Earlier this year, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele ridiculed the notion that the Earth is warming, arguing instead that the world is actually “cooling,” citing the supposed examples of Iceland and Greenland:
STEELE: We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? No very long.
“I’m embarrassed for the Republicans,” one Discover Magazine blogger wrote of Steele’s comments. Yesterday, a reporter from the local Fox Tampa affiliate asked Steele how he knows the Earth is cooling. “I don’t!” Steele exclaimed:
Q: Global warming, you say the earth is cooling. Michael how do you know for sure?
STEELE: I don’t! I don’t! But apparently neither does anybody else! Ok? I don’t. All i know is every morning I come on, I turn on channel 13 and I’ll see what the weather man tells me okay?
Watch it (starting at 7:15):
Steele doesn’t know how he knows “we are cooling” because there isn’t any evidence to support that claim. It’s a political tactic the right wing uses to obstruct meaningful action to address climate change.
Climate experts and scientists reject the idea that a number of relatively cool years in the last decade are any indication of “global cooling.” “It is a misinterpretation of the data and of scientific knowledge to point to one year as the warmest on record…and then to extrapolate that cooler subsequent years invalidate the reality of global warming and its effects,” U.N. World Meteorological Organization secretary-general Michael Jarraud said. In fact, independent statisticians have called the global cooling myth “not scientifically legitimate.”
Of course, the actual science is clear. This has been the hottest decade in recorded history. Climate change is real. The earth is warming, and it is man-made. But as Steele said during his Tampa Fox affiliate interview, “I’m still tryin’ to find a brother who will tell me, ‘This is the temperature that it should be,’ so, you know, we don’t know.” But just because Steele doesn’t know, doesn’t mean “we” don’t.
Greg Sargent notes a new Ipsos/McClatchy poll showing that “Republicans are increasingly isolated in their denial of global warming.”