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Blogging members of the climate change equivalent to the Flat Earth Society.

While reading Warren’s newly enabled blog comments section in his one post asking about when the Liberal braintrust would go for an election, I came across this entry by one Jay Currie, who in the midst of his discourse, took a shot at Stephane Dion for being a strong advocate/proponent of the Kyoto Protocol and the fight against climate change/global warming:

The coldest winter in a hundred years makes the whole Mr. Kyoto thing look pathetic – but it always did.

Well, I couldn’t let this bit of flat-earth delusion go by without commenting on it, so I thought I’d comment on it as a separate issue about Jay and like-minded climate-change deniers. I know Jay probably isn’t up on reading science reports, so let me enlighten him on how stupid it is to isolate this event as somehow proving global warming must not exist since we’ve had one hard winter. What did the UN’s IPCC have to say about global warming and climate change? This article reminds us of that while talking about the freakish winter that’s hit China right now:

China is experiencing its worst winter in more than 100 years. If the IPCC is right, we can expect increased weather variability. In fact, one author recently said that the term “climate change” does not correctly describe the shifts brought about by global warming. “Climate weirdness” is a much more accurate term.

If you want some examples of this variability and weirdness, look what NASA had to say about January 2008. It was cooler then normal in the Northwestern US, but the northeastern US got into the Top 20 warmest January’s on record. Globally, it was the 31st warmest January on record. The aforementioned China struggled with winter storms, while Australia recorded its warmest January on record (The previous record that it broke was only from 1999). Doesn’t that look like “increased weather variability” and “climate weirdness” to you? I’d say the IPCC report looks pretty accurate at this point, but let’s look at some other science data.

NASA’s global temperature tracking outlet had this to say:

The year 2007 tied for second warmest in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis.

Want more? Here’s another report from another fellow with a lot more expertise then Mr. Currie, dismissing the idea that somehow sunspots are the cause of Earth’s global warming (Jay didn’t use this example over there in this case, but its a popular claim by climate-change skeptics like Jay in trying to explain how sunspots, and not human activity, must be the cause of global warming and is thus temporary and cyclical):

Over the whole sunspot cycle, at most, this would raise the temperature of the Earth on average by 0.2 degrees Celsius, and we are measuring increases much larger than that (not to mention the trend just keeps going up, and doesn’t rise and fall with the sunspot cycle). People who try to tie global warming to the Sun have very little evidence, and what they do have does not come close to explaining the rise in temperature we see on Earth.

So to sum up: freak winter snowstorms in China, the warmest January on record in Australia. Let’s add some other anecdotal observations: a couple of snowfalls in Israel (twice) and in Iraq this year, and the snowiest winter in Ontario in quite awhile (but certainly not the coldest, as Jay claims).

All of that lends credence to the IPCC’s report of “increased weather variability” or “climate weirdness”. The people like Jay who deny climate change make the erroneous assumption that “global warming” must mean everywhere will get warm, when in reality, it means that the Earth will face increased extremes in weather conditions, as the IPCC pointed out. That means extreme cold and extreme moisture in some places as well as extreme warmth and extreme drought in others.

In effect, Jay, and others like him, are using this winter in Ontario/Canada as a strawman argument to somehow suggest that overall, global warming and climate change is a farce, when in reality all he is doing and people like him are doing is cherry-picking the facts, while not seeing or totally ignoring the big picture – whether on ignorance or on purpose isn’t clear, but to somehow point at a snowy and in some places cold couple of months in 2008 in Canada as somehow proving global warming or climate change is a sham makes Jay and people like him look ridiculous, not Kyoto.

Fortunately for the world, a large majority of people live in the reality-based community, and realize that trying to cherry-pick facts and waving our arms in the air isn’t going to make the problem go away. Global warming and climate change are established fact – period. It appears the only people who oppose this reality are supporters of Big Oil or ultra-capitalists who don’t want a “socialist scheme” (to quote Stephen Harper on Kyoto) taking away some of their ability to make big profits, while the planet and its people and its ecology suffers.

8 comments to Blogging members of the climate change equivalent to the Flat Earth Society.

