More George Will Climate Nonsense

Is it possible for the Washington Post to be embarrassed by George Will? After a series of erroneous claims in a column about climate change, Will is at it again today (4/2/09), laughing off the use of compact fluorescent lightbulbs as a poor fix for a nonexistent problem:

Reducing carbon emissions supposedly will reverse warming, which is allegedly occurring even though, according to statistics published by the World Meteorological Organization, there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998.


This has been explained before; Will cherry picks the hottest year among other relatively hot years as his starting point. The 11 hottest years in the past century and half have all occurred in the last 13 years–but 1998 was the hottest year so far, so there’s no such thing as global warming.

What’s perhaps most interesting is that the Post ran a long letter (3/21/09) from the secretary General of the World Meteorological Association, spelling this out and explaining that Will just doesn’t know what he’s talking about:

It is a misinterpretation of the data and of scientific knowledge to point to one year as the warmest on record — as was done in a recent Post column [“Dark Green Doomsayers,” George F. Will, op-ed, February 15] — and then to extrapolate that cooler subsequent years invalidate the reality of global warming and its effects.

The difference between climate variability and climate change is critical, not just for scientists or those engaging in policy debates about warming. Just as one cold snap does not change the global warming trend, one heat wave does not reinforce it. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the global average surface temperature has risen 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit.

At this point it’s obviousthat George Will is not going to let a bunch of scientists tell him about climate science. The real question is why the Post continues to print this stuff– and give him coverwhen critics point out his inaccuracies.

The paper, it should be noted, did run a recent op-ed from Chris Mooney debunking some of Will’s climate misinformation. But Will will still have his regular platform to write whatever he wants to write about climate science–no matter how wrong he is.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.