Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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Sun editorial:

Warming to the truth

Winter’s cold snap does not signal need to retract reductions in greenhouse gases

January snowfall in Baghdad and the return of Arctic sea ice this past winter are the kinds of events those skeptical of global warming’s existence use to fuel their arguments.

A post by Republicans on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Web site, written by March Morano, communications director for the committee’s ranking minority member, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., proclaims “Earth’s ‘Fever’ Breaks: Global COOLING Currently Under Way.”

The post goes on to note that, since Earth has no “normal” temperature, the use of the term “fever” was “for amusement purposes only.”

It’s hardly amusing. Far-right conservatives such as Morano a former producer for Rush Limbaugh’s TV show and former reporter for Cybercast News Service, which is owned by a conservative media group would have Americans believe that global warming is, at best, a brief trend and, at worst, a groundless conspiracy cooked up by environmental crazies and the mainstream news media.

It’s a stance Inhofe has been promoting for a while, as evidenced by his 2006 release of a report titled “A Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism.”

But as experts told The New York Times in a story Monday, global warming trends don’t mean that all weather patterns come to a screeching halt. Winter weather still is going to happen in, well, winter. And when the Pacific Ocean is in its cold La Nina phase following a warm El Nino period, as it is now, certain regions are going to experience a cold kick in the pants.

And although Arctic ice has formed over previously melted areas, scientists told the Times that this new ice is far thinner than the years-old ice that was several yards thick. Ignatius Rigor, a climate scientist with Seattle’s University of Washington Polar Science Center, said those skeptical about climate change use “a few small pieces of the puzzle to debunk global warming and ignore the whole picture.”

And that whole picture shows that we need to press forward with policies and programs that call for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, and finding clean energy alternatives.

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