News Cycle

A look at the news, politics and journalism in today’s 24-hour media.

Global Warming and Snow; the Left Can’t Have It Both Ways

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Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC has been telling his viewers the past few days that the recent major snowstorms on the East Coast are exactly what scientists have been predicting would happen as a result of global warming:

http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=XdnzIrpr4z

Contessa Brewer of MSNBC followed the same logic:

But these leaders have been saying the opposite, that the recent dry winters are evidence of global warming.

Robert F. Kennedy wrote a couple years ago:

In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today’s anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don’t own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.

In those days, I recall my uncle, President Kennedy, standing erect as he rode a toboggan in his top coat, never faltering until he slid into the boxwood at the bottom of the hill. Once, my father, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, brought a delegation of visiting Eskimos home from the Justice Department for lunch at our house. They spent the afternoon building a great igloo in the deep snow in our backyard. My brothers and sisters played in the structure for several weeks before it began to melt. On weekend afternoons, we commonly joined hundreds of Georgetown residents for ice skating on Washington’s C&O Canal, which these days rarely freezes enough to safely skate.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil and its carbon cronies continue to pour money into think tanks whose purpose is to deceive the American public into believing that global warming is a fantasy. In 1998, these companies plotted to deceive American citizens about climate science. Their goal, according to a meeting memo, was to orchestrate information so that “recognition of uncertainties become part of the conventional wisdom” and that “those promoting the Kyoto treaty … appear to be out of touch with reality.”

StopGlobalwarming.org warned in 2006 that the lack of snow due to global warming was putting ski resorts out of business in Spain:

Global warming is threatening to put ski resorts out of business in Spain, where nearly all ski slopes are closed for lack of snow, the daily El Pais reported Tuesday. The Pyrenees only have a quarter of the amount of snow which is usual for the beginning of December, and the situation is similar in other wintersport areas.

The only place to go skiing are the Sierra Nevada mountains in the south, but even there, only four kilometres of pistes can be used.

The rest of Spain’s 953 kilometres of ski pistes do not have enough snow, a situation which has not occurred to a comparable extent since 1995.

The Environment Ministry attributed the lack of snow to global warming, which threatens thousands of jobs linked to the skiing industry.

In 2007, The Washington Post said the same problem was happening in France and Switzerland:

Abondance is the French Alps’ first ski station to fall apparent victim to global warming. It will almost certainly not be the last.

At 3,051 feet, this station between Mont Blanc and Lake Leman falls in the altitude range climate scientists say has seen the most dramatic drop in snowfall in recent generations.

The Alps as a whole, which pull in about 70 million tourists every year primarily for winter sports, are “particularly sensitive” to climate change, according to a study last winter by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It calls climate change a serious threat to Alpine ski resorts and the regional economies that depend on them. The most recent World Cup ski circuit was badly hit by lack of snow, with several races in the Alps _ even at high altitudes _ called off.

This report was based on a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which said in 2006:

The Alps are particularly sensitive to climate change and recent warming there has been roughly three times the global average. The years 1994, 2000, 2002, and 2003 were the warmest on record in the Alps in the last 500 years (according to high resolution reconstructions of the climate in the region since 1500AD). Climate model projections show even greater changes in the coming decades, with less snow at low altitudes and receding glaciers and melting permafrost higher up.

Presently 90% – 609 out of the 666 medium to large Alpine ski areas – normally have adequate snow cover for at least 100 days per year. The remaining 10% are already operating under marginal conditions. Future climate change could mean a drop in the number of ‘snow-reliable’ ski areas with a 1°C increase in temperature dropping the number to 500, 2°C to 400, and 4 °C to 200.

Of the countries studied, Germany is most at risk, with the 1°C warming scenario leading to a 60% decrease in the number of naturally snow-reliable ski areas. Austria (where half the tourism income, or 4.5% of the national economy, is from winter tourism) is slightly more sensitive than the average. France is about average, Italy slightly above average, and Switzerland would suffer the least though even there a 1°C increase would reduce natural snow by 10% and +4°C would halve the number of snow-reliable slopes.

Despite the description on Drudge’s link (“NYT:The Blizzards Are From The Warming…”), John M. Broder of New York Times took a fairly balanced look at the issue:

WASHINGTON — As millions of people along the East Coast hole up in their snowbound homes, the two sides in the climate-change debate are seizing on the mounting drifts to bolster their arguments.

Skeptics of global warming are using the record-setting snows to mock those who warn of dangerous human-driven climate change — this looks more like global cooling, they taunt.

Most climate scientists respond that the ferocious storms are consistent with forecasts that a heating planet will produce more frequent and more intense weather events.

But some independent climate experts say the blizzards in the Northeast no more prove that the planet is cooling than the lack of snow in Vancouver or the downpours in Southern California prove that it is warming.

So, which is it? Couldn’t it be possible that we had a few good winters, and now we are having a snowy one? I tend to believe it’s just a snowy winter in the Northeast, and that we were due. What is clear is that you can’t have it both ways when making a political argument. Either global warming is real or it is not; and if it is real, then it either causes less snow or more snow, but not both.

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Written by newscycle

February 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm

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