George Will , Washington Post: Traitors To Humanity

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:44

George Will, "Dark Green Doomsayers", Feb 15:

"according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade"

U.N. World Meteorological Organization, "WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2007" (pdf), p4:

January 2007 was the warmest January since global surface records were instituted.

Extended quote:

Global temperatures during 2007

The analyses made by leading climate centres rank the year 2007 amongst the ten warmest years on record. The Met Office Hadley Centre analyses showed that the global mean surface temperature in 2007 was 0.40°C (0.72°F) above the 1961-1990 annual average (14°C/57.2°F) and hence marks the seventh warmest year on record. According to the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the global mean surface temperature anomaly was 0.55°C (0.99°F) above the twentieth century average (1901-2000) of 13.9°C (56.9°F), which ranks 2007 the fifth warmest year in its record.

January 2007 was the warmest January since global surface records were instituted.

I'll say one thing for George Will: at least the guy believes in recycling--when it comes to global warming lies, that is.  Because that's his entire shtick in his most recent columns on the subject, "Dark Green Doomsayers" (Feb 15) and "Climate Science in A Tornado" (Feb 27), both of which have been widely and thoroughly debunked, perhaps most succinctly here at the Wonk Room, which also takes note of the Post's Fred Hiatt's dishonest defense of Will's lies as 'inferences.'  (Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings, provides the lowdown on the Post Ombudsman Andy Alexander's shameful performance here.)

Paul Rosenberg :: George Will , Washington Post: Traitors To Humanity
Others have already done everything necessary to refute Will in detail, so I merely want to comment on the overall pattern here.  While Will and the Post tried desperately to minimize the scope of Will's travesty Will's first column was all about recycling a set of well-worn lies that global warming denialists have been recycling for more than a decade now:

(1) The explicit lie that climate scientists and responsible journalists touted dire alarms over global cooling in the 1970s.

(2) The explicit lie that the latest data shows global warming is not happening after all.

(3) The implicit lies that there isn't an overwhelming scientific consensus in support of global warming.

Of course, the consensus was much more tentative back in 1995, when I first started debating such issues online.  Scientists are a very cautious lot, particularly when it comes to reaching conclusions as a group.  But even then, there were no published, peer-reviewed articles that clearly challenged the consensus. There was plenty of questioning going on, which is perfectly normal: that's how science works.  But when the questioning made it into print, with hard data, and passed the bar of peer review, there was not one paper that any denialist could point to that supported their position.

Back in the mid-1990s, "the latest data shows global warming is not happening after all" was satellite data that turned out to be the result of faulty calibration.  It took years for the denialists to give up on that one.  Some, I'm sure, never have.

The existence of the scientific consensus was not fully realized until science historian Naomi Oreskes did the research and published her results in Science magazine in December 2004, "BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change", in which she tested whether such a consensus existed or not and reported:

That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords "climate change" (9).

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position. [emphasis added]

This is the real bottom line behind all of the Washington Post's devious defending of Will: for over 4 years now, everyone who has wanted to know has had clear proof that there is solid scientific consensus.  There is no scientific debate.  And everything published that seeks to obscure that fact is actively imperiling the future of the human race.

What do you call a traitor who is not just betraying their country, but their entire species?

Simple: George Will. Fred Hiatt. Andy Alexander.  Our species is in peril, and those who would blind us to that peril, those who would betray us all, have names.  It is time to start naming them openly as traitors to humanity.  

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It is hard for me to understand (4.00 / 1)
how the Washington Post having decided to fully back Will's willful and deliberate lies will ever recover a modicum of credibility.

Leading indicators (4.00 / 1)
If it wasn't already clear which side of history the Post has chosen to stand on, welcoming the prodigal Mr. Kristol back from his sojourn in the liberal wilderness of the NYT pretty much ended any doubt. Whether he jumped ship, or was pushed overboard by the Times, the fact that the Post was ready with their life preservers is all anyone needs to know.

Beavis and Butthead's favorite newspaper; what a way to go.  

[ Parent ]
Newspapers and retractions (0.00 / 0)
Newpapers are extremely reluctant to admit a mistake.  Major examples abound.  Look at the NYT and the Wen Ho Lee story.  A year later the NYT printed an entirely different story about Wen Ho Lee, but never retracted their original story.  Look and the Judith Miller/Michael Gordon stories about WMD in Iraq.  The NYT never really retacted those stories and Gordon kept his job at the paper.  No politician ever parsed words as closely as an editor defending an untrue/incorrect story.

"Everybody Does It" (4.00 / 1)
doesn't pass muster when your average snot-nosed kid tries to game their mom.

