Climate Activists Claim Leaves Falling Earlier, Denying Their Previous Claims

Climate activists are raising alarm this weekend with claims that climate change is making autumn leaves change color earlier and drop to the ground earlier. These claims, however, contradict their longstanding claims that climate change is resulting in exactly the opposite – later color change and later leaf drop.

CNN published an article typical of what the corporate media are publishing this weekend. The CNN article is titled, “Trees are losing their leaves earlier because of climate change.” Reporting on a speculative newly published study in the journal Science, the CNN story claims, “Increases in spring and summer productivity that come as a result of elevated carbon dioxide, temperature and light levels actually drive trees to lose their leaves earlier, the experts found.”

Just last year, however, Yale Climate Connections published an article claiming, “As temperatures warm, the fall season has been delayed.” The article added, “As the climate has warmed during the past few decades, the onset of fall colors across much of the Northern Hemisphere has been delayed. In the eastern United States, fall foliage arrives an average of two weeks late compared to the 1980s and 1990s….”

So, which is it?

Even if we side with the newer Science study, based on it being more recent, the Science study predicts leaves will change color and fall to the ground merely 3-to-6 days earlier each year by the end of the century.

That hardly seems like a climate crisis.

In the end, however, it doesn’t really matter whether leaves will turn color and fall to the ground earlier or later in future decades. Either way, climate activists will say they correctly predicted it all along.

James Taylor
James Taylor
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.

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