George Reisman, Objectivist economist, on “The Alleged Threat of ‘Global Warming,'” from his 1998 book, Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (“A complete and integrated understanding of the nature and value of human economic life”):
Currently, the leading claim of the environmentalists is that of ‘global warming’. It is alleged that man’s economic activities, above all the burning of fossil fuels, are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This will supposedly raise the average mean temperature of the world by several degrees over the next century and will cause a rise in sea levels because of melting ice. …
Perhaps of even greater significance is the continuous and profound distrust of science and technology that the environmental movement displays…The one thing, the environmental movement holds, that science and technology can do so well that we are entitled to have unlimited confidence in them is forecast the weather–for the next hundred years!
It is, after all, supposedly on the basis of a weather forecast that we are being asked to abandon the Industrial Revolution or, as it is euphemistically put, “to radically and profoundly change the way in which we live”–to our enormous material detriment. …
The meaning of this insanity is that industrial civilization is to be wrecked because this is what must be done to avoid bad weather. All right, very bad weather. …
Indeed, it would probably turn out that if the necessary adjustments were allowed to be made, global warming, if it actually came, would prove highly beneficial to mankind on net balance. (pp. 87-89, all emphases in original).
This morning’s New York Times, on “How Hurricane Harvey Became So Destructive“:
Scientists say the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which has been stalled over the Texas Gulf Coast since Friday and dumped more than 20 inches of rain in some areas, were worsened by a lethal confluence of meteorological events: warm water in the Gulf of Mexico that intensified the rainfall, and a lack of winds in the upper atmosphere that could have steered Harvey away from land.
Exacerbating the situation, said Hal Needham, a storm surge expert and founder of the private firm Marine Weather & Climate in Galveston, Tex., was that the storm surge elevated Galveston Bay, blocking drainage of the rain that pummeled coastal and inland areas.
“A two- or three-foot storm surge alone would not have been catastrophic,” Mr. Needham said. “It was all these ingredients coming together.”
And it’s not over.
Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, said the driving rains would continue for another two or three days, pouring an additional 15 to 25 inches over parts of Southeast Texas. Some areas, he said, could see as much as 50 inches of rain.
“This is unprecedented,” he said.
So I guess the experts disagree, right?
The last word, of course, goes to a philosopher:
Any natural phenomenon, i.e., any event which occurs without human participation, is the metaphysically given, and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur; any phenomenon involving human action is the man-made, and could have been different. For example, a flood occurring in an uninhabited land, is the metaphysically given; a dam built to contain the flood water, is the man-made; if the builders miscalculate and the dam breaks, the disaster is metaphysical in its origin, but intensified by man in its consequences. To correct the situation, men must obey nature by studying the causes and potentialities of the flood, then command nature by building better flood controls. (Ayn Rand, “The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made,” in Philosophy: Who Needs It, p. 37).