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Monday, January 06, 2014

Climate ‘skeptics’ fail to understand that ‘global’ and ‘local’ have very different meanings

AlJazeera America - Cold weather snap fuels misinformation over climate change
AlJazeera America: Meteorologists predict record-low temperatures for large swaths of the United States on Sunday and Monday.

The cold snap, which comes after snow blanketed much of the northeastern United States last week, has also led to confusion surrounding how weather relates to global warming.


That skepticism could be seen in full force recently as snow covered the New York City headquarters of Fox News, from where the station broadcast several reports suggesting that recent cold weather conflicted with scientists’ assessments of climate change, or even suggested the globe may be cooling.

Fox News hosts weren’t the only ones taken aback by the cool weather. Donald Trump tweeted that the ship of scientists that was until recently trapped in antarctic ice was proof that climate change is a lie. And U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-La., wrapped up the confusion between weather and climate succinctly when he tweeted, “‘Global warming’ isn’t so warm these days.”
Here’s the thing: the US isn’t the world. Global warming means global warming — not just warming in your neck of the woods. And when did any climate scientist ever argue that climate change meant it there would never be ice, cold, or snow again? If they didn’t, then the appearance of ice, cold, or snow proves jack.

Right now, Australia and New Zealand are experiencing a heat wave and drought, driving wildfires. And it’s not even the entire US that’s freezing right now; the west coast is experiencing an abnormally warm winter. Further, snow and cold was late to Scandinavia.

But if you really want to fully grasp how little sense these statements make, consider them in the context of another common climate flatearther argument. For years, they’ve argued that a long term warming trend is just natural variation in global temperature. But then they turn around and insist that every heavy snow or exceptionally cold few days is supposed to be proof positive that global warming is a hoax. So big changes over time are just fluctuations — while fluctuations are PROOF THAT THIS ‘CLIMATE CHANGE’ HOAX IS A COMMUNIST PLOT TO DESTROY AMERICA!! GAH!! PANIC!!!

In order to be a climate denier, you either have to have no idea what you’re talking about or pretending to be that ignorant. So the question, as it so often is when dealing with wingnut extremists, is whether they're lying or stupid.

Either way, there’s no reason to give them the time of day.

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