His latest column chides the
climate Cassandras, and makes a really bizarre argument. Did you know that there have been severe disruptions of human activity by non-anthropogenic climate change in the past?
And if climate Cassandras are as conscientious as they claim to be about weighing evidence, how do they accommodate historical evidence of enormously consequential episodes of climate change not produced by human activity?
We accommodate the facts of catastrophic events with no problem at all. Volcanoes have erupted and meteors have smashed into the Earth, all without any triggering or control by human beings — does Will think that the fact that we can acknowledge that humans pump significant quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere imply that we also think every environmental disaster was caused by humans?
So he discusses two books that describe the after-effects of weather perturbations on civilization in the 14th and 17th century. We’ve always been at the mercy of the weather: droughts, storms, severe winters, all cause harm to agriculture and human well-being. He even almost grasps their message.
By documenting the appalling consequences of two climate changes, Rosen and Parker validate wariness about behaviors that might cause changes.
Exactly. We should be worried about climate change because we know from history that we’re sensitive to the disruption it would cause. The authors of these books even know what the take-home message should be.
The last twelve of Parker’s 712 pages of text deliver a scalding exhortation to be alarmed about what he considers preventable global warming.
But what does loony George Will take away from it?
Neither book, however, supports those who believe human behavior is the sovereign or even primary disrupter of climate normality, whatever that might be. With the hands that today’s climate Cassandras are not using to pat themselves on the back for their virtuous empiricism, they should pick up such books.
Uh, what? The concern is that one of the products of the Industrial Revolution is increasing greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, which are