|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.