The Globe Is Not Warming

February 16, 2009

Phew!! And I was really worried there for a while. But thankfully George F. WIll, who we all know is an intellectual and therefore could never think absolutely crazy and idiotic things, says there’s no global warming. Take that all you smarty-pants MIT eggheads!

Wait – Reality just called. Apparently the globe IS warming. Whom shouId I believe now, George F. Will or Reality? Reality’s not on Stephanopolous every week. I’m going with George Will.

Ezra Klein, among others, is pissed off:

“Will makes a lot of the 1975 Newsweek cover on the subject, but the more telling document is a National Academy of Sciences report from the same year. The report argued that climate change is the product of many potential forces and the state of the science wasn’t yet advanced enough to discern which would prove decisive. To put it in the NAS’s own words, ‘we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate.’ As such, they recommended ‘a major new program of research designed to increase our understanding of climatic change and to lay the foundation for its prediction.’

For comparison, we can read the National Academy of Science’s 2008 report ‘Understanding and Responding to Climate Change’ (a very useful paper, incidentally, and available for free download). There we find that ‘the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to begin taking steps to prepare for climate change and to slow it. Human actions over the next few decades will have a major influence on the magnitude and rate of future warming. Large, disruptive changes are much more likely if greenhouse gases are allowed to continue building up in the atmosphere at their present rate.’

In other words, comparing apples to apples, the scientific community didn’t believe in global cooling and does believe in global warming. Sadly, our political pundits have outsourced their scientific research to an intern charged with a superficial skim of Newsweek covers.”

Steve Benen’s even more so:

“George Will, who has always presented himself as something of an intellectual among the conservative chattering class, seems to be struggling a bit now that there’s a Democratic president. Some of his recent columns have varied between wrong and bizarre.

This week, Will rejects the scientific consensus on climate change…These points might be compelling, if they were in any way accurate. The problem, of course, is that they’re completely wrong.

Will is simply wrong about the ‘cooling’ data from the 1970s, wrong about the research conducted by the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, and wrong about the reports from the U.N. World Meteorological Organization.”

Read Benen’s article – he backs his claims up with lots of facts and good references.

Look, here’s the bottom line: global warming is REAL and it is caused by HUMAN ACTIVITY. There is utter consensus on this within the scientific community. The consequences of this could very likely be dire. The scientific evidence supporting this is solid and, among scientists, largely uncontroversial.

And just for good measure, because it’s Darwin’s 200th birthday: Evolution is REAL. It is THE most fundamental tenet of modern biology. It is supported by a mountain of evidence and is virtually unquestioned among scientists. All life on Earth shares a common ancestry, INCLUDING HUMANS. Darwin’s basic ideas from 150 years ago have been built on, tested, and supported by voluminous data. His basic proposal of evolution has been filled in with details on how traits are inherited, the molecular biological mechanisms that account for this, and the developmental biology that explains how genes are expressed.

The right-wing nuts need to stop playing snake-oil salesman and give up on denying scientific findings they consider to be inconvenient. It’s unfortunate that there are many people out there who are ignorant, naive, or uneducated enough to believe their crazy talk over the entire scientific community and, let’s face it, common sense.

I find it very difficult to believe, though, that George F. Will is so stupid as to not be able to check with scientific sources about global warming. I also find it hard to buy that he made so many factual errors in his article by accident (and, btw, where are the editors these days for the WaPo editorial page??).

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