Did Global Warming Cause the Air France Crash?


from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux

This letter (below), published in today’s edition of USA Today, is a perfect specimen of the sloppy, ‘the-facts-must-fit-my-pet-theory’ thinking of many persons who worry about climate change:

Speculation has blossomed concerning the causes of the loss of Air France Flight 447 (“Wreckage yields clues in jet crash,” News, Thursday).

It would be irresponsible to get ahead of evidence, but important factors are emerging. First, some experts blame global warming for the increased severity and frequency of hurricanes (most of which originate at latitudes within 5 to 15 degrees of the equator). Second, the flight appears to have passed through a band of equatorial megastorms. Finally, levels of turbulence in such storms are being investigated in the crash.

Perhaps the memorial service in Paris will be recognized as the first for airline victims of global warming.

Richard Danforth – Seneca, S.C.

Note that I am not here saying that global warming isn’t occurring.  What I am saying is that anyone who would, presumably with a straight face, leap to the conclusion that Mr. Danforth leaps to is someone not interested in serious thinking about this subject.

Suppose, for example, that I wrote that “some experts blame” government regulation for creating greater safety hazards for consumers, and then concluded that the crash of the Air France jet was likely the result of government regulation.  Clearly, such a conclusion — even tentatively stated — would be absurd.

It’s also telling that a major newspaper thought that this letter is fit to print on something other than the comics page.

And, in this beautiful irony, on the same day that Mr. Danforth’s letter appears in USA Today, this report appears in the Washington Post — a report arguing that global warming (by reducing the differences in air pressure between each of the two poles and the equator) is reducing the globe’s average wind speeds.

……

Global warming really is blamed for all sorts of things.

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