Make the knuckleheads shovel their own walks…

fenway_park_snowOn the eve of the first major northeastern winter storm of the season (10 PM EST Forecast: 7+Inches in Yankee Stadium; maybe 2 feet in Fenway) I can imagine the warming denial warriors hunched over keyboards, ready to hit the blogosphere with another round of “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” posts.

I’m talking about predictable counterpoints by deniers that inevitably follow trite, lazy quotes from non-climatologists who tenuously link any specific weather event with global warming.98fwbgus

As Boston digs itself out of the blizzard on Saturday, someone will be sure to say “Big storms like this are surely a sign of things to come,” or some such generalization, and the statement will come unqualified, incomplete, and probably out of context.

And it will spread like salt from a dump truck on I-95.

Hacks who pretend to have an understanding of climate will spew: “Doesn’t the (Mayor, governor, local TV celebrity) read the history books?  Has he forgoten the story of the Blizzard of 1888?  There was no global warming then!”

Blizzard_1888_01Well-intended, but verbally and scientifically challenged spokespersons for the climate science community spring from all corners when nature takes a swipe at us. The denial crowd relishes an open mike at such occasions, and short, loose quips become to them more evidence that anthropogenic global warming “activists” are trying to scare us all with lies and distortions.

(And, regrettably,  despite the veracity of the “Loaded Dice” analogy, widely attributed to James Hansen, it remains dangerous for a communicator to put forward any casual connection between warming and a specific event: We have to learn to do a better job at this.)

My advice?

Put a zipper on it, Governor.  Shut your pie hole, Madame Mayor.

Ask a well-informed source about the storm and leave the speculation to those who have really studied and understand regional impacts of global warming.

Let’s not give the knuckleheads any bogus victories.

Make them shovel their own walks.

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Warming Denial: Deceit 101 at the Washington Times

It’s simple.

Just take a sentence — a fragment, even — out of context from a scientific report and shout it from the pulpit to the choir of the faithful.

Today’s editorial in the Washington Times (“Global warming takes a vacation”) offers a conspicuous and bold example.  In it, the Times quotes – quite out of context – NASA’s James Hansen:  “The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slowdown in the growth rate of the net climate forcing.”  The WT then proceeds to castrate the real story with this not-quite-false but blatantly incomplete extrapolation:

“Mr. Hansen has just acknowledged more than the lack of warming. His words confirm nature, not mankind, played the decisive role in directing global temperatures over the past 10 years.”

The WT then proceeds with the usual chorus of anecdotal pap (“Southern England is covered in snow. Los Angeles has been shivering…”), and piles on the liberal conspiracy charges.

Yet, a read of the real paper cited indicates Hansen said that, despite more frequent La Ninas  (large-scale cooling of the equatorial West Pacific), the globally averaged temperature in the past decade had not gone down. (Skeptical Science.com offers a taut video on this.)

The difference between what would have been short-term cooling and what is the tail of the hottest decade on record is almost certainly man’s increasing injection of greenhouse gases, most notably carbon dioxide.

Think about it: take away the natural cooling induced by La Ninas and we’d see a more continuous rise.  The other forcing functions on surface temperatures (including increased CO2 and other greenhouse gases) continue to do their work.

2008-2012 temp visuals

(Click image for video of recent-year temperature anomalies.)

And the current decade is the hottest ever recorded. As were the 2000s.  As were the 1990s. As were the 1980s…

Yet the Washington Times decided not to tell the real story behind the article and the press releases by NASA and NOAA about 2012. 

Instead they decided to arouse the deniers who choose not to let the full explanation of  global warming signatures into their closed minds.  The distortion — the deceit — is pornographic.

And it’s simple.

Class dismissed.

Beware This Boy.

In A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens uses the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come to introduce Scrooge to twin allegorical children, Ignorance and Want.  They appear sordid and animal-like, and Scrooge is warned

“This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

ImageIn Dickens’ time, the ignorance of the boy may have been taken quite literally, in an education sense, given that fully half of London’s children were unable to attend school of any kind. All the more hands to work the mines and factories.

Today the Boy is still with us – in a far more universal sense.

He has grown.

He inhabits the halls of Congress.  He serves in state senates, school boards, and on councils in regrettably-influential think tanks.

He is still Ignorance, yet he is an educated adult.

He proclaims fact without evidence.  He brings about change to suit his long-seated notions.

He has a hard time unlearning, and will rarely pause to examine his motives, his zeal, or the totality of his understanding, however small that may be.

Beware this boy.