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February 07, 2007

Global warming reports cause cold weather

James Taranto once made fun of Al Gore for giving an alarmist speech on global warming when it was extremely cold outside:

Yesterday the erstwhile veep came to New York, where he delivered one of the silliest speeches in American political history. The topic was "global warming," the temperature outside in the single digits. The sheer ludicrousness of warning of warming in the middle of an exceptionally cold winter was widely noted in the press but apparently lost on Gore, who decided against rescheduling his speech so as to make it less preposterous.
Taranto did not say what I will speculate here: that Gore's haranguing about the subject had caused the frigid temperatures.

And sure enough, this past weekend saw the release of an alarmist report on global warming. Since then, it's been incredibly cold.
The ferocious February cold snap turned snowy overnight, dumping one to two inches of crisp, dry flakes -- and a host of school closings -- on a region already struggling with bitter temperatures, broken boilers and burst water pipes.
In fact, one news story reported that "West Virginia called snowplow drivers out of retirement Wednesday as snowstorms and arctic cold blamed for at least 14 deaths hung over much of the Midwest and East."

Coincidence? I think not.

On a slightly more serious note, Robert Samuelson makes the sensible point in the Post today that we should not delude ourselves into thinking that we can solve global warming, without "research and development, focusing on nuclear power, electric batteries, alternative fuels and the capture of carbon dioxide."

My own contribution is to note that no plan to deal with global warming can be taken seriously unless it first tackles the problem of China, a country exempted from the Kyoto accords, which again is refusing to cooperate. As Samuelson notes:
About three-quarters of the increase [in CO2 emissions] is forecast to come from developing countries, two-fifths from China alone. The IEA expects China to pass the United States as the largest source of carbon dioxide by 2009.
There is a tendency to blame the West, and particularly the United States. The U.S. can do the research Samuelson advocates (and any means of marginalizing the oil-producing countries would be sound foreign policy). But it's China more than any other country that will have to adjust its environmental rules.

It won't, and the global warming alarmists are likely to let China get away with it.

UPDATE: Russell Roberts explains why nothing "much is going to happen in the policy arena, other than a few symbolic gestures."

UPDATE (2/8): Al Gore demonstrates his seriousness by saying that China is entitled to wait for the U.S. and other Western countries to address global warming first.
Emerging economies such as China are justified in holding back on fighting greenhouse gas emissions until richer polluters like the United States do more to solve the problem, former Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday.
(via HotAir)

UPDATE (2/13): Tim Blair has caught on to Al Gore's role in this.