Image via the New Yorker
If you're not a regular watcher of climate issues, the major ups and downs (okay, so it was overwhelmingly downs) that comprised the media narrative of global warming over the last 6 months was probably pretty confusing. There were some hacked emails, overheated allegations, some noisy weathermen, and an extra-snowy winter. So what's someone to do if they want to catch up on the goings-on without wading into the extensive coverage of the kind produced by climate bloggers like yours truly? That, friends, is why we have Elizabeth Kolbert. If you only read one article about the last 6 months' climate issues, read this one. In her brief piece for the New Yorker's Comment section, Kolbert again proves why she's among the best environmental writers we've got. It's only 9 paragraphs or so long, and it deftly sums up the happenings of the last 6 months. If you only read one article on climate this week (or month) make it this one. Here's the takeaway:
No one has ever offered a plausible account of why thousands of scientists at hundreds of universities in dozens of countries would bother to engineer a climate hoax. Nor has anyone been able to explain why Mother Nature would keep playing along; despite what it might have felt like in the Northeast these past few months, globally it was one of the warmest winters on record.Indeed--folks, contrary to the opinions of talk show hosts on Fox News (and some of the more belligerent commenters who will inevitably reiterate those pundits views below), the science supporting human-caused climate change is as strong as it ever has been. We still need to act to prevent a climatic catastrophe down the line--as much as we'd all prefer it if we didn't have to do anything.
The message from scientists at this point couldn't be clearer: the world's emissions trajectory is extremely dangerous. Goofball weathermen, Climategate, conspiracy theories--these are all a distraction from what's really happening. Which, apparently, is what we're looking for.