Recently, a story from last June out of British Columbia, Canada, made international news. It was revealed that a hospital doctor who’d been treating people made sick by an extreme heat wave became the first to diagnose “climate change” as the cause of a patient’s illness. He was having an asthma attack aggravated by smoke from a wildfire, which the doctor blamed on increasing heat waves caused by climate change. It gave eco-activists more fuel to pour on the fire (sorry!) of their cause.
But in all the media ballyhoo over the “climate change is now officially a pandemic!” narrative, did anyone bother to ask, “Was that diagnosis accurate, or just propaganda disguised as quackery?” Well, someone finally did.
Meteorologist Anthony Watts of the WattsUpWithThat.com climate change site, dug into the science. Since the diagnosis rested on the assumptions that wildfires are much worse now due to more frequent heat waves and higher temperatures caused by global warming, he examined both of those claims.
In a study called “Was Global Warming The Cause of the Great Northwest Heatwave? Science Says No,” University of Washington meteorology expert Dr. Cliff Mass wrote that “If global warming was producing extreme heat waves in our region, such as the event last week, there would be a long-term trend towards more extreme high temperatures.” But the records show that there had been “NO INCREASING TREND for more record high temperatures over our region during the past century.”
But what about all the worsening wildfires? We hear a lot about those in California, where state officials insist they’re caused by global warming and not incompetent forest management by leftwing state officials. Watts checked NASA satellite data, which shows a long-term decline in wildfires worldwide, with a 25% decrease of burned land area since 2003.
So if there is no increase in heat waves or wildfires, maybe the patient’s asthma attack wasn’t caused by a climate change apocalypse but by the fact that he has asthma and breathed in smoke from a forest fire, which have been happening in the Pacific Northwest since the dawn of time. It didn’t really require Dr. House to diagnose that.
Dr. Mass noted in his report, “A single event does not reflect climate, only a trend or changes in long-term average do.” I shouldn’t have to tell climate activists this, since it’s what they yell at us every time we make a joke about a global warming conference being canceled due to a blizzard (which happens more often than you’d think.) I suspect that’s really why they started calling it “climate change” instead of “global warming.”