Cold - and Warmer
B aby, it's cold outside. So what happened to global warming? The answer is: nothing. The best estimates by the best scientists is that human life on Earth is threatened by a coming rise in temperature and something needs to be done about it while there is still time. It isn't a question of guilt or whether humanity is to blame (though many think we are). A lot of different things could cause it, but humans do have the power to change what we do that affects it.
Trouble is, the know-nothings are shouting loud and long - and this cold snap is handy. They cry "fakery" and "Climate-gate" and seize on one pretext after another to block action by the United States. Their gas may be as great a threat as the greenhouse variety if it stalls action past the point of no return.
Recently one state senator sent out a note he'd written to Speaker Joe Hackney and President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, proposing the General Assembly do away with the state's Global Warming Commission. He claimed global warming studies had been altered and data falsely represented.
It's not true. That claim stems from a hacking incident last fall at a university in England. Hackers released copies of e-mails and other documents they said showed climate scientists colluded to withhold information and block publication of dissenting opinions on man-made climate change. The Associated Press and FactCheck investigated. Their findings: Nothing was faked.
Global warming is a real threat, and current cold weather snaps are irrelevant, mere bumps in the road to wherever we may be going. Scientists may differ on the pace of climate change, but most agree that human activity does contribute to an observed rise in global surface temperatures overall since 1850, when such weather recording started. The World Meteorological Organization says global warming hasn't abated just because there is cold weather.
We go with Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, who warns against confusing fleeting weather variability with long-term trends in climate change. Shivery days in Robbins and Vass - and London - don't mean global warming has come to a stop. The trend is still there, still measurable, still being studied, and still an occasion for action.
More like this story