Is the Devil Shivering?

The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 4 2006 12:19 PM

Is the Devil Shivering?

Trust Pat Robertson to even be able to screw up being right.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies! Follow him on Twitter.

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This week the heat index, the perceived temperature based on both air temperatures and humidity, reached 115 Fahrenheit in some regions of the East Coast. The 76-year-old Robertson told viewers that was "the most convincing evidence I’ve seen on global warming in a long time."

Sigh. A hot summer is not "convincing" evidence of global warming! We've had hot summers before. It's difficult to predict how global warming will affect us specifically, that is, on any given day, or in any given place. Many models show winters getting more severe as global ocean currents change their paths (this was one of the most egregiously exaggerated parts of the movie "The Day After Tomorrow"), for example, so you can have global warming, but colder winters in some places.

So Robertson is finally right about something, but for the wrong reason. The evidence for global warming is everywhere, all around us. Some may still deny that, but they're wrong. There is no controversy among climate scientists, and the only "controversy" is generated in the media.

Look: the National Academies of Science were pretty clear about this. Global warming is real, it's happening now, and it is certainly caused or amplified by humans. The next step is clear as well: if the partisan people still denying it don't get their heads out of their butts and wake up, we're all screwed.

I don't know if I should be surprised or not that someone like Robertson would finally see the light, but I am bordering on sad: people are letting their partisanship really blind their views. Some may accuse me of that as well, but there is a big difference: I looked at the reports, I've listened to the scientists, and I have not let media-imposed "balance" sway me-- the media are not scientists, and they are too easily infiltrated by people with an axe to grind.

The science is clear. It's about time the message was as well.

Update: Turns out PZ Myers says the same thing I do. But he's a reasonably smart fella.

Update the second (Aug. 5, 2006): BallonJuice is saying exactly this same thing as well. C'mon, join the bandwagon. The water's warm. And getting warmer.