Washington Post columnist George Will spent much of 2009 denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that man-made global climate change is a real and dangerous phenomenon, sometimes publishing objectively false information. At one point, for example, Will claimed that “according to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.” The Arctic Climate Research Center almost immediately responded will real data contradicting Will’s claim, adding “[w]e do not know where George Will is getting his information.”
On ABC News’ This Week this morning, Will resumed his crusade against science, this time trying to blame the record heat wave spreading across America on an ordinary summer:
WILL: How do we explain the heat? One word: summer. I grew up in central Illinois in a house that had air conditioning. What is so unusual about this? . . . We’re having some hot weather. Get over it.
To answer Will’s question, what is unusual about the current heat wave is not that it is hot in summer. Warm summers are nothing new. What is new is that America is now experiencing a heat wave of unprecedented length and nearly unprecedented force. In Washington, DC, for example, the 11 day stretch of temperatures above 95 degrees is the longest in recorded history. DC also has not experienced temperatures this high in eight decades.
If this were an isolated incident, it could possibly be dismissed. But the truth is that unusually high temperatures are no longer, well, unusual. All 12 of the hottest years on record occurred in the last fifteen years.
At this point, it’s clear that no amount of new information, no amount of scientific evidence, not even his own experience stepping out into a record heat wave every day for nearly two weeks, can get Mr. Will to stop claiming that global warming is a myth. The fact that Will is so completely incapable of adapting to new information — not to mention his record of printing pure falsehoods — raises serious questions about why the Washington Post continues to publish him.