Newsweek editors: are you idiots?

“Just wondering,” that’s all. Sort of like George Will’s “Questions for McCain” where  Will is “just wondering,” of course, not necessarily showing that he is an imbecile when it comes to science. 

Peripatetic John McCain, the human pinball, continues to carom around the country as his rivals gnaw on each other. Although action, not reflection, is his forte, perhaps he should go to earth somewhere, while the Democrats continue the destruction, and answer some questions

While we might ask what “destruction” means or search for that dictionary definition of “peripatetic” (traveling from place to place), Will’s concept of “questions” meriting response is what is of interest.  A number of these questions relate to Global Warming, that arena where John McCain seeks to set himself apart from the reality-denying majority of Republicans.

So, let’s take a look at the key Global Warming question:

You say that even if global warming turns out to be no crisis (the World Meteorological Organization says global temperatures have not risen in a decade), even unnecessary measures taken to combat it will be beneficial because “then all we’ve done is give our kids a cleaner world.” But what of the trillions of dollars those measures will cost in direct expenditures and diminished economic growth—hence diminished medical research, cultural investment, etc.? Given that Earth is always warming or cooling, what is its proper temperature, and how do you know?

Let us be bluntly clear here: Newsweek editors, you are guilty of fostering continued ignorance about the most critical issue facing this nation and humanity in the 21st century.  And, this paragraph has embedded in a long list of misleading elements.

the World Meteorological Organization says global temperatures have not risen in a decade

Oh, George Will is gifted with words and gifted with misleading using them.  1998 was a hot year, a warmth that is directly related to an exceptional El Niño event.  If one shows temperatures solely from 1998 to the present, it looks as if there hasn’t been a rise in temperature (even, perhaps, a slight reduction).  But, if one shows a longer time frame, such as 150 years, a more explicit and direct pattern appears. The ten hottest years of the past 150 years have been in the past 20 years. Nine of the ten hottest in the past ten years.  Hmmm … Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Statistics about weather from George Will’s pen. 

Just to make clear, here is the information directly from the World Meteorological Organization.

The decade of 1998-2007 is the warmest on record, according to data sources obtained by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The global mean surface temperature for 2007 is currently estimated at 0.41°C/0.74°F above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.20°F.

And, in the rest of that discussion, there is no statement about global warming have slowed or stopped.

But what of the trillions of dollars those measures will cost in direct expenditures and diminished economic growth—hence diminished medical research, cultural investment, etc.?

Now, this is another game.  Cost of “trillions of dollars” does not, of course, even start to consider benefits.  Those wind turbines and other low carbon energy sources will produce a benefit called energy that humanity can use.  “The trillions of dollars” will have benefits like reducing health impacts from fossil fuel pollution.   “The trillions of dollars [of] cost” doesn’t account for improved economic performance, including the reduction of the number of dollars sent overseas to buy oil.  Speaking of “the trillions of dollars [of] cost” doesn’t deal with quality of life through reduced asthma, the ability to eat fish without worrying about mercury contamination, etc … And, of course, “the trillions of dollars [of] cost” doesn’t provide any value to the insurance against reducing the impact of Global Warming which George Will is “just wondering” about, rather than denying actual reality.

Of course, by the way, it is nice to see George Will expressing concern about cultural investments.

Given that Earth is always warming or cooling, what is its proper temperature, and how do you know?

Yes, change is natural.  How dare anyone suggest otherwise?  Actually, no one argues that nature doesn’t change, that there is stasis. The question is the speed, nature, extent, and implications of the changes. And, humanity’s role in those changes.  Mr Will, do you really want to be speaking of temperatures outside the range that have existed over the past million+ years? Sure, the planet has had much higher levels of CO2 than today’s, millions of years prior to the evolution of humanity. (And, certainly not higher than in the 6000 years of Earth’s existence, if you want to take that tack.) 

George Will is “just wondering”, “just wondering” his way to fostering disaster.  He is taking some data, some facts, and using this not to arrive at truth, to enlighten, but to peddle truthiness and deceive.

And, Newsweek editors: you are enablers of falsehood and deceit on an issue of fundamental, literally life-endangering consequence.  What is your excuse?


5 responses to “Newsweek editors: are you idiots?

  1. Hate to say this chaps, but the met office is government funded, so thay are hardly independent! Especially in the UK, where all government agencies have to toe the line if the heads want to keep their job.

    So I am looking for truly imdependent data, from someone who has no axe to grind whatsoever.

    Give me that, and I’m on your side.
    Don’t give me that, and I reseve the right to believe that you are completely plugged into the Matrix.


  2. Hi,

    my next comment backs my first one.

    Radio4 is active in presenting the facts as they are, and they have a number of programmes that try to balance the debate.

    Here is one, which extols the virtue of not overselling the pitch. People (like me) become hardened to rhetoric, which has a shakey basis.

    Let’s get some real solid agreed science behind this, which looks not only at the gas guzzlers, but also the production of methane from natural sources etc.

    I believe we will find out that the world is just overpopulated!

  3. Rob,

    Oh no, a government is involved, immediately discount and reject.

    Thank you for stopping by.

    Want to reject evidence before your eyes and seek to pinprick holes as much as possible rather than find solutions? Then stop wasting your time with me.


    Look at your impending doom. This is the image of what will forever destroy the environmental movement. The sun, dominator of all climates in the solar system, is about to show you what natural variation is.

    Just wait, every day brings the Green movement closer to the greatest humiliation in scientific history.

  5. Paulidan,

    “greatest humiliation” … What amount of evidence is required before you would be ready to accept the reality of human impact on climate? I have a feeling that, for you (and others), that bar will constantly be raised until, perhaps, it is simply too late for any importance. Thus, despite rejecting facts about what is going on around us (US), it seems likely that you won’t ever suffer from ‘humiliation’, since you will always have a reason to reject basic science.

    Only a total fool would argue that there is no natural element to global climate changes.

    And, well, only a total fool would be advocating the disinformation that humanity is not having an impact.

    In any event, I would love to be proved wrong about human impacts on the climate (and other impacts of fossil fuel usage) because, writ large, this would likely mean a better life for me, you, my and your children. Sadly, the evidence and real-world events support the concerns over Global Warming rather than those who are basking in denial.

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