In the Washington Post yesterday, conservative columnist George Will chastised Energy Secretary Stephen Chu for “doomsaying” about global warming, arguing that concerns about climate change are just “eco-pessimism.” As evidence to support his point, Will claimed that “according to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.” But, as TPMmuckraker notes, the Arctic Climate Research Center (ACRC) quickly disputed Will’s claim:
We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.
In its statement, the ACRC added that “It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.” Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt told TPMmuckraker that “he’d try to respond to questions about the editing process later today.” They have yet to hear back from him.
Slamming Will’s column, Ezra Klein wrote, “Sadly, our political pundits have outsourced their scientific research to an intern charged with a superficial skim of Newsweek covers.” He added, “I look forward to [Will's] correction.”