Beto Says U.S. to Blame for Guatemala Drought, Not God or 'Mother Nature'

Beto O'Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, Texas, knows for certain that Guatemala's drought is the result of carbon emissions more than one thousand miles away. He knows for certain that neither God nor Mother Nature is responsible for the drought because ... science!

"And Guatemala suffering one of the greatest droughts in their recorded history, caused not by God nor by Mother Nature, but by you and me and all of us and our emissions and our excesses and our inaction in the face of the facts and the science and the truth," O'Rourke told the crowd at the College of Charleston in South Carolina Monday evening.

While climate alarmist declarations like this are anything but new, O'Rourke's audacity in this brief statement is truly astounding. He claimed to know that neither God nor nature played a role in the Guatemala drought. He did not just insist that manmade climate change may have played some role. No, he insisted that it was the exclusive cause.

He further went on to castigate Americans for still burning fossil fuels "in the face of the facts and the science and the truth." Yet the science is not nearly as unanimous as climate alarmists frequently say. For example, the claim that 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing devastating climate change is a blatantly false misrepresentation of the scientific literature.

That 97 percent figure comes from the Cook study, which notoriously misrepresented the scientific literature. The study analyzed all published peer-reviewed academic research papers from 1991 to 2011 that use the terms "global warming" or "global climate change." Of the nearly 12,000 papers analyzed, the study discounted 7,930 — 66.4 percent — because they allegedly did not state a position. Then the study added up the papers it claimed endorsed man-made climate change and the papers it claimed opposed man-made climate change, and found that 97 percent of the papers that stated a position favored global warming.

But here's the kicker: many scientists whose papers were included in the study complained that the papers were misinterpreted as supporting man-made global warming when they did not.

Similarly, when climate alarmists ran a study of the impacts of "climate deniers" in the media, they found that 78 percent of the "climate contrarians" — whom they contrasted with "climate scientists" — had published papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Activists used this study to demand the media stop taking "deniers" seriously, but the study showed that there are still many scientists who disagree with the official narrative.

This is remarkable, considering the groupthink now dominating the climate science field. In January 2017, Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, resigned, calling out the alarmist ideology that increasingly dominates her field.

"I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science," Curry wrote. "Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc. How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide."

Earth's climate system is complex, and many climate alarmist predictions have failed because even if human carbon emissions are causing global warming, the precise impact is almost impossible to measure. Even if carbon emissions were the sole cause of climate change, China emitted nearly twice the amount the U.S. did in 2015.

Beto O'Rourke needs some humility on this topic. The science is far from "settled," and it is extremely likely that "Mother Nature" has far more to do with the drought in Guatemala than U.S. carbon emissions. As a Christian, I think God has more than a little to do with the situation, as well.

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.