Back in early March, the UK’s Met Office released a review of climate science conducted since the last IPCC report.
The conclusion? “(It) confirms our planet is changing rapidly and man-made greenhouse gas emissions are very likely to be the cause,” said a news release.
The paper’s formal title is Detection and attribution of climate change: A regional perspective. Here’s the BBC story.
Late on March 4, I tweeted the following:
I can almost guarantee Margaret Wente will not be writing a drive-by climate column based on this story*
* In a stunning bit of Twitter incompetence, I linked to a New Yorker review of the Italian film Il Divo, but it should have been a story about the Met Office study :)
History would prove me right. In all the columns she wrote since that report, she never referenced it.
Back on Feb. 16, I blogged the following in response to one of Wente’s Globe and Mail columns: Perspectives on ‘Climategate’ and the IPCC.
Since then, Wente has been fairly silent on the climate issue.
On April 10, she did write Welcome to the wacky world of green power. In late May, she batted out Dare to be an optimist! It was a paean to British science writer Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. Here’s the climate reference:
Genetically modified foods have been consumed by millions, without a single casualty. A new genetically modified gene (developed in a lab in Alberta) could allow plants to achieve the same yields with half the nitrogen, resulting in cheaper food, cleaner water and dramatic reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.
Alarmism over global warming, he predicts, will meet the same fate as alarmism over cancer epidemics. Even though the Earth may indeed be warming, he’s confident that humankind will adapt. He even has the audacity to argue that fossil fuels are, on the whole, a good thing. “You can regret the sinful profligacy of the modern world, which is the conventional reaction,” he told The Guardian. “Or you can conclude that were it not for fossil fuels, 99 per cent of people would have to live in slavery for the rest to have a decent standard of living, as indeed they did in Bronze Age empires.”
I can’t remember if Wente wrote columns praising the optimists who predicted a 36,000 Dow, or the ones who thought subprime mortgages couldn’t blow up because it would take house prices falling all over the U.S. at once for that to happen. Since that here had never been a national U.S. house-price collapse in the country’s history, one could be justifiably optimistic in believing it wouldn’t happen this time either, correct?
Well, the Dow closed at 9,931.97 on June 5. The U.S. staved off the subprime-triggered collapse of its financial system in 2008 by plunging its federal government into almost unimaginable debt. They just put off their problems, and as Globe columnist Jeffrey Simpson noted this weekend, the Americans aren’t having a serious discussion about their country’s decline.
Right now, the world running a serious climate deficit. We’re burning fossil fuels at a rate that will leave us with a dangerously warmer atmosphere and changed climate in the coming decades. That bill will come due.
Is Wente really suggesting we should just keep on keeping on in the belief that it will all work out in the end? That doesn’t seem to be rationally optimistic.
But at least, if only for the time being, Wente isn’t writing that global warming stopped in 1998. Thank God for even the smallest signs of progress.