Energy & Environment

Debunker: Wildfires, droughts, storms, oh my!

Debunker: Wildfires, droughts, storms, oh my!

In his second inaugural address on Jan. 21, President Obama sought obliquely to defend his failed “green energy” boondoggle as necessary to combat global warming. In an apparent attempt to silence critical thinking, he employed an ad hominem attack, demonizing scientists who dissent from global warming dogma as science-deniers. He also made a naked appeal to emotion, playing on the fear of natural disasters such as wildfires, droughts and storms. These, he implied, are increasing: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”


According to statistics provided by Obama’s own government, none of the president’s claims here are true.

In the United States, recent decades have averaged neither more wildfires per year, nor more average acreage burned per year, than earlier decades. In fact, since the 1970s, the average number of fires per year has fallen by about half, according to five decades of data supplied by the federal government’s National Interagency Fire Center.

Nor is there any evidence of increasing drought in the U.S. Over the 100 years from 1911 to 2010, average annual precipitation didn’t decrease, but actually increased, according to NOAA’s National Climate Data Center.

Likewise, there’s no evidence that major storms in the U.S. are on the increase. Over the 100 years from 1911 to 2010, the number of major hurricanes per decade has actually declined. According to NOAA, during the 50 years from 1911 to 1960, the U.S. averaged 7.8 major hurricanes per decade. During the 50 years from 1961 to 2010, the average declined to 5.2 major hurricanes per decade.

In short, data from agencies of the U.S. government do not support the president’s claims. There’s no evidence of increasing wildfires, droughts, or major storms. In reality, these data show just the opposite: the number of fires (and total acreage burned) is down, precipitation is up, and major hurricanes are down. Catastrophic global warming may or may not be coming; but if it is, these measures don’t prove it. The president’s suggestion that they are undeniable evidence of climate disaster is false.

If anyone is denying the science here, it’s President Obama.




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