George Will repeated Mark Steyn's false claim that “If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life.” In fact, climate experts reject the notion that global warming has slowed or stopped.
In his July 23 Washington Post column, George Will repeated National Review Online columnist Mark Steyn's false claim that "[i]f you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade." Will stated that Steyn's observation “could explain why the [National] Mall does not reverberate with youthful clamors about carbon” after “New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon 'young Americans' to 'get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon.' ” In fact, Steyn's claim is false: While 1998's annual global average temperature set a record high that has not since been matched in most datasets, climate experts have identified a long-term warming trend and reject the notion that global warming has slowed or stopped. As Media Matters for America has noted, Steyn cited a discredited report by EPA research analyst Alan Carlin as purported evidence for his claim.
Media Matters has documented Will's previous efforts in Washington Post columns to challenge the scientific consensus on global warming by distorting, twisting or misusing evidence. For example, World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud has written that a key assertion in one of Will's columns -- that “there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade” -- was “a misrepresentation of the data and of scientific knowledge.”
Additionally, Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote in his March 1 column that while "[t]he editors who checked the Arctic Research Climate Center Web site believe it did not, on balance, run counter to Will's assertion that global sea ice levels 'now equal those of 1979,' " “I [the ombudsman] reviewed the same Web citation and reached a different conclusion.”
From Will's column:
The costs of weaning the U.S. economy off much of its reliance on carbon are uncertain, but certainly large. The climatic benefits of doing so are uncertain but, given the behavior of those pesky 5 billion, almost certainly small, perhaps minuscule, even immeasurable. Fortunately, skepticism about the evidence that supposedly supports current alarmism about climate change is growing, as is evidence that, whatever the truth about the problem turns out to be, U.S. actions cannot be significantly ameliorative.
When New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon “young Americans” to “get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon,” another columnist, Mark Steyn, responded: “If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade.”
Which could explain why the Mall does not reverberate with youthful clamors about carbon. And why, regarding climate change, the U.S. government, rushing to impose unilateral cap-and-trade burdens on the sagging U.S. economy, looks increasingly like someone who bought a closetful of platform shoes and bell-bottom slacks just as disco was dying.