Let’s Hold Global Warming Forecasters Accountable… Brazilian-Style, by Tom Randall

According to the Detroit Free Press,1 Luiz Carlos Austin, a television meteorologist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is facing criminal charges and a possible six month jail sentence.

His crime: a bad weather forecast.

Austin had predicted severe weather in Rio for the New Year’s Eve holiday. The bad weather never occurred, but only two million people came to the city to celebrate – less than in previous years. Rio’s mayor blamed the low turnout on the inaccurate weather forecast, so he brought a criminal charge against Austin.


A weather-guesser gets his just desserts.

How many of us have been victimized by practitioners of the “science” of meteorology? Outside my office window a near-blizzard is in progress. Earlier in the week meteorologists predicted that today would be sunny. These things happen all the time. That’s why so much of every television weather forecast is about what the weather was and is, not what it is going to be. Gives the weather-guessers something to be right about.

Now, what about climate-guessers?

Climate-guessers are those gloom-and-doomers that make up the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change – the folks who persistently try to scare the public with fears of “global warming.” The IPCC doesn’t just try to tell you what the weather is going to be for the weekend. No, no.

These folks are trying to tell us what the weather is going to be for the next century… even longer. They’ve been at it for at least 25 years.

First it was global cooling… headed for a new ice age… now it’s global warming… the earth is going to get two degrees warmer… no, four degrees… 10 degrees… 10.2 degrees. The oceans are going to rise six inches… no, a foot… two feet… all of Manhattan and Los Angeles will be flooded… hmmm.

Truth is, the climate-guessers have never, through all their ever-changing predictions, been right. None of their global warming predictions have ever been right.

In these forecasts, the lower atmosphere, known as the troposphere, was supposed to warm first. It hasn’t. Careful measurements made on NASA balloons and satellites have shown no warming.

How have the climate-guessers run up such a stunning record of failure? The same way as the weather-guessers on TV. They use computer models. The only difference is that weather-guessers have some real data in their computers and the climate-guessers are working with unproven theories.

Luiz Carlos Austin is looking at a possible six months in the pokey for getting about a week’s weather forecast wrong and costing Rio some tourist dollars. The climate-guessers are repeatedly blowing forecast after forecast covering more than 100 years worth of weather.

I figure that the failed global warming forecasters are making mistakes covering a period 5,200 times as long as Austin’s mistake, not counting leap years. Austin’s looking at a six-month sentence, so by this scale the failed global warming forecasters should be looking at 2,600-year sentences.

If this seems excessive, keep in mind that the mistakes being made by the global warming forecasters would, if they have their way, cost the public a lot more than 5,200 times what Rio’s weatherman cost Rio. The U.S. government’s Energy Information Agency says, after all, that the global warming treaty they support would require the U.S. to cut back on its energy use by as much as 40 percent from current usage levels, which could throw between 1.5 and 3.2 million Americans out of work, raise electric utility bills by 86 percent and add an extra 66 cents to the price of gasoline.2 What’s more, a report commissioned by the Black Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and four other minority groups estimated that the Kyoto treaty would diminish the earnings of 25 million African-American and Hispanic workers by 10 percent and cost 864,000 African-Americans and 511,000 Hispanics their jobs.3

Plus, one way or another, the global warming forecasters would be eligible for parole long before 2,600 years went by, so the sentence isn’t as harsh as it seems at first.

Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Department of Justice are pretty busy these days dealing with terrorism. And, obviously, dealing with terrorism must be this country’s most noble and urgent calling. But, Mr. Ashcroft, when you do get some time, you might look toward an appropriate resolution the global warming issue – Brazilian style.


Tom Randall is the Director of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs of the John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs of The National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC. 


1 Susan Ager, “Crystal Ball is Attractive, But Fragile,” Detroit Free Press, January 8, 2002.
2 “Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol on the United States,” Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC, October 1998.
3 “Study Says Global Warming Treaty Will Hurt U.S. Minorities,” Associated Press, July 6, 2000.

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