It hardly seems wise to let our civilization, and possibly our species be wiped out with an excuse that no self-respecting soccer mom would dignify with a response beyond, "Yeah, well if Butthead jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?"

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I'm not terribly optimistic, either, about their coming coverage of (0.00 / 0)
tomorrow's Capitol Climate Action demonstration, given how small their coverage for that and for Power Shift '09 has been thus far. I do think, though, CCA's dress code indicates, among other things, a nice media savvy. Or a necessary media savvy, anyway. To hear the forecast, I hope they brought their fancy overcoats.

If today's "This Week" show (0.00 / 0)
is any indicator, your doubts are well founded.  I watched the round table portion of the show and Stephanopoulous never mentioned a thing about George Will's WaPo articles.  Granted, they were talking about the budget and economy, but still, you'd think it might be brought up, given that it's probably the most attention George Will has gotten in the media for years.  But it was like it never happened.

[ Parent ]
George Will Lying Is Like Animals Breathing Air (4.00 / 1)
Why would anyone notice?

And DFH's complaining?  Happens all the time.  You start a little war, and there they go again.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
There is no fine point, lets not equivocate. (4.00 / 1)
It is time to start naming them openly as traitors to humanity.  

Denying global warming is the moral equivalent of Denying the  Holocaust.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

Would not go there (0.00 / 0)
As an environmentalist and historian (my specialty is ethnic cleansing and I have taught numerous courses on the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and genocide in world histoyr I strongly advise against the Holocaust denier comparison.  Making this comparison will provide an opportunity for those you criticize to protray themselves as vitimized.  Global warming denial may be:
a kind of psychosis
a bizarre form of identity politics
a form of libertarian economic extremism

But it is not the same as denying historical facts from the past.

[ Parent ]
Your equivocation is misplaced. (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps you haven't yet read the fine article this comment is attached to. Perhaps the followup article here Barbara Boxer, Senate EPW Committee: Facing Up To Global Warming

"Is it that bad?" you might be asking. Is it really the moral equivalent of something that foul? We have no idea how fast it is going to get how bad. There is only one place in the known universe were we are sure, that not that life can exist, not that "the preconditions" that might make life possible are present, but we know, for sure, of only one place where fire is possible. You can't light a candle anywhere but here. The "preconditions for life" are available in a thin film only on this rock, no thicker than paint on a basketball.

And you knew that before there was life here, another form of life existed, and by existing it changed the atmosphere, (you know this part right?) and that killed off the entire ecosystem to whom oxygen was poison, but made way for oxygen breathing life. Life can kill an ecosystem.

And you know that we are in precarious balance, an interlocking delicate balanced complex system, that are altering at great rate, to the detriment of the weakest of the planets citizens. The poor of Katrina are the perfect example of coming victims of a balanced ecosystem pushed sidewyas like a child's top.

The moral failure of Denying the Holocaust is not merely disrespect of the victims of Fascist authoritarian racists, it is that people, who all know better, are trying to increase the potential for the Holocaust to happen again. This is our times highest moral crime. And preventing the Holocaust from happening is the highest moral duty.

Denying the oncoming crisis, and multileveled devastation, and all the attendant crises for the great majority of the worlds population who have no ability to outrun, outsmart or outgun water shortages, food shortages, civil wars, massive storms and droughts and die offs which are the horsemen of climate change, is EXACTLY the same moral failure.

Exactly the same moral failure.  Crime.

Denying global warming is the moral equivalent of giving diseased blankets to the Cheyenne and Sioux.

It is time to start naming them openly as traitors to humanity.  

There is no fine point, lets not equivocate.  


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
You Make A Good Point, But... (0.00 / 0)
what's the point of insisting on honesty about the past?

At least half the answer is to ensure against future evils.  And that's precisely what HousesofProgress is advocating here.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Well put (4.00 / 3)
This is the crux of any argument on Climate Change - that there have been no published papers in peer reviewed journals. For all the hoo-hah of Scientists challenging the claim, none have published peer reviewed papers.

I don't have a problem with the rational scepticism over the exact impacts of Climate Change, weather systems are infinitely complex. Critically however it is the undeniable consequences to societies living on the ecological edge, who are already beginning to suffer from sub-saharan Africa to Bangladesh - that makes Climate Change a humanitarian issue.


Not the equivalent of a deliberate plan to exterminate a group (0.00 / 0)
The effects of global warming if unhalted may be far more damaging than any other human act, but all bad things are not equivalent or even comparable.  You can go ahead and make this argument if you want. If the argument gets any attention in the broader public the primary effect will be to damge those who make it.

[ Parent ]
It Would Not Surprise Me (0.00 / 0)
to find that George Will has some sort of financial agreement with fossil fuel industries.  Has anyone asked him to state that he does not?


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