NYT Editor: ‘Humans Helped Cause’ Hurricane Harvey

New York Times columnist and editor David Leonhardt published an op-ed Tuesday claiming global warming “almost certainly” made Hurricane Harvey worse.

Leonhardt even argues we need to get rid of the “fussy over-precision” — also known as science — that keeps experts from linking individual weather events to man-made global warming.

“The severity of Harvey, in other words, is almost certainly related to climate change,” David Leonhardt wrote in his op-ed.

“Yes, I know the sober warning that’s issued whenever an extreme weather disaster occurs: No individual storm can be definitively blamed on climate change,” he continued. “It’s true, too. Some version of Harvey probably would have happened without climate change, and we’ll never know the hypothetical truth.

“But it’s time to shed some of the fussy over-precision about the relationship between climate change and weather,” Leonhardt wrote

Many scientists caution against linking individual weather events to global warming since the science of “attribution” is in its infancy.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists noted in a recent report it’s “premature to conclude that human activities … have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.”

On a broader context, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century.”

Climate scientists have already criticized Leonhardt’s op-ed tying Harvey to global warming.

But Leonhardt persisted, arguing an “answer starts with getting real about climate change, which is the main reason storms are doing more damage than in the past.”

(NOTE: This is demonstrably false. Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. has done reams of work debunking this claim)

“We don’t display the same fussiness in other important areas,” Leonhardt wrote. “No individual case of lung cancer can be definitively linked to smoking, as Heidi Cullen, the chief scientist at Climate Central, notes. Few vehicle accidents can be definitely linked to alcohol, and few saved lives can be definitively linked to seatbelts.”

Pielke, Jr. also took issue with this claim by Leonhardt.

“Obviously, some extreme weather events are unrelated to climate change,” Leonhardt wrote. “But a growing number appear to be related, including many involving torrential rain, thanks to the warmer seas and air.”

Leonhardt was building off arguments presented by climate scientists Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth that while global warming did not “cause” Harvey, it may have made it worse due to sea level rise and higher atmospheric moisture content from a warmer ocean.

Climate scientist Roger Pielke, Sr. noted that while the Gulf of Mexico was above average temperature for this time of year, it wasn’t up by that much.

Climate scientist Judith Curry took issue with those claiming a link between Harvey and global warming.

“Anyone blaming Harvey on global warming doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” Curry wrote in a recent blog post.

Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, bringing record rainfall and widespread flooding.

Harvey quickly weakened to a tropical storm once over land, but idled, dumping more than 11 trillion gallons of water over the greater Houston area. Rescuers evacuated thousands of people from flooded homes, and at least eight people have died.

Read more at Daily Caller

Comments (5)

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    So how many americans still realy read the New York Slimes(All the Sludge thats Fit to Print)anymore The Old Grey Hag has become more and more unstable since Trump was elected

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    I’ve got news for
    David Leonhardt :

    Humans will help cause the demise of the

  • Avatar



    Katrina, Sandy and Harvey are all unique weather events. Each can be explained by meteorologists. If the Warmists want to claim that CO2 made them worse, the onus is on THEM to demonstrate how.

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    David Retread would be as accurate in stating all the trees the NYTimes
    has consumed to produce a 15 minute product is the cause of climate change .
    If I was a NY Times shareholder I would be PO’d that the senior manglement is intent on running the NT Times into the ground .
    You know when they can’t apply principles of journalism any longer even the sports scores are in doubt.
    JAYPEE has it right . Humans will take down the NY Times in their absents .
    What caused all the hurricanes prior to the model T . NY Times deforestation ? Grow up NY Times before you are extinct .

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover


    If it had happned now the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald would be balmed on Global Warming and Climate Change the sinking of the TITANIC would be blamed on Global Warming/Climate Change becuase the Green Nuts never stop falling from the Green Nut Tree

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