Commentary Magazine


Global Warming Isn’t Proved by Summer Heat or Disproved by Winter Snow

Last winter, when the Northeast was buried under record snowfalls, some political activists had a little fun at the expense of global-warming alarmists by quipping that it was going to keep snowing until Al Gore said “uncle.” Those who peddle environmental hysteria denounced this argument, which was obviously tongue-in-cheek, as the sort of know-nothing idiocy that you can expect from all those who refuse to accept the true religion of global warming. Flash forward to what is proving a hot summer in the Northeast and, amazingly, we find the New York Times’s economic columnist Dave Leonhardt using the same sort of logic as that of the pranksters who built an igloo on Capitol Hill last February and dubbed it Al Gore’s new home. The only difference is that the Grey Lady’s economic wise man is putting forward his case without irony or apology.

The lede of Leonhardt’s column on Tuesday used the current heat wave as the opener for his complaint against members of Congress who refuse to pass President Obama’s energy bill, which would inaugurate a system of massive tax increases on business under the guise of a “cap-and-trade” system that would supposedly decrease carbon usage. Increasing numbers of Americans are skeptical about the theories that assume human responsibility for any climate change, in part because the Climategate scandal showed the lack of integrity on the part of the scientists who have hyped alarmist scenarios rather than sober science. But Leonhardt repeats, again without irony, the talk about the Himalayan Glaciers melting, without noting that his own newspaper reported that the much-ballyhooed assertion that the glaciers would melt by 2030 was a fraud based on bogus science.

Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme won’t pass, despite the laments of both Leonhardt and his fellow Times-man Tom Friedman, largely because most Americans are appalled at the idea of such a massive power grab by the government and know that imposing these sort of punitive taxes at a time of deep recession is a prescription for an economic disaster.

But the point here is that Leonhardt’s effort to whip up support for global-warming legislation because of a heat wave in the middle of summer is as silly as anyone who claimed that the fact that it snowed in the winter meant the opposite about global warming. The problem with global-warming science is the manipulation of data to prove a preordained conclusion, such as the now discredited “hockey stick” diagram, which “proved” global warming. Leonhardt’s arguments in favor of his statist solutions to the possibility of climate change are weak. But his attempt, based on the current temperature spikes, to shame members of Congress who wisely want no part of this fiscal catastrophe in the making shows a lack of intellectual integrity that strips his advocacy of any credibility.