The arguing continues. Was George Will totally wrong to say recent expert reports indicate global sea ice today is the same as it was in 1979? Should he have said it’s the same as it was in 1980? Does it make a difference?
The Will piece is controversial because he quoted the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, which then responded that Will, the center’s opinion, had misused its data showing sea ice today is 8 percent lower than it was in 1979.
8% ‘slight’? To Will, that 8 percent difference is about the same. Ombudsman Alexander found that, in fact, the Research Center, in January, had used the words “near or slightly lower than those observed in late 1979” to describe today’s ice. But now, the Research Center says that 8 percent is not “slightly lower”; it’s ice equal in area to Texas, California and Oklahoma combined.
Meanwhile, others are pointing out that today’s sea ice area is greater than it was in 1980, just a year after the year everyone else is fighting about. Choose your baseline. If it’s 1979, today’s ice is down. If it’s 1980, today’s ice is up.
[Washington Post] editors also missed opportunities to move the debate to washingtonpost.com. Will’s column attracted hundreds of comments online, and the three-day cutoff period for comments could have been extended to allow more. Experts could have been quickly engaged to debate Will’s assertions. Clarifications from the Arctic Climate Research Center could have been posted.
There is a disturbing if-you-don’t-agree-with-me-you’re-an-idiot tone to much of the global warming debate. Thoughtful discourse is noticeably absent in the current dispute. But that’s where The Post could have helped, and can in the future.
Debate goes on. That’s the great thing about Will’s column. It actually started a global warming debate. I finally can see what each side (Really, there are at least two sides) is arguing about global warming and, with the back and forth, we’re all learning something. Let’s have more of this.
The debate is not over.
If those who warn of a manmade global warming catastrophe were totally confident in their position, they’d be calling for massive nuclear power expansion right now. Few are. The doubt is evident.