@ March 4, 2009

There are lies, there are damn lies, and then there is the total bullshit that comes out of George Will's mouth.

George Will is a columnist for the Washington Post, and a global warming skeptic.  Actually, I take that back.  Skeptic implies that there is a debate and honest intellectual position to be taken on either side. George Will is a global warming denier, with the same connotation as that for a Holocaust denier: he covers his eyes and ears to the truth, and then shouts his position as loud as he can so he doesn't have to hear the echo of his lies coming back to him.

In his most recent column on global warming, Will repeats with a straight-face a number of thoroughly debunked global warming denial talking points. 

In the 1970s, "a major cooling of the planet" was "widely considered inevitable" because it was "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950" (New York Times, May 21, 1975). Although some disputed that the "cooling trend" could result in "a return to another ice age" (the Times, Sept. 14, 1975), others anticipated "a full-blown 10,000-year ice age" involving "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation" (Science News, March 1, 1975, and Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976, respectively)"
Look how his extensive citations make this look like well-researched material! Rather than do the legwork myself to point out the bullshit, I'll lean on the analysis done by George Monbiot on his blog:

... despite active efforts to answer these questions, the following pervasive myth arose: there was a consensus among climate scientists of the 1970s that either global cooling or a full-fledged ice age was imminent ... A review of the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979 shows this myth to be false. The myth's basis lies in a selective misreading of the texts both by some members of the media at the time and by some observers today. In fact, emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then.
In other words, George Will has cherry picked from four articles out of hundreds that were published on climate change at the time, and drawn his pre-determined conclusion from there. If that was all he did, there wouldn't be much to get upset about. But the bullshit hose so far has been set to a trickle compared to the soaking you are about to get:

Since September, however, the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began.
Back to Monbiot:

I can find no evidence of this. The published evidence suggests that the increase in Arctic sea ice this year has been significantly lower than the average since 1979, and follows a very similar trajectory to that of 2006-07.
Let me say it plainer: George Will is lying. He is a liar. Somebody should tell George Will to drop and roll, because his pants are on fire. And these are lies that have been printed in a major city newspaper. People read this, and think it is true, and form opinions based on it!

Will again:

According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.

When I contacted to the Arctic Climate Research Center to ask if this claim was correct, the Center's Bill Chapman wrote this:

"No, it is not correct. I don't know where they are getting that. As of today, there are 1.43m km sq less Arctic sea ice than this same date in 1979. (Roughly the size of two Texas-sized states)."

Lies. Flat out, bald faced lies. And here's another:

Besides, according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade, or one-third of the span since the global cooling scare.


The most recent WMO statement (pdf) shows a continuing warming trend over the past decade, and reports that "the linear warming trend over the past 50 years (0.13C per decade) is nearly twice that for the past 100 years."

An entire article filled with easily-disproved lies was published in a major American newspaper. Friend of the site Sam Wilkinson recently commented on the sad state of American journalism. You will find no sadder example than this.


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