When the weather turns cold in Hanover, we at The Dartmouth Review think its cool to make fun of global warming. The way we see it, sustained temperatures below zero don’t exactly heat-up the campus climate debate. In fact, they might even cool it off; after all, who can empathize with a polar bear when not even a flask of single malt can keep you warm as you traverse the Green?
Invariably, our comments do wind up making some campus lefties hot under the collar. During a January cold snap, when we sardonically mention that it certainly doesn’t feel like the Earth is getting warmer, someone inevitably pops his head out of a portal on some puke-colored Greyhound and bellows, “You blasphemous infidels! Climate change is not the same thing as weather! Read a book, you racist science-hating fools!” Relax, hippie! We understand that. We were just making a joke. Cool down and put your shoes back on – it’s cold out.
In all seriousness though, when we highlight the chilling effect of particularly cold weather, we do so to satirize the selective fact picking that global warming advocates so frequently rely upon to support their arguments. Apparently, when it’s cold in January, climate isn’t weather, but when it’s hot in July, the emissions from my SUV are melting the polar ice caps and drowning the reliably Democratic votary of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward in a high-tide of fascist indifference. Naturally, as average highs soared across the nation in the month of July, lefties everywhere got their biodegradable underwear in a wad and started crying afoul. “Look what’ve you done!” they wailed. “You retrograde hicks and your pick-up truck fetish have ruined the corn crop and doomed us all! Why can’t you be sensible and drive a Prius like the rest of us?” Because they accelerate like a stroller and are a full fifty percent uglier than a troll, that’s why. Besides, my “don’t tread on me” bumper sticker would look absolutely ridiculous on that thing.
But back to the point at hand: environmentalists and their wayward allies delight in bashing the political right when the weather is cold, but as soon as someone turns up the heat, circumstantial evidence presents conclusive “scientific proof” that we’re murdering Mother Earth with our front bumpers. This duplicity of logic and extortion of circumstances is more than a little disconcerting; after all, isn’t the cornerstone of the scientific method reproducibility and consistency? If those elements are removed, what is left but a sundry collection of conjectural observations? In their haste to make a politically-charged point, have environmentalists not just flamed the basis for the pursuit of reason?
Amidst all of this, I find it particularly humorous that it is the left that routinely accuses us skeptics of heresy. In their minds, we are the “flat-earthers” who burn textbooks to illuminate our late night Bible studies, while they are the intelligent few who believe in the rational mind and its scientific produce. Never mind that it is they who delight in trodding upon the rules of reasonable inquiry while browbeating natural occurrences to make an ill-conceived political point. This distortion of science is disturbing to be sure, and one does not have to look much beyond the pages of The Dartmouth to see it rear its ugly head.
As I sat in my delightfully air-conditioned cubicle in downtown Taipei yesterday, I made a rare voyage to the Daily D’s website. There, in an article by Diana Ming, I made a most remarkable discovery. About seven paragraphs into her piece on the latest Leading Voices lecture, she pens about Special Envoy for Climate Change at the State Department Todd Stern ’73’s (talk about a mouthful) remarks:
Stern cited several examples of recent “catastrophic” environmental disasters, such as major flooding in Pakistan in 2010 that resulted in $9.5 billion in damages. The current severe drought in the United States has affected over 40 percent of the continental U.S.
“Scientists can’t [attribute] any particular event to global warming because nature doesn’t leave that kind of signal,” Stern said. “But they also say these are exactly the kinds of events we can predict for a warmer world.”
There has been a global temperature increase of 1.3 degrees since 1900, according to Stern.
Hmm… So let me get this straight. After highlighting a couple of circumstantial, weather-related phenomenon from the hottest month of the year, Mr. Stern says that he can't attribute these disasters to global warming because nature hasn't provided any evidence, but in the next breath, he claims that if the Earth gets warmer, these kinds of events will necessarily increase in frequency. Apparently, there is some implicit, yet definitive relationship between the two phenomena that simply must exist despite nature’s failure to cooperate. In other words, “the threat is real because we say it is!” Then, for good measure, just to make sure no one can possibly doubt his credibility, he adds a throwaway reminder that scientists (a majority of them, anyway) have found a global temperature increase of 1.3 degrees in the last 112 years. This final statement serves as thinly failed coercive measure, one that seems to shout, “Don’t you dare doubt what I said about this correlation! Global warming is real despite the fact that there is no scientific basis for the relationship between carbon emission and extreme weather that I just drew, you Bible-thumping, gun-toting heathen!”
And there you have it in a nutshell: the hypocritical duplicity of the left has hit home. Not only is this Dartmouth alumnus, a product of the reason-infused liberal arts curriculum that the Kim-Folt Administration loves to tout, guilty of the same circumstantial babble that we saw from left-leaning pundits earlier this summer, but he is also responsible for one of the most absurd failures of logic I have ever encountered. If this is the sort of fact-finding and reason that constitutes “’the drumbeat of evidence’ that the earth is experiencing global warming,” I might just continue marching to the beat of a different drummer. Perhaps you might join me.
-- Nicholas P. Desatnick