Global warmists used to love talking about the weather.
by James Taranto
It's been a slow week for news because it's been a big week for weather. The East Coast is covered in snow, and Time magazine blames global warming. No, seriously: "There is some evidence that climate change could in fact make such massive snowstorms more common, even as the world continues to warm." The New York Times says the same thing, though two-sidedly: "The two sides in the climate-change debate are seizing on the mounting drifts to bolster their arguments."
The Time story notes that climate is not the same thing as weather:
Ultimately, however, it's a mistake to use any one storm--or even a season's worth of storms--to disprove climate change (or to prove it; some environmentalists have wrongly tied the lack of snow in Vancouver, the site of the Winter Olympic Games, which begin this week, to global warming). Weather is what will happen next weekend; climate is what will happen over the next decades and centuries. And while our ability to predict the former has become reasonably reliable, scientists are still a long way from being able to make accurate projections about the future of the global climate.
Wait a minute, "scientists are still a long way from being able to make accurate projections about the future of the global climate"? We thought global warming was settled science, and anyone who doubted it was a knuckle-dragging lackey or handmaid of Big Oil! (Sorry for the mixed metaphors, but at least we're gender inclusive.)
To be sure, the global warmists are right to distinguish between weather and climate. A short-term condition sometimes can run counter to a long-term trend, as when a growing economy goes through a recession, or a generally healthy man suffers an acute illness (though in the long run, we're all dead).
The problem is that for years, global warmists have claimed that the weather proved their claims about the climate. This is a New York Times story from June 24, 1988:
The earth has been warmer in the first five months of this year than in any comparable period since measurements began 130 years ago, and the higher temperatures can now be attributed to a long-expected global warming trend linked to pollution, a space agency scientist reported today.
Until now, scientists have been cautious about attributing rising global temperatures of recent years to the predicted global warming caused by pollutants in the atmosphere, known as the "greenhouse effect." But today Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere.
Dr. Hansen, a leading expert on climate change, said in an interview that there was no "magic number" that showed when the greenhouse effect was actually starting to cause changes in climate and weather. But he added, "It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here."
Breitbart.tv has a collection of clips from the past decade depicting Democratic congressmen blaming global warming for shortfalls of snow. But perhaps the classic of the genre is a piece from the Boston Globe, dated Aug. 30, 2005, which begins: "The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming."
The author, Ross Gelbspan, goes on to blame global warming for "a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles"--something that never happened--along with high winds in Northern Europe, droughts in the American Midwest and Southeastern Europe, rain in India and even a heat wave in Arizona... Read the whole article.
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- Fr. Christopher George Phillips
- Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.