OC Register's Science Editor Acknowledges Global Warming In Break From Editorial Board

Earlier this week, the Orange County Register's Pat Brennan, the California paper's science editor, broke from the editorial board's established (and dismissive) opinion regarding the effects of global warming. In a news article discussing the massive wildfires in the West and the heat wave scorching the Midwest and the East Coast, Brennan looked at the two events and asked, “Are we feeling the effects of global warming?” The article cited scientific evidence supporting the existence of global warming and the dangers carbon dioxide emissions pose to the environment.

Brennan provided a look at the global warming reality that has been consistently denied or ignored on the paper's editorial page. For example, the editorial board of the Register claimed that global warming is a non-threat and that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a “highly questionable, perhaps meaningless, goal.” The editorial page has been filled with columns attacking efforts to reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere instead of acknowledging what the vast majority of scientists concur upon -- that man-made climate change is real.

The Register's editorial section has also provided a place for writer Mark Landsbaum to attack global warming. He called greenhouse gases “harmless” and claimed that those who believe humans have contributed to increased global temperatures are committing a logical fallacy.

These attacks are in contrast to the reports provided by the Register's own science specialist. As Brennan explained:

Scientists still answer cautiously. No single weather event, they say, can be linked directly to global climate change. But some researchers have begun to draw a broader connection between sweltering temperatures, tinder-dry forests and a warming planet.

While direct links are still elusive, the statistics, they say, reveal climate change hovering in the background -- pushing conditions more consistently toward extremes, and causing those extremes to increase in severity.

“One of the things I try to impress upon people is that the environment that all the storms are forming in nowadays, that all the weather occurs in, is different than it used to be because of climate change,” said Kevin Trenberth, a climate researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

Since the 1950s, heat waves have increased in number and duration across the world, and also have grown hotter, Trenberth and his co-authors wrote in a recent review of other climate studies published through May 2012.

This isn't the first time Brennan has discussed warming trends. In April, he also published a story linking the record breaking heat in March to climate change.  In that article, he reported that the “increasing frequency of bouts of heat matches scientists' expectations.”