It’s easy to find a bunch of good people out there waiting to tell you exactly how dumb it is. Will wrote on Sunday about how global warming is just another faux danger that liberals are panicking about, and cites the “global cooling” frenzy of the 70’s as
proof that scientists don’t know what they are talking about. Turns out that there was such a theory, but it was not widely accepted, and it eventually lost out the the overwhelming scientific consensus that we’re experiencing global warming, and not cooling. Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com makes it painfully obvious here (and does a great job of cutting down the column in general). Will goes on to say that
According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979,
which is also patently false, according to the very same University of Illinois Arctic Climate Research Center (h/t Daily Kos).
Will, however, does get one thing right:
On graphs tracking public opinion, two lines are moving in tandem and inversely: The sharply rising line charts public concern about the economy, the plunging line follows concern about the environment. A recent Pew Research Center poll asked which of 20 issues should be the government’s top priorities. Climate change ranked 20th.
It’s easy to see the why; lost jobs, decreased net worth, and overall economic terribleness are certainly more tangible than the fact that the average temperature of the world is a few degrees higher than it was ten years ago. One of the major consequences of the tanking economy is all of those other, important but perhaps not so in-your-face issues are struggling for airtime, public concern, and funding. Climate change is real, and it’s not going to be pretty; we need to start thinking about what we can do to slow it and how we can prepare for its consequences now. Obviously, a good way to get started is with your own consumption, so put somethought into your purchases and try to buy stuff that contributes less to global warming (think local, low-packaging, non-corn reliant). In the meantime, start a blog and make sure that all of your friends know that George Will has no clue what he’s talking about.
Update: Yglesias points to TP.org’s Wonk Room, where George Will is outed as having basically plagiarized (or at least completely recycled the idea of) one of his own sloppy columns from 2006. George Will, conservative intellectual.