Planet Earth Al Gore Explains ‘Snowmageddon’: Fox News Story

I was quoted by Gene Koprowski in his Fox News story “Planet Earth Al Gore Explains ‘Snowmageddon’“. (This accounted for the several hundred Google and other search engine redirects to this site from people searching for “dr william m briggs”.)

Apparently, our boy Gore was telling all who would listen that global warming is so evil, so unrepentantly vile, that anything that has gone wrong in the world did so because of climate change. To paraphrase David Stove, Gore didn’t quite say that wooden legs were caused by global warming, but I don’t think he’d like to hear it denied.

Koprowski (also picked up here):

But not surprisingly, some climate-change skeptics are a bit hot under the collar over Gore’s “scientific” explanation.

“Gore’s statement actually indicates a deeper problem — lack of precise predictions,” said Dr. William M. Briggs, a statistician and climate scientist. His research shows that there are no increased weather problems because of global warming, Briggs told

“He’s saying that anything bad that happens must be because global warming caused it. Activists like Gore are great at identifying events after the fact as being caused by global warming, but terrible at predicting them beforehand,” Briggs said.

My research points to world-wide tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons). There is no evidence that these storms have increased in number, intensity or strength, or longevity. In fact, there might have been, over the past decade, a slight decrease in these attributes. But I think that this is well known.

The other argument I make is the better one. It takes no effort to point to untoward events after the fact and say, Jean Dixon-like, “See! More evidence that my theory is right!” If it is true that global warming will cause the Northern Hemisphere to experience cooler temperatures, then say so in advance. Don’t bustle to the cameras after things go wrong if you did not, or could not, say that they would in advance.

Vague predictions like “There will be snowstorms and rumors of snowstorms” do not count and are not evidence that the end is near. Take heed that no man deceive you. It is, after all, perfectly possible to forecast that there will be, say, “15% more snowfall in the 2010-2011 Northern Hemisphere winter”, or that “There will be at least three more Pacific ocean typhoons in 2011 than there were in 2010”, and so forth.

What is absurd is to point to a typhoon/cyclone/hurricane/snow storm after it has occurred and say that, “I could have predicted that if I wanted to. I chose not to because, among other reasons, I was busy. But that storm certainly indicates that my theory of climate change is true.”

Of course, it might be true that this storm was caused by mechanisms consistent with anthropogenic climate change theory; however, since every winter has its share of snowstorms, and that this winter is not unusual compared with history, this latest storm is also consistent with the theory that the climate is insignificantly affected by mankind. The same goes for weather events of other kinds.

It goes for non-events, too. Ever notice how talk of climate change always devolves to the apocalyptic? Floods! Droughts! Floods and droughts simultaneously! Windstorms! Deadly hurricanes! Heat waves! Democrats voting republican! One horror after another. This despite all historical and paleoclimatic evidence that warmer times were better, at least in terms biological.

Why won’t global warming be responsible for a “dramatic” increase in pleasant sunny afternoons? How come we won’t see an “unprecedented” number of warm, laconic evenings? Why won’t there be an “inconvenient” rise in bountiful harvests?

One reason folks like we (me and the regular crew here) are suspicious of global warming public scientists, activists, and miscellaneous proponents is because of their constant sourpuss attitude, their constant predictions of doom, their propensity to focus solely on the negative. They might even be right about all that, but when they tack on suggestions of how the rest of us should live our lives—which usually means surrendering freedom or money or both to government—we feel the winds blowing, all right. We also start feeling for our wallets.


  1. Mike B

    “Why won’t global warming be responsible for a “dramatic” increase in pleasant sunny afternoons?”


  2. Ray

    You would think that if Al Gore is so concerned about AGW he would lead by example. Instead he wants us to walk and live in a hovel while he flies in a private jet and lives in a mansion. It’s just like the high communist party officials in the USSR. The workers paradise wasn’t good enough for them. They had their own stores, restraunts and vacation spots where the workers weren’t allowed.

  3. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
    The dead rising from the grave!
    Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

  4. Don Rodrigo

    I like how warmists have belatedly discovered water vapor. All the time that they went on about CO2, they were told by smarter people that water vapor is a much bigger greenhouse effect constituent than CO2. The mantra on AGW for years predicted widespread catastrophic droughts due to warming (which, frankly, made no sense), but now they’re saying that warming is kicking up more water vapor which then precipitates copiously.

    Incidentally, this “Storm of the Century” was surpassed in volume and severity by a similar one in 1993, which was not given that appellation.

    And one final note (pay special attention to the dates):

    San Jose Mercury News (CA) – June 30, 1989 – 3F General News

    A senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of “eco-refugees,” threatening political chaos, said Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program. He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect…

  5. Papasan

    @Mike D.

    Nicely done with the quote: Gore channeling the ghostbusters.

  6. Noblesse Oblige

    When I was a kid, seemingly unusual weather events were routinely ascribed to nuclear weapons testing. Later it was because men walked on the moon. There seems to be a natural human inclination to assign meaning to randomness, and that meaning always involves something WE are guilty of. Politicians like Gore don’t know any science, but they are smart enough to try to promote their agenda by capitalizing on this basic human trait and its consequent sense of guilt.

    What’s in your wallet? Not much after they are done with it.

  7. Don Rodrigo’s comment above reminded me while googling Matt’s tree-rings post the other day found a decade old item from a Stanford prof re: the ancient Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains in eastern California. It seems certain BCP tree-rings show proof of CO² fertilization. Get that? Fertilization. Oh, golly gee whiz. And all this time I thought the dread compound was evil. Who knew it could also contribute to growth? It’s enough to make AlGore sound even crazier.

  8. I’ve been busy. Maybe you regulars can help me out. I found dozens of typos in Dr. Matt’s paper but only got through page 18. I emailed the corrections to him so that he can fix them and present his paper to the world with pride and dignity. There are quite a few pages left to go. If you get a few free hours, please finish the task. We don’t want our boy parading around without proper attire.

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