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George Will Doesn’t Understand What a Trend Is

By Matthew Yglesias on April 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm

"George Will Doesn’t Understand What a Trend Is"

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Another doozy from George Will on climate change:

Reducing carbon emissions supposedly will reverse warming, which is allegedly occurring even though, according to statistics published by the World Meteorological Organization, there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998.

I really think 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. As the Secretary General of the World Metereological Organization wrote in The Washington Post two weeks ago:

Data collected over the past 150 years by the 188 members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) through observing networks of tens of thousands of stations on land, at sea, in the air and from constellations of weather and climate satellites lead to an unequivocal conclusion: The observed increase in global surface temperatures is a manifestation of global warming. Warming has accelerated particularly in the past 20 years.

It is a misinterpretation of the data and of scientific knowledge to point to one year as the warmest on record — as was done in a recent Post column ["Dark Green Doomsayers," George F. Will, op-ed, Feb. 15] — and then to extrapolate that cooler subsequent years invalidate the reality of global warming and its effects.

I’m beyond caring what Will is thinking or doing here. But what on earth are the Post‘s editors doing? This is an obvious fallacy, and the Post itself has run a thorough debunking of this talking point. Why did they do that if they intend to keep using their brand to enhance the credibility of Will’s misrepresentations? It’s unfathomable. Why would you expect anyone to pay money to read a newspaper that publishes willfully misleading information?

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