How do you convince people of global warming in a snowstorm?
Criticisms of climate change science are piling up as public concern wanes. But evidence of global warming continues to accumulate.
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Meanwhile, action in Congress on climate change has essentially stalled. The cap-and-trade approach approved by the US House of Representatives is likely to be jettisoned, reports the Washington Post, as key senators look for a new way to tackle carbon emissions.Skip to next paragraph
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Senators John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham “plan to introduce legislation next month that would apply different carbon controls to individual sectors of the economy instead of setting a national target,” the Post reports. (Monitor report: The comparative costs of climate change)
As the political debate continues, warnings about global warming keep coming.
NASA: 'Warmest decade on record'
NASA reported last month that “January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record” and that “2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record.”
“Business as usual is not an option over the longer term,” said John Beddington, the British government’s chief scientific adviser. “The effects of climate change and new pressures on land could escalate, seriously eroding quality of life.” (Monitor report: Reducing greenhouse gases now may lower climate change risk)
As it has several times in recent years, the Pentagon warns of the security ramifications of a warming globe. “While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world,” the Pentagon says in its Quadrennial Defense Review.
Al Gore weighs in
For his part, Al Gore – perhaps the world’s chief Jeremiah on climate change – acknowledges that mistakes have been made by scientists and others.
“The scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes,” Gore wrote in the New York Times Sunday. “What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged.”
And in pointing this out, Gore felt obliged to recognize a very wintery winter:
“The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere – thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States. Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm.”