Heads in the Snow
This isn’t news to any of our readers, but as a massive winter storm descends on the East Coast, let us be clear about one thing:
The existence of a terrible, extreme snowstorm, far from belying the existence of “global warming”/climate change, actually confirms it.
According to every model and every prediction of the phenomenon, climate change will cause more extreme weather, both in terms of cold and heat. That the east coast is suffering from a once-in-a-century storm aligns perfectly with the predictions of climate models.
I have heard less of the normal Republican chortling about “some global warming ha ha” on this storm, perhaps because of Hurricane Sandy’s impact and the discussion about it afterwards. But it’s important to maintaing vigilence against the new medievalism in GOP science.
It affects even normally intelligent people. I was in North Carolina for the holidays, and an old friend of mine, a law professor no less, told me that the state was experiencing an unseasonably warm winter. “Some global warming,” he said. I responded that that is what one would expect from climate models, and he said that that means that the theory is unfalsifiable — every weather event confirms it.
No it doesn’t! Temperatures can have a high/high, a low/high, a high/low, and a low/low. If any of these are consistently going outside historic norms, then that confirms the models. You can have a cold winter, or a warm winter. Normal weather will tend to contradict the model, and ongoing normal weather will tend to falsify it. But at least for those who respect data, the confirming evidence has been far more powerful than the contradicting evidence. And anyone who thinks otherwise (I’m looking at you, Senator Inhofe), has his head in the snow.
To all of our friends on the east coast: stay warm.
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…READ more