Year 2, Month 2, Day 18: Taking Advantage of a 250-Word Limit

The Sioux City Journal features a short, ostensibly humorous, piece by one Matthew Ung, trotting out all the standard climate-denial tropes under the guise of satire. Based on the other articles linked on that page, it looks like the paper’s a wingnut outlet, so I suspect I’ll never make it to print. But a fellow can dream, can’t he? And the comments tend to confirm my suspicions.

Let’s examine Matthew Ung’s attempt at humor about climate change, beginning with this gem: “Thanks to Al Gore, we know that our actions directly affect the planet…” First, while Gore brought the subject to popular attention, climatologists like James Hansen and Charles Keeling exposed the link between greenhouse emissions and climate change; second, our actions don’t “directly affect the planet.” Rather, the planet is affected indirectly; the multi-decade time lag between stimulus and response makes this a hard problem to solve.

He subsequently states that “Global warming activists attempt to link the immediate season and snowfall records as an indication of how well we are doing to curb emissions that exact year.” No, they don’t. I have never heard of any environmentalist making such a connection.  Source, please?

Scientists have predicted for over a century that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will heat it, with “stochastic” effects: predictable in the aggregate, not in the particular. That is, as the climate changes, the weather will get weirder — less consistent, more extreme.

About that snowfall? Science FAIL. A hotter atmosphere means more water evaporates, so the humidity goes up, which means more rain when it’s hot, more snow when it’s cold. Climatologists have been predicting that for decades, too.

Mr. Ung, like many denialists, fails to grasp the distinction between “weather” and “climate.” Weather is to climate as anecdote is to history. One is short-term and local, the other is long-term and global.

Ignorance, alas, is rising along with the temperature.

Warren Senders

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