The Economist, today:
By itself, as we always say, one hot year doesn’t prove anything. The fact that every one of the twelve hottest years on record has come since 1997 is a little harder to wave away. 2010 was also the wettest year ever, corresponding to the expectation that higher heat means more water vapour. More countries set national high-temperature records in 2010 than ever before, including the biggest one, Russia. Arctic sea ice in December was at its lowest level ever, temperatures across a broad swathe of northern Canada have been 20° C higher than normal for the past month, the record temperatures are coming despite the lowest levels of solar activity in a century and a La Nina effect that should be making Canada colder rather than warmer, and so on. It is of course possible that global warming plateaued this year; it’s also possible that it plateaued this morning. One can always hope!
Complete with a nice graph. But is this thing settled? Far from it apparently. Can’t begin to do anything that might be too expensive until every last numb-nut is convinced, every last remote possibility that nothing is happened vanquished. Then what? A study group? They don’t believe in human-caused global warming because of the same reason they don’t believe in making Medicare universal – it’s un-American. Yes, it’s that incoherent. If you think you’re reasoning with people who can be convinced, you haven’t been listening to what they have been saying. And so amateur deniers and professional politicians continue to propose cuts to clean energy, yell about business regulations strangling growth and about how the debt is the evil to end all evils.
I think Republicans believe that we can keep doing things the way we always have (only with way lower taxes) and get much the same wholesome results. It’s this point that is already frustrating them in ways, besides race, that I don’t believe have actually set it in with the folks who carry the water. And until they can openly say they don’t like the results without another of their team calling them America-haters, they just have to keep professing to love the results.
Meanwhile, ticktock… and the incremental, practically unnoticeable damage will continue until it becomes more noticeable and there’s a special Fox News report on the real news that global warming actually hurts liberals and helps Republicans. And so it must be real and irreversible. And then it finally will be.