In today’s LA Times, columnist Jonah Goldberg – following George Will’s lead – argues that global warming may not be a problem (or even exist). Goldberg writes that “we don’t have a clear picture of what’s happening now, never mind what will happen.” He calls concern about climate change “millenarian battiness.”
Here is the only “evidence” Goldberg provides to support his contention that the science of climate change is in dispute:
But it’s also true that we don’t have a clear picture of what’s happening now, never mind what will happen. Just ask the 60 climatologists from around the world who wrote Canada’s prime minister that “observational evidence does not support today’s computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future.”
The letter by a dwindling club of “climate skeptics” is misleading and not supported by scientific evidence. A subsequent letter from “climate science leaders from the academic, public and private sectors across Canada” to the prime minister corrects the record. That letter states that since 2001, advances in climate science provided “confirmation that warming of the atmosphere near the surface is consistent with the projections of climate models.”
To the extent “observational evidence” is different from “climate models” it shows that global warming is happening faster. Specifically, scientific analyses conducted since 2001 suggest “climate may be more sensitive to additional greenhouse gases than previously determined.”
The big difference between the letter Goldberg references and the letter sent in response is that the latter contains scientific support for its claims. (There are no peer-reviewed studies that support the skeptics.)
For Goldberg, none of this may matter. Goldberg believes that even if climate change is real, it may be a good thing. He argues that “a one- or two-degree-per-century rise in average global temperatures” will have “some pleasant consequences.”
Happy Earth Day Mr. Goldberg!