Analysis by Stephen Leahy
Mar 4 (IPS) – Colder than usual January temperatures in the United States have brought the climate change deniers out of hibernation, flooding websites, and opinion and letters pages about the “great global warming hoax”. They even organised their own conference on denial in New York City this week.
“Global warming is not a global crisis” declared the Heartland Institute, organiser of the “International Conference on Climate Change”. Heartland is a well-known right-wing lobby group which accepted more than half a million dollars from oil giant ExxonMobil between 1999 and 2005, according to Exxon documents disclosed by Greenpeace, and thousands of dollars more from the tobacco industry.
Not surprisingly, in a statement issued Tuesday, they insisted that all efforts “intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith”.
“Manmade global warming is a total hoax. It has no basis in fact,” shouted Rush Limbaugh, a U.S. conservative radio host, on his Feb. 27 show, which draws as many as 13 million listeners.
“Record snows and cold are being reported from all over the northern hemisphere this winter,” Limbaugh claimed.
There is more to the northern hemisphere than the U.S. and Canada. Yes, it has also been cold in China and the Middle East, but it has also been very warm in Britain and most of Europe. In early February, it was balmy 14 degrees C in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is the city’s normal average temperature in July. In Moscow, Russia, the most northern capital city in the world, the forecast this week is rainy and about 3 degrees C, instead of the normal snowy and -10 degrees C.
These temperatures prove nothing. It is just weather. However, climate is completely different than the daily variations in temperature in any one place. Climate is the total of all weather occurring over a period of years in a given place. A cold January means it is winter in the U.S., nothing more.
But Limbaugh went on to claim that NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies latest data shows that “global temperatures have dropped precipitously” in the last year, when in fact NASA reported that 2007 was the second warmest year on record.
Refuting this seemingly endless flow of erroneous information, not to mention outright lies, has become a no-win proposition. Most scientists no longer waste their time, feeling that giving any attention to these self-titled “global warming sceptics” simply encourages them and their sponsors — corporate interests in the fossil fuel industry, among others.
Far from fading away as the world struggles to come to grips with the reality of climate change, deniers in the U.S. are making their last stand. The Washington Post reported last month that a new group, backed by the coal industry and its utility allies, are waging a 35-million-dollar campaign to fuel opposition to U.S. legislation to slow climate change.
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth is warming, and fast, even respected newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and Canada’s National Post continue to print opinion articles claiming an Ice Age or global cooling is imminent. Even though there is no science behind this, the “facts” are often distorted and comments from scientists willfully misrepresented, which are then cited on websites and blogs for months and even years. For complete article see The Ostrich Brigades
update jan 09
Great blog by Aussie scientist on the endless denial claims: Spot the Recycled Denial series
and CARTOONS!! Cartoon guide to global warming denial II