Climate Change Follies

6 Mar

Climate change deniers adopt the language of science while ignoring its actual methods. There’s always a “debate” or the assertion that “scientists don’t fully understand” something inconvenient like evolution or climate change. It’s more the case that these so-called “skeptics” don’t actually understand the science they attempt to refute.

Take climate change. Deniers often say that climate scientists don’t know what they’re talking about because in the 1970s they claimed we were on the brink of an ice age. However, these deniers don’t seem to read the sources they are citing. The 1975 Science News article beloved by deniers is entitled “Climate Change: Chilling Possiblities” and opens with the stark statement that the “unusually beneficial climate of the past few decades may be degenerating, facing humanity with a new challenge to survival.”

Yes, an ice age would suck. Perhaps human activity contributing to global warming helped avoid it. Yay. I like summer.

But the article is actually an analysis of human activity and global warming. Not the next ice age:

“Within a century or so the projected heat generation from human activity is likely to equal one percent of the heat earth absorbs from the sun. Under the simplest set of assumptions, this additional heat would raise the global temperature about a degree Celsius, but after various corresponding changes are taken into account, the overall effect might be a temperature rise as great as 3.0 degrees. …As a result, a survey of nine American cities showed increased rainfall in the vicinity ranging from 9.0 to 27.0 percent. The severity of these storms is also affected: Near Houston, Tex., hailstorms were found to increase by 430 percent. The most detailed of these studies is under way in the St. Louis area, where an urban-related 25 percent increase of thunderstorms as found to affect some 1,000 to 2,000 square miles of the surrounding area. The cumulative effect of such changes from all cities is not known, but the possible interactions increase the likelihood of severe consequences as urbanization continues.”

Check and mate.

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