Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, December 21st, 2010.

Teaching Sponges to Dance

Obama Administration

Bless George Monbiot for attempting to explain science to righties. It’s futile, but I admire him for trying.

He provides a fairly readable explanation based on scientific evidence of why the process of global “warming” is causing some parts of the world to be colder. I’ll let you read this for yourselves. This is not a new phenomenon, of course; scientists have been noting that global climate change is causing some areas to cool for a while now. Then Monbiot says,

I can already hear the howls of execration: now you’re claiming that this cooling is the result of warming! Well, yes, it could be. A global warming trend doesn’t mean that every region becomes warmer every month. That’s what averages are for: they put local events in context. The denial of man-made climate change mutated first into a denial of science in general and then into a denial of basic arithmetic. If it’s snowing in Britain, a thousand websites and quite a few newspapers tell us, the planet can’t be warming.

According to Nasa’s datasets, the world has just experienced the warmest January to November period since the global record began, 131 years ago; 2010 looks likely to be either the hottest or the equal hottest year. This November was the warmest on record.

Sod all that, my correspondents insist: just look out of the window.

And, of course, that’s exactly what happened. Utterly ignoring the scientific explanation, the brainless life forms known collectively as “righties” simply howl with derision.

One says,

Snow, he is trying to tell us in all earnestness, is another sign that Man Made Global Warming is definitely happening. Nothing to do with solar minima or El Nino and La Nina or any of that reality-based nonsense. No, sirree. It’s definitely, definitely still our fault because of all that evil plant-food our factories have been pumping into the atmosphere. Weather is not the same as climate. Etc.

Now, Monbiot doesn’t say a word in his article about whether the changes in weather patterns are man-made or not. He is explaining only how it is that an overall warming trend is causing British winters to be colder. But the brainless life forms can’t be bothered with, you know, reading. Or thinking, for that matter.

Might as well try to teach sponges to dance.

There have been all kinds of predictions about how global climate change will affect this or that part of the world, and some — not all — predictions have been wrong. If you go back a few years, you can find British scientists predicting Britain would get warmer. However, other scientists have been predicting that Britain, which enjoys milder weather than other parts of Europe on the same latitude, would get colder because of changes in the Gulf Stream.

But Monbiot says, it turns out that changes in atmospheric patterns are the primary cause of Britain’s current colder weather. These changes also are also being driven by global climate change.

Mass media has done a terrible job explaining climate change science to the public, and often what gets reported are the more fantastical predictions, because they make better headlines. And, of course, if one scientist somewhere was wrong about anything, then all science is discredited, even the science that is turning out to be right. For this reason, I predict the sponges won’t be dancing anytime soon.

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