amount of warming that would be “saved” would be 0.07 degrees Celsius per half-century, and amount too small to measure.

Because instruments like Kyoto cost money, they destroy capital that could better be used for investment in future technologies. Ironically, these failing (and failed) attempts to “do” something about warming delay the time by which technologies that may really be effective can be implemented. All invention and distribution of technology requires capital.

Other, much less expensive technologies allows us to live with environmental and climate extremes, and this type of accidental “adaptation” to climate change will continue in the future, as long as, again, the capital is available.

Here’s an example of adaptation: people in hurricane-prone regions build their homes on pilings so that they are not destroyed by the storm surge. As an example, in the North Carolina Outer Banks (which experiences more hurricanes than just about anywhere on earth), used to build without this protection. But when they realized it was the water (not the wind) that was causing damage, they elevated their homes. As a result, visibility has dramatically improved, and many of these homes can see both the ocean (at sunrise) and the Albemarle Sound (sunset). Rental rates approach $15,000 a week in the homes with the best views. Consequently, people adapted to prospective sea-level rises of approximately 12 feet in 30 minutes, a typical strong storm surge. It is therefore strange to think that people can’t adapt to 12 inches of sea level rise over 50-100 years!

Death rates from tornadoes have dropped dramatically with the evolution of weather radar and modern communications. The same applies to flash floods. While the frequency of these events MAY change with warming, the technological adaptation via forecasting and preparation will almost certainly be greater than any climatic change.

Finally, heat-related death rates are dropping dramatically in North American cities. In fact, the more frequent heat waves are, the fewer people die. This is clear evidence of adaptation, as cities warm naturally, with or without global warming, and this warming has been accompanied by a decline in heat-related deaths. The reasons for the decline are infrastructural, technological, and political.

What’s Hot, and What’s Not,” San Diego Union-Tribune (Online), March 11, 2007

Inconvenient Truths,” National Review (Online), February 23, 2007

New Climate for Global Energy Policy,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2007

Live with Climate Change,” USA Today, February 2, 2007

Global Warming: So What Else Is New?,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2007

Patrick Michaels Bio: He is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. Michaels is a contributing author and reviewer of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, Houston Chronicle, and the Journal of Commerce. He holds A.B. and S.M. degrees in biological sciences and plant ecology from the University of Chicago, and he received his Ph.D. in ecological climatology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

About Cato: The Cato Institute is a non-profit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute is named for Cato’s Letters, a series of libertarian pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution. Learn more about Cato and Patrick Michaels by going to


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