A day late for an April fool’s joke, George Will returned Thursday to Fred Hiatt’s editorial pages at the Washington Post to attack climate science and lightbulbs. He repeats a variant of his lie about the U.N. World Meteorological Organization’s temperature record, writing that “according to statistics published by the World Meteorological Organization [WMO], there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998.”
— The size of the uncertainties is such that the global average temperature for 2007 is statistically indistinguishable from each of the nine warmest years on record.
— January 2007 was the warmest January since global surface records were instituted.
— The linear warming trend over the past 50 years (0.13°C per decade) is nearly twice that for the past 100 years.
— Global averaged sea level continued to rise through 2006 and 2007.
— At the end of the melt season, the Arctic sea ice extent was 39 per cent below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000 and 23 per cent below the previous record set in 2005.
— Since 1960, the thermal expansion of the oceans and the melting of glaciers and ice caps are the largest contributions to sea-level rise. There has also been an increasing contribution from surface melt from the Greenland ice sheet over this period. These contributions are directly related to recent climate change.
Furthermore, the WMO recorded the “record-breaking temperature anomalies throughout the world,” “severe to extreme drought,” “extreme flooding,” a “new worldwide record rainfall,” and “unusual sea-surface temperature patterns”:
Significant climate anomalies and events in 2007. Click to enlarge. Chart: WMO. Data: NOAA.
This column, Media Matters notes, comes less than two weeks after Fred Hiatt published a letter from the WMO Secretary-General calling Will’s “no recorded global warming for more than a decade” claim “a misrepresentation of the data and of scientific knowledge.”
“I’m all for newspapers giving their columnists latitude,” Jon Chait opines, “but at some point I wonder if some very basic, low level of factual knowledge ought to be required to propound upon a topic in their pages.”
Turning up the heat, Joe Romm calls for Hiatt to be fired, and Matt Yglesias argues that “anyone working at The Washington Post or in conservative journalism who has a shred of intellectual conscience has a duty to stand up to this kind of nonsense.”
At Get Energy Smart, A. Siegel relates how Will’s new discussion of compact fluorescent light bulbs is riddled with errors and misinformation.
,FAIR‘s Peter Hart asks: “Is it possible for the Washington Post to be embarrassed by George Will?”
The Way Things Break asks a different question: “Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt and George Will: Stupid, lying, or craven?”