Relax, Climate Change is No Big Deal – Mother Jones



The Wall Street Journal editorial page, dedicated as always to telling its readers what they want to hear, tells them today that climate change is no big deal. Here is longtime climate denier Fred Singer on sea level rise:

By studying a very short time interval, it is possible to sidestep most of the complications, like “isostatic adjustment” of the shoreline (as continents rise after the overlying ice has melted) and “subsidence” of the shoreline (as ground water and minerals are extracted).

I chose to assess the sea-level trend from 1915-45, when a genuine, independently confirmed warming of approximately 0.5 degree Celsius occurred. I note particularly that sea-level rise is not affected by the warming; it continues at the same rate, 1.8 millimeters a year, according to a 1990 review by Andrew S. Trupin and John Wahr. I therefore conclude—contrary to the general wisdom—that the temperature of sea water has no direct effect on sea-level rise. That means neither does the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide.

This conclusion is worth highlighting: It shows that sea-level rise does not depend on the use of fossil fuels. The evidence should allay fear that the release of additional CO2 will increase sea-level rise.

Big words? Check. Cherry-picked timeframe? Check. Climate change is bunk? Check. No long-term chart just for laughs? Check.

I’m no scientist, but I can copy numbers into Excel and then present them to the world. This task was probably too time consuming for the Journal—they’re busy people, after all—so I’m happy to lend a hand in my own poor way. Here it is:

As you can see, global temperature increases in fits and spurts, but has nonetheless been rising steadily. Sea level rise follows at the same rate, but its growth is steadier since the oceans are vast heat sinks that tend to react slowly to a single year’s change in average temperature. The period from 1915-1945 is nothing special.

Most of us in the lefty pundit biz have long since taken a pledge not to waste time responding to the Journal’s op-ed page. Virtually every piece is a deliberate attempt to misstate the truth in some way, and once you go down the rabbit hole you could dedicate your entire life to nothing else. And make no mistake: despite all the earnest calls from conservatives for more ideological diversity in the nation’s op-ed pages, the Journal has no intention of hiring any liberal columnists to provide their readers with an alternate worldview. If they ever call to offer me a weekly slot, I’ll let you know.

Still, every once in a while I see something so dumb that I weaken and feel like I have to respond. Today was one of those days.