New York City Gets a Taste of the Precautionary Principle

January 28th, 2015 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The New England blizzard that hit yesterday infamously missed its primary target: New York City. In fairness to the forecasters, there were as many weather model forecasts supporting an historic NYC storm as there were just a significant snowstorm.

For areas well east of NYC, this snowstorm storm (dubbed “Juno” by The Weather Channel) was remarkably similar to Snowstorm Nemo (remember him?) that hit approximately the same area during Feb. 8-9, 2013, with peak accumulations of about 3 feet and peak winds over 70 mph.

But the NYC mayor overreacting to the storm with subway closures and orders to stay off the streets and sidewalks is, ultimately, counterproductive.

Overwarning Leads to Complacency
Whether it’s weather warning, or warning of what global warming will do to us, it creates a “crying wolf” situation. What happens when a real crisis arises if every snowstorm is painted as the worst crisis?

Similarly, will scientists be believed anymore after decades of failed predictions regarding overpopulation, global crop failures, global cooling, global warming, etc.?


Overwarning Leads to Reduced Economic Activity
When people can’t provide goods and services for each other, poverty results. Poverty, in turn, is just a step away from early death.

A storm (or just the threat of a storm) might disrupt economic activity for a day or two, but years of economic downturn will result from politicians forcing everyone to pay more for everything just so that boutique energy sources (mostly wind and solar) line the pockets of crony capitalists.

People who claim that “whether the global warming science is right or wrong we should still embrace renewable energy” don’t understand basic economics, the obscene cost of those energy sources, and the immense scale of global energy demand.

It’s like saying that shutting down NYC every time there is the threat of bad weather is the right thing to do, anyway. You know…just to be on the safe side.

We could call it the ‘Precautionary Principle’.

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