2009-09-30 Cooling Down the Cassandras

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Date: 2009-09-30
Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/30/AR2009093003569.html
Author: George F. Will (writingscat)
Source: Washington Post (articlescat)
Topics: global warming denial
Categories: global warming denial


Cooling Down the Cassandras

longer text

"Plateau in Temperatures Adds Difficulty to Task Of Reaching a Solution"New York Times, Sept. 23

In this headline on a New York Times story about the difficulties confronting people alarmed about global warming, note the word "plateau." It dismisses the unpleasant – to some people – fact that global warming is maddeningly (to the same people) slow to vindicate their apocalyptic warnings about it.

The "difficulty" – the "intricate challenge," the Times says – is "building momentum" for carbon reduction "when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years." That was in the Times's first paragraph.

In the fifth paragraph, a "few years" became "the next decade or so," according to Mojib Latif, a German "prize-winning climate and ocean scientist" who campaigns constantly to promote policies combating global warming. Actually, Latif has said he anticipates "maybe even two" decades in which temperatures cool. But stay with the Times's "decade or so." By asserting that the absence of significant warming since 1998 is a mere "plateau," not warming's apogee, the Times assures readers who are alarmed about climate change that the paper knows the future and that warming will continue: Do not despair, bad news will resume.

Commentary:

The Revkin Times piece that Will cites is itself horribly inaccurate.

I was not able to find the headline quoted at the beginning of this piece; is Will paraphrasing, or did the NYT change/remove it? The Revkin piece is dated Sept. 21, not 24.

See also Wikipedia on Latif's hypothesis.

[edit] shorter text

“In this headline on a New York Times story about the difficulties confronting people alarmed about global warming, note the word "plateau." It dismisses the unpleasant – to some people – fact that global warming is maddeningly (to the same people) slow to vindicate their apocalyptic warnings about it.”

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