In a November 7 Newsweek column, George Will claimed that global warming “has not increased” for 11 years and suggested that the world may be cooling in order to attack an October 31 Newsweek profile of former Vice President Al Gore. Scientists and statisticians reject Will's claim that recent temperatures are evidence that there is no global warming as they have rejected many of Will's previous claims about global warming.
Will forwards “no global warming since 1998” fallacy
Will claims warming “has not increased” for 11 years to attack Newsweek profile of Gore. From Will's November 7 Newsweek column:
In last week's NEWSWEEK, the cover story was a hymn to “The Thinking Man's Thinking Man.” Beneath the story's headline ( “The Evolution of an Eco-Prophet” ) was this subhead: “Al Gore's views on climate change are advancing as rapidly as the phenomenon itself.” Which was rather rude because, if true, his views have not advanced for 11 years.
There is much debate about the reasons for, and the importance of, the fact that global warming has not increased for that long. What we know is that computer models did not predict this. Which matters, a lot, because we are incessantly exhorted to wager trillions of dollars and diminished freedom on the proposition that computer models are correctly projecting catastrophic global warming. On Nov. 2, The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Ball reported some inconvenient data. Soon after the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- it shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Thinking Man's Thinking Man -- reported that global warming is “unequivocal,” there came evidence that the planet's temperature is beginning to cool. “That,” Ball writes, “has led to one point of agreement: The models are imperfect.”
Some scientists say the cooling is a product of what Ball calls “the enigmatic ocean currents.” Others say that even if the cooling continues for several decades, as some scientists think it might, warming will resume.
And if it does not? A story in the April 28, 1975, edition of NEWSWEEK was “The Cooling World.” NEWSWEEK can recycle that article, and recycling is a planet-saving virtue. [Newsweek, 11/7/09]
Will has previously forwarded “no recorded global warming in a decade” claim. Will wrote in his widely criticized February 15 Washington Post column that “according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade” -- despite repeated statements by the WMO and its representatives that the Earth remains in a warming trend.
Scientists, statisticians reject claim that recent temperatures are evidence that there is no warming
AP: “Statisticians reject global cooling.” In an October 26 article headlined, “AP IMPACT: Statisticians reject global cooling,” the Associated Press reported: “In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.” The article later added:
The AP sent expert statisticians NOAA's year-to-year ground temperature changes over 130 years and the 30 years of satellite-measured temperatures preferred by skeptics and gathered by scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880.
Saying there's a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers.
Identifying a downward trend is a case of “people coming at the data with preconceived notions,” said Peterson, author of the book “Why Did They Do That? An Introduction to Forensic Decision Analysis.” [AP, 10/26/09]
Scientists overwhelmingly reject the idea that recent temperatures are any indication that global warming is slowing or does not exist. The AP also reported: “The recent Internet chatter about cooling led NOAA's climate data center to re-examine its temperature data. It found no cooling trend. 'The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,' said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. 'Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.' ” Media Matters for America has also documented that others, including scientists from the U.K. Met Office Hadley Center, the WMO, and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, have debunked claims that temperature variation since 1998 proves that global warming has stopped or reversed.
Will's attack against energy bill disputed
Will: American Clean Energy and Security Act “preposterous” for lowering carbon emissions to “1910” level. From Will's column:
Meanwhile, however, the crusade against warming will brook no interference from information. With the Waxman-Markey bill, the House of Representatives has endorsed reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to 83 per-cent below 2005 levels by 2050. This is surely the most preposterous legislation ever hatched in the House. Using Energy Department historical statistics, Kenneth P. Green and Steven F. Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute have calculated this:
Waxman-Markey's goal is just slightly more than 1 billion tons of greenhouse-gas emissions in 2050. The last time this nation had that small an amount was 1910, when there were only 92 million Americans, 328 million fewer than the 420 million projected for 2050. To meet the 83 percent reduction target in a nation of 420 million, per capita carbon-dioxide emissions would have to be no more than 2.4 tons per person, which is one quarter the per capita emissions of 1910, a level probably last seen when the population was 45 million -- in 1875. [Newsweek, 11/7/09]
Duke environment school dean: “What has 1910 to do with what might be possible in 2050?” Responding to an August 29 Newsweek column in which Will made a similar argument, Bill Chameides, dean of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment, wrote: “Perhaps someone needs to remind Mr. Will as he taps away on his PC, while texting his wife and monitoring CNN headlines and checking for weather updates courtesy of a downlink from a NOAA satellite, that the world changes, that technological innovation happens. What has 1910 to do with what might be possible in 2050?” Chameides later added:
Imagine George Will being back in 1910 when the day's most popular car -- the Model T -- topped out at 45 miles per hour, the only movies around were black and white and silent, and listening to music on a cutting-edge Victrola meant giving it a crank after every few songs.
If Will were back then and told that in less than 100 years Americans would be routinely driving automobiles, watching television, and talking with people almost anywhere in the world on a small, personal phone, would he have taken such ideas “seriously?” Could any of us, living back in 1910, have foreseen the technological innovations of the last century?
The state of the world today is no more a measure of what is technologically possible in 2050 than the state of the world in 1910 was a marker of possibility for our time.
To use the state of the world in 1910 to rule out the range of technological possibilities in 2050 is ... well let's just say a wee bit conservative. [The Green Grok, 9/18/09]
Will is a serial global warming misinformer
Will has repeatedly made false and misleading claims about global warming. In addition to forwarding the claim that recent temperature variation disproves global warming, Will has repeatedly misrepresented Arctic sea ice data and misrepresented a UN report on climate change.