George Will is full of hot air too

George Will at the Washington Post has a tendency to slap together some pretty shoddy columns on global warming. He threw another one together earlier this week. Multiple bloggers have gone after this column and poked holes in Will's logic, which usually isn't too difficult to do.

Ezra Klein offers a subdued, yet reasoned, approach to the dissection of the piece:

...[G]lobal warming is not shorthand for “every day will be hotter than the next everywhere on the planet.” It is shorthand for for the observation that an "anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is amplifying the natural radiative forcing of the troposphere’s temperature," thus creating a general trend toward higher temperatures. The year-to-year variability that forms the basis of Will's column is not a challenge to this theory. It is built into it.

If Will is aware of this, he does not show it. There is not a line rebutting this thinking, much less a paragraph. Given that, it is perhaps no surprise that more technical disputes are not aired, either...[B]ecause he is not using [the U.K.'s National Weather Service, the Met Office's measurements] firsthand, he is relying on a report that arguably understated the Met's conclusions. Their data actually show that the 2000s were the hottest decade on record, much hotter than the 1990s. Indeed, if you look at the 10 hottest years on record, eight were in the 2000s. Two were in the '90s. Those two were in 1997 and 1998, which the Met says was a function of the weather event El NiƱo. They explain their data at length here. Will gives no airing to their explanation.

Nor does he explain why he's using the Met's data. After all, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies thinks that the 2000s have seen triple the warming that the Met estimates. I have no idea who's right. If Will has a considered take on this question, he's not yet published it.
There are several other more detailed takedowns of the column than Klein's, but what I find most interesting is who he's employed by - the Washington Post. The fact that they're allowing him to go after the paper's sacred cow is something that I find mildly refreshing.

But then I see that their opinion writers also think that prosecuting a child rapist is outrageous, and I lose faith in Fred Hiatt's paper again. Oh who am I kidding, I didn't have any faith in it in the first place.

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