Last week, I drove to College Station to talk with Andy Dessler about the renewed firestorm over global warming. This was the week before actual firestorms roared across Central Texas, killing four people, burning 1,000 homes, and forcing thousands to evacuate. The punishing drought played a major role in the wildfire outbreak, the worst in Texas history, and Dessler says there’s an unmistakable connection between the drought and climate change.
“We can’t say climate change is causing the extreme weather Texas is having right now. On the other hand, we can say humans have increased the temperature of the base climate state pretty much everywhere. And what that means is it makes the heat more extreme and increases evaporation from the soil. We can be confident we’ve made this hellish summer worse than it would have been.”
Dessler is not surprised anymore by the vehemence of the emails he receives from people who believe he is perpetrating a fraud.
“People who discount the science of climate change don’t do it because they’ve read the science,” he says. “The science of climate change is a proxy for views on the role of government. From what I understand, Perry’s position is that he doesn’t want government to interfere in private lives or industry. That means climate change — which calls for a government solution; there’s no way for the free market to address climate change by itself — that doesn’t fit anywhere with his political values. So he shoots the messenger.”
The messenger is Andy Dessler and the great majority of other climate scientists who believe human activity is warming the planet.
h/t to Tom Nelson