The Hill devoted an article to forwarding claims that snowstorms in the Washington, D.C., area casts doubt on the existence of global warming and quoted Republicans bashing former Vice President Al Gore for his advocacy on climate change. In fact, short-term local weather phenomena do not disprove the scientific consensus that human-caused global warming is real.
Hill forwards baseless claim that DC snowstorms disprove Gore, global warming
Hill: GOP senator "used the D.C. snowstorm to make a political jab, saying that it provides evidence for global warming skeptics." In a February 9 article in The Hill, Alexander Bolton reported:
Record snowfall has buried Washington -- and along with it, buried the chances of passing global warming legislation this year.
Cars are stranded in banks of snow along the streets of the federal capital, and in the corridors of Congress, climate legislation also has been put on ice.
Voters are mostly concerned with jobs and the economy. Global warming is at the bottom of their list. And now, on top of that, the paralyzing snowfalls have made the prospect of winning support for a climate bill this year even less likely.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Tuesday used the D.C. snowstorm to make a political jab, saying that it provides evidence for global warming skeptics.
"It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries "uncle," the conservative Senator tweeted on Twitter.
For critics, it was an opportunity to poke fun at the issue's most prominent advocate.
"Where's Al Gore when we need him?" quipped Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who burst out laughing when asked about the prospect of passing cap-and-trade legislation Tuesday while the city was still digging out.
Arguments Hill forwarded echo those made by right-wing media
Blizzard of global warming attacks from conservative media in response to DC snowstorm. In recent days, the right-wing media have been relentlessly attacking Gore and the science behind global warming by pointing to the D.C. snowstorm. Such attacks have come from Fox News' Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Stuart Varney, the Fox Nation, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh, Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and RedState.com's Erick Erickson.
Scientists agree that global warming is real, not disproved by local weather phenomena
Cold weather has no relevance to the climate debate. In a March 2, 2008, article, The New York Times reported that climate scientists -- including at least one who has disputed aspects of the scientific consensus on climate change -- completely reject the notion that short-term changes in weather bear any relevance to the climate debate. The article quoted Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA saying: "It's all in the long-term trends. Weather isn't going to go away because of climate change."
2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record. In January, major meteorological organizations throughout the world -- including NASA -- released reports showing that the past decade, 2000-2009, was the warmest on record. The reports undermine the right-wing media's numerous claims that recent snow and cold weather show climate change does not exist or has slowed over the past 10 years.
IPCC: "There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming." In its most recent "Synthesis Report," the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded:
There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.
Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG (greenhouse gases) concentrations. It is likely there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica). [italics in original]
The authors of the IPCC report stated that the phrase "very high confidence" translates to an "at least 9 out of 10" chance of being correct, and "very likely" translates to greater than 90 percent probability.
Hill misleads on reportedly stolen CRU emails
Hill: CRU emails "prompted accusations that researchers may have edited the presentation of data to overstate the threat of warming." In the Hill article, Bolton reported:
One of the most damaging setbacks was the emergence last year of hundreds of private e-mail messages sent among American and British climate scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of East Anglia.
The documents, which were hacked from a university computer server, prompted accusations that researchers may have edited the presentation of data to overstate the threat of warming.
Climate emails have been repeatedly misrepresented to cast doubt on global warming. As Media Matters for America has noted, the media have repeatedly misrepresented the contents of the reportedly stolen emails in order to claim that they cast doubt on the scientific basis for the consensus that human-caused global warming is real.
Fact-checkers dispute notion that emails undermine climate change consensus. PolitiFact.com, Factcheck.org, and an Associated Press analysis have all debunked the claim that the stolen emails undermined the case for global warming. In addition, Factcheck noted that "many of the e-mails that are being held up as 'smoking guns' have been misrepresented by global-warming skeptics eager to find evidence of a conspiracy."
Scientists reaffirm position that global warming is real. Following the emails' release, more than 1,700 scientists from the United Kingdom signed a statement responding "to the ongoing questioning of core climate science and methods." The statement said: "We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities." Furthermore, in a December 4, 2009, letter to Congress, 29 prominent scientists, including 11 members of the National Academy of Scientists, stated, "The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming." Additionally. a December 2, 2009, editorial in the science journal Nature stated: "Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real -- or that human activities are almost certainly the cause." And The American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Union of Concerned Scientist also reaffirmed their position that human-caused global warming is real.