Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) lampooned, “It’s going to keep snowing in D.C. until Al Gore cries ‘uncle’.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), observing the record snowfall in the Washington D.C. area wonders where Al Gore was to defend his thesis on global warming against this outrageous assault by winter. Global climate warming skeptic Jim Inhofe (R-OK) had his kids build an igloo for Al Gore on Capitol Hill and posted photos of it in Facebook.
Meanwhile, over at the Fox “News” network, Fox used the occasion of the record snowfall to also castigate Gore and those scientists documenting the unfolding global warming disaster. Naturally, some of the news that Fox “News” did not choose to air was the unnatural lack of snow in Vancouver where the Winter Olympics are underway and where the snow and refrigeration is largely manmade. Nor did they cover the lack of seasonal snow in places like Vermont, which is usually hip deep in the stuff this time of the year but has settled for ice. Nor are they devoting much airtime to the rains and subsequent mudslides in Southern California, which are exceptionally strong this year.
Back when I was studying communications in college, I learned about the phenomenon of selective perception. Most of us go through life with blinders on, perceiving what we choose to perceive and ignoring or dismissing evidence that doesn’t match our view of the world. This seems to be a reflexive human trait. Sometimes selective perception can get in our way. George Washington, our first president, essentially bled to death at the hands of his physician. At the time, bleeding someone who was ill was considered good medicine. No one was studying whether this practice was stupid or smart, but it was the conventional wisdom, such as it was. Eventually enough research was done and the practice was stopped when it was deemed counterproductive.
In the real world, we hire scientists and researchers to tell us fact from fiction because we need to infer knowledge based on evidence, not fantasy. Unfortunately, to be elected to Congress you do not have to have accreditation as a scientist or researcher, although a law degree helps. An educated American would look at the Jim Inhofes and Glenn Becks of the world and know their opinions on these matters are ill informed. Instead, particularly when it came to topics like global warming, we should be listening to people like Jane Lubchenco. You probably have no idea who Jane Lubchenco is, which is a shame. She is the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as a professional scientist with sterling credentials. Prior to her nomination by President Obama, she had an illustrious career and received a number of notable awards including the 8th Heinz Award in the environment in 2002. Lubchenco has not abandoned her position on the reality of global warming because of one snowstorm in the D.C. area. She would be a moron to do so.
Could it be possible that Fox News is just a wee bit biased on the whole global warming question? Could it possibly be that they are far more interested in returning Republicans to political power at any cost than they are in learning the true about global warming as a result of human activity? As if I needed more proof, this reality was driven home to me yesterday at the health club where I happened to watch Bill O’Reilly on Fox “News” redefine the term socialism. Before, it has always meant that the government controlled the means of production. In O’Reilly’s weird world, socialism is anything the government does to shift wealth from one class of Americans to another class of Americans. Clearly, O’Reilly was asleep during the lectures on socialism when he was in school. Communism attempts to make everyone live at the same socioeconomic level, not socialism. Such ignorance is appalling, particularly when the whole point of government is to redistribute wealth. If it didn’t redistribute wealth, there would be no roads, no public schools, no bridges, no military, no regulated airwaves, no assurance that our drugs would be reasonably safe, ad nauseum. If it didn’t redistribute wealth, there would be no food stamp program, which due to the bad economy now feeds one in eight Americans. These fellow Americans would be starving, but that apparently is okay in O’Reilly’s world. (O’Reilly does seem to be okay with redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich, which has been underway for years.)
In short, the people who are spouting such opinions are either delusional, have an agenda or both. If they really believe that thirty something inches of snowfall on the Washington region means there is no global warming, then they are really morons who cannot see two inches beyond their own nose. Rather than taking them seriously, the media should be laughing them off for being such fools. Meanwhile, glaciers keep melting, the Arctic sea ice recedes to lowest levels ever, mountains of evidence shows winter snow melts beginning earlier every year, tiny Pacific countries are in imminent danger of disappearing due to rising sea levels, and devastating droughts are happening both here in the United States and elsewhere. Climatologists have overwhelming evidence that these are a direct result of shifting climate patterns due to global warming.
The last time I had the flu back in 2005, I remember regularly monitoring my temperature. For much of it I had a temperature in the 102 to 103 degree range. There were other times that I took my temperature and it was normal. Then it would go back up again. The moment it reached 98.6 did I no longer have the flu? My experience suggested this was the wrong inference to draw. The same is true with large snowstorms. One large snowstorm does nothing to disprove global warming. Scientists record temperatures across the globe, look at available evidence, measure carbon emissions and carbon levels in the atmosphere and draw inferences.
In fact, our snowstorms if anything give more credence to global warming, not less because they are more extreme. What makes a snowstorm bigger? It is the amount of water vapor in the air. How to you put more water vapor in the air? Well, if the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic is warmer than it was, the atmosphere above it is capable of holding more water vapor. This is why we get hurricanes during the warm part of the year and not in the middle of the winter. If you move that body of water vapor over a part of the country that is still cold enough in the winter to generate snow, not only do you get snow but a whole lot more snow. Looking for evidence? Look at the length of the Gulf Stream this year, which extends further north than usual. Why? Well, I am not a climate scientist but it seems likely to be that if you have a warmer body of water it has more energy so it can push further north. These changes are likely causing the unusual snowfalls experienced in Great Britain and elsewhere in Northern Europe this year, where it is still cold enough to turn rain into snow, but where there is also more water vapor to turn into snow.
If you “get” global warming, I think you have a duty to get the facts out. We must vigorously challenge these global warming Luddites. If these people succeed in their agenda, not only will the planet rapidly warm up but also we will also likely be dooming ourselves as a species on this planet. Climate change will also drive human migration and competition for resources, increasing the probability of war, conflict and endangering our national security. Speak up! Do not let the sirens of ignorance get away with these outrageous claims.