Global Cooling Anyone?
Coldest Winter on record could have been
used to score cheap points
By Gordon S. Jones, Chairman, Association of Concerned Taxpayers
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Watching the “Snow Bowl” in Shreveport, Louisiana over the
Christmas holidays, I was struck by how easy it would be to write a
“global cooling” story. With six inches of snow on the
ground in a number of southern states, I could have made fun of Al
Gore and his photo ops in front of “melting glaciers.”
Or I could have poked some gentle fun at the Chicken Little school of
junk science, that seizes any uptick in short-term temperatures and
uses it to mobilize support for massive new government intervention in
There was plenty of other evidence to use. The Great Lakes are
largely frozen over, with freighters caught in the ice and icebreakers
working overtime. And the National Climatic Data Center
certifies this winter as the coldest on record—and those records go
back more than 100 years. A foot of snow in Amarillo, Texas;
Buffalo, NY getting three weeks of steady snow; the entire Northeast
digging out from storm after storm; airline flights cancelled by the
score - all could have been used to score cheap shots on the junk
science purveyors who have been doing their best to scare the pants
off school kiddies for years.
But you know, I didn’t see a single op-ed from conservative
columnists arguing that global warming is a myth. If this had
been the warmest winter on record, do you think we would have seen
such self-restraint from our leftist colleagues? Not a chance.
In fact, I’m surprised that one or more of the scaremongers didn’t
chime in to argue that the cold winter is evidence for global warming.
After all, they’ve done it before. It must be awfully easy to
be a liberal. If the weather is warm, that’s evidence for
global warming. If it is cold, that’s because weather patterns
are all screwed up because of global warming.
Actually, this winter’s abnormally low temperatures are evidence of
nothing at all, other than that temperatures vary in the short run
across a fairly broad range. Climatic change can be verified
only across very long periods of time. And temperatures this
century have climbed, but only a very little bit, and that during the
first fifty years, before most of the supposed “greenhouse gas”
emissions that are supposed to be causing all this warming.
But if you can use computer models, irrespective of measured
temperatures, and punctuate them with a few photo ops in front of
sweltering Aleuts, then you can ask for more money for research, and
more power over people’s lives.
Arguments like that will always develop more political sizzle than
calm reasoning from objective facts.
Gordon Jones is Chairman of the
Association of Concerned Taxpayers, a 20,000
member taxpayer advocacy group.
© Gordon Jones, 2001
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