Sorry, but is this a bad time to discuss global warming?
Here in the mid-Atlantic, the month of May has been a washout. Record rainfall has made last year’s drought seem like a distant memory. And the temperature just can’t seem to warm up. It feels more like March than May.
But maybe one month isn’t a fair sample. “When you look at climate change, you should not look at any particular year,” cautions Michel Jarraud, the World Meteorological Organization’s secretary-general and a global-warming proponent.
Well, then. Is 10 years long enough? As BBC news put it last month, “temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world.”
Oh, but Jarraud has an answer to that, too. “La Nina is part of what we call ‘variability.’ There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years,” he explained, “but what is important for climate change is that the trend is up; the climate on average is warming, even if there is a temporary cooling because of La Nina.”
Well, few people are meteorologists. But almost anybody can identify the key word in Jarraud’s explanation: “variability.” The weather in New York is different from the weather in L.A., which is different from the weather in Chicago. And tomorrow, the weather will be different in all three places. Weather “varies.”
But scientists aren’t celebrating our decade of cooling. Since the planet hasn’t been getting any hotter, they now talk about how the problem is “global climate change.” But that shouldn’t be a concern. The climate is always changing, and there’s simply no way for humans to alter that.
Oh, but we’re going to try.
Next month, lawmakers in Washington (which might have warmed up to summer temperatures by then) will take up a bill called “America’s Climate Security Act.” It aims to control global warming by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (you’re exhaling some right now) our country emits.
The bill’s complicated, of course. But it would do what government does best: Attempt to address a problem by creating a bureaucracy to manage it. That approach has failed completely with, say, education policy. But maybe it’ll work to cool the planet.
Tellingly, the proposed climate change bill relies heavily on a technology known as “carbon capture and sequestration,” where carbon from fossil fuels is, instead of being released into the air, collected and buried. But the technology to do this doesn’t exist yet, and may never exist.
Ironically, the entire bill is unnecessary.