The Denying Climate Denier

Quick Note: Sorry this post may seem a bit too long; that is because I planned it as such. It is difficult to make an effective rebuttal when certain parts of the initial argument are overlooked.

Upon reading this short article on the New York Post website (let me be clear, I do not read the New York Post, I found this from another source and the title appealed to me…), I was shocked at the amount of absurd statements that Mr. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, makes on the deniability of climate science. Mr. Lowry cleverly titles his article “Meet the New Climate Deniers” in order to make the reader think he or she will receive a lesson from Lowry about those who deny the contributions of human activity to climate change, but no, that is not what Mr. Lowry wishes to argue. Mr. Lowry’s argument is that global warming has been stale for the last decade. I decide to give Mr. Lowry a chance, continuing to read his post:

“The new climate deniers are the liberals who, despite their obsession with climate change, have managed to miss the biggest story in climate science, which is that there hasn’t been any global warming for about a decade and a half.”

So, liberals deny climate change? Now, Mr, Lowry, you are obviously a self-acclaimed conservative and it seems to me as if you are simply using climate change as a method of criticizing liberals. I will not go on to discussing the lack of ethics in politicizing science, which is what Mr. Lowry seems to be doing.

He goes on quoting The Economist magazine, not exactly the best source for climate science reports:

“Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar…” and continues “…The world added roughly 100 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750.”

Lowry goes on to discuss how although this data is confirmed, there was no increase in global temperature throughout the 21st century, going on to attack Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address when President Obama urges Americans to reduce emissions. Lowry believes Obama did not mention “the latest trend in global warming”, no warming.

So, Mr. Lowry may be the “denier” here. Let’s take a closer look at the data (Thank you Steve for all the great information). As mentioned, Lowry uses a The Economist article to support his argument; hence, the Economist information must itself be analyzed. The article uses a University of Reading chart as its main visual feature.

The chart clearly outlines a long-term growth in change of global temperature, but it decreases to become nearly a constant by the beginning of the 21st century. Now, there are many causes to why atmospheric temperature has remained steady; even Mr. Lowry admits this himself:

“Why the stall in warming? According to The Economist, maybe we’ve overestimated the warming impact of clouds. Or maybe some clouds cool instead of warm the planet. Or maybe the oceans are absorbing heat from the atmosphere. Although the surface temperature of the oceans hasn’t been rising, perhaps the warming is happening deep down.”

Then let us discuss the warming impact of cloudsand the issue of ocean temperature

First off, Mr. Lowry argues that ocean temperatures have not been rising? Our friends from SkepticalScience, although a biased source, do not agree.

Now to answer Mr. Lowry’s comment on how “maybe clouds cool instead of warm the planet”. Clouds have a greater albedo than oceans and rain forests, so yes Rich, clouds do cool the Earth, but you would know that if you read the Economist article where this is explained.

Lowry concludes his Editorial:

“What is beginning to seem more likely is that the “sensitivity” of the global climate to carbon emissions has been overestimated. If so, the deniers will be the last to admit it.”

Well, it seems that Rich Lowry has been looking at the short-term consequences of global warming, not thinking about the intergenerational consequences that come with climate change.

I do admit however, that there is one thing I and Mr. Lowry agree on. Uncertainty still dominates climate science, models are not exactly accurate and there is a lot to discuss, but regardless of this, global warming is happening.

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