It was a hot few weeks for global warming deniers like George Will and Matt Drudge. That is until a winter storm slammed the East Coast and buried any chance of intelligent conversation in a pile of dirty snow.
George Will trotted out the same shoddy reasoning that conservatives have employed for years to insinuate that global warming is a lie, first igniting a throwdown on the science blogosphere and then attempting to defend himself in a followup. (For a step-by-step analysis of Will’s flaws, check out Carl Zimmer). And today, once again confusing weather with climate, Matt Drudge had a laugh at politicians grounded by the massive snowstorm that prevented them from reaching a global warming conference.
Meanwhile, back in the realm of real science, another study raises alarm. A scientist from the University of Texas calculated that the massive Wenchuan earthquakes that shook China last May might be responsible for a whole lot of carbon emissions—as much as two percent of the total world emissions from fossil fuels. That’s because the quakes caused mudslides, which killed and buried trees and those trees will release their stored CO2 as they decay. The mudslides will also cause the ecosystem to lose nitrogen, with 14 percent of it spewed into the air as nitrous oxide.
Seeing that there are enough horrible realities in life that we can’t control, isn’t it about time to act on the things we can? George Will and other deniers want to suck us in to refighting the battle over whether humans caused global warming, a debate that should’ve ended years ago. The best questions now are about what to do in the future. That’s a discussion worthy of a venerable columnist and his high-profile platform.