Getting heat on global warming

Rarely does an ombudsman column rate blogging.  This one, by Andrew Alexander of the Washington Post, does.

The short form:

“Will’s Feb. 15 column, headlined “Dark Green Doomsayers,” ridiculed “eco-pessimists” and cited a string of “predicted planetary calamities” that Will said have never come to pass.

A key paragraph, aimed at those who believe in man-made global warming, asserted: “According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.”

The column triggered e-mails to The Post from hundreds of angry environmental activists and a few scientists, many asserting that the center had said exactly the opposite.”

Now, reasonable people can disagree on controversial topics and spinning facts is nothing new, particularly where global warming is concerned.  However…

“The ruckus grew when I e-mailed readers who had inquired about the editing process for Will’s column. My comments accurately conveyed what I had been told by editorial page editor Fred Hiatt — that multiple editors had checked Will’s sources, including the reference to the Arctic Climate Research Center. Although I didn’t render a judgment, my response was understandably seen as an institutional defense and prompted an orchestrated e-mail campaign in which thousands demanded that The Post correct Will’s “falsehoods.” Like they say when the pro football rookie gets clobbered: “Welcome to the NFL.””

The kicker?  These “outraged demands” were frequently identical in language and form, suggesting a lemming-like campaign, rather than honest outrage over an alleged mis-statement of fact.  The debate was marked more with smug sniping than rational discourse, a hallmark of pretty much any debate over global coolingglobal warmingclimate change.

In the end, if one reads the source Will claimed, it was something of a push.  While there has been some localized loss of ice in the Northern Hemisphere, the sea-ice levels on a global basis approximate the level of sea ice in 1979.  A sharp practice, perhaps, but within the bounds of accuracy for a debate.  Too bad the eco-extremists demand conformity to doctrine and eschew debate.

About thirty five years ago, the “climate Cassandras” preached the coming ice age.  When that failed to materialize, the shifted global warming… which, looking out my window, may not necessarily come to fruition.  Nowadays, however, they call it “climate change” and, when they acknowledge doubts, claim that the risk is sufficiently high that we should act as if it were a certainty, relying upon fear over fact to make their arguments.

Now *where* have we seen *that* before?

1 reply
  1. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    When you have the political ignoramuses (ignorami?) in charge of doling out the money to the scientists, the scientists fall into line or don't get funding.  That is not consensus, it is really more a type of censorship.  Or maybe a consensus to ride this out and keep getting funding by saying what the pursestring holder want them to say.

    Here is the money line:  "The column triggered e-mails to The Post from hundreds of angry environmental activists and a few scientists,…"

    The only place the "climate" is not changing is on the moon, where there is no atmosphere.

    We are currently in an interglacial period.  That means "between glacial periods" for you Obama voters.  It is supposed to be warmer, and the future holds another glacial period, CO2 or not.  In fact, added greenhouse gasses might actually help delay or offset the next glacial period, which, if you can imagine ice a MILE thick over your head here in New England, may not be such a bad thing.

    Why do I say that you ask?

    During the last interglacial period, roughly 121K years ago, the mean sea level was 4-6 meters, not centimeters, above todays levels (Rohling et al., Nature Geoscience 1, 38 – 42 (2008)).  The indicate that this warming period was do to "orbital insolation" which means solar influences, which are indicated to change in roughly 100K year cycles, also giving us the current interglaciation period.  It also means we are poised to enter another glaciation period.  In fact, we are probably late! 

    Thank you, global warming!

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