  • mike h

    First let me say that I believe that climate change is real. What I do not believe is the doomsday scenarios that I hear. Also there is no 100 percent foolproof science that everyone agrees on what is causing it. I do think that green house gases from burning fossil fuels  are a contibuting factor but again there is no 100 percent proof as to how much. So what do we do about it. Yes we should be cutting back. Not just us but the whole global community. If it is only us that takes action then our efforts are useless unless we can figure out a way to prevent airborn pollutants from dropping on our soil that have foreign origins. Lets face it. SUZUKI is a hypocryte of the biggest kind next to AL Gore..they sit there on there high horses and preach to every one to do there part yet Suzuki rides around in his diesel bus that spews more toxins than most vehicles..and al gore with his jet that has been proven to be onee of the worst jets as far as carbon footprints goes. and we also need to realize that the other planets that are close to the sun are warming also so what is the real cause? No one knows.

  • Ti-Guy

    No, I meant concerted action.  That’s why I wrote that.

  • ALW

    Concerted action? You mean coerced action.

  • Ti-Guy

    Oh, okay then. You were saying something about straw men

    Followed shortly by:

    …That said, there are two groups who oppose these "socialist schemes"
    One is the group that believe climate change is real, but simply question the doomsday scenarios being peddled by the David Suzuki crowd

    It’s not that Aaron is always so wrong….it’s the amount of energy he puts into making uncompelling arguments while simultaneously criticising the structure of other people’s arguments.

    He’d be making a more productive use of his time if he’d bother referring to the rich, scientific and rigorously documented data that proves that <i>laissez faire</i> is superior to any kind of concerted action.

  • ALW

    It appears the only people who oppose this reality are supporters of Big Oil or ultra-capitalists who don’t want a “socialist scheme” (to quote Stephen Harper on Kyoto) taking away some of their ability to make big profits, while the planet and its people and its ecology suffers.

    Oh, okay then. You were saying something about straw men?

    I don’t know whether climate change is real or not.  There’s certainly enough evidence to suggest it probably is.  And that should be enough to force people to take it seriously, since the risk of gambling it’s not real and doing nothing about it would be catastrophic.

    That said, there are two groups who oppose these "socialist schemes" that you don’t give any credit to.  One is the group that believe climate change is real, but simply question the doomsday scenarios being peddled by the David Suzuki crowd – and they are suspicious of the likes of Suzuki for precisely the same reason the Suzuko crowd is suspicious of Big Oil: because accepting the worst case scenarios conveniently fits the political agenda of eco-extremists, just as pretending climate change isn’t real suits Big Oil.

    The other is the group that believes climate change is real, but simply doesn’t believe the government regulatory approach to solving environmental problems will work (or work as well at market-based approaches). Bjorn Lomborg falls into this category.

  • quinsam

    Those of us who are old enough to remember winters in southern Ontario when 2 feet of snow in one dump wasn’t all that remarkable, when blizzards lasted for days and everything in the city was shut down for a week or more, when grocery stores were empty because delivery trucks couldn’t get through, when children weren’t allowed outside because they would be swallowed up in the 3-4 foot snowdrifts, we have to laugh at all the hue and cry about the ‘harsh’ winter this year. 

    This winter has actually been quite unremarkable over the long term.  It’s just that over the past 30 or so years global warming has made it seem that winter is just a somewhat colder version of summer.

  • The Fwanksta

    Thank you so much for that.

  • It’s common in the GW denialist community to claim that certain things are "hidden" or "not accounted for" in the multitude of studies on GW. Although I am sure that the central hacks pushing the anti-GW criticisms very much do know the truth and simply lie (using the same strategy and even the same PR firms which worked for the tobacco industry when they were still tryign to disprove the tobacco-cancer link), most of the denialist crowd parrot the propaganda without looking at the source documentation.

    Some of what is argued is just blatantly wrong.

    For example, when it was found that certain glaciers where getting thicker, this was pointed out by denialists as evidence that GW is not accurate, even though the study which was claimed by the denialists to not account for the thickening actually specifically claimed that the glaciers would get thicker for a while as warming increased. (I believe this is because warmer air holds more water, which results in more snowfall, and thus thicker glaciers.) Of course, the long term projection is that the melt rate catches up and surpasses the rate of thickening. And, of course, glaciers can get thicker while getting shorter.

    But, no. The denialist community simply lied and claimed that the study failed to predict this.

    And, yes, I laboriously read the study.

    It’s so much easier to be ignorant, and to pass along lies. You don’t sweat over accuracy.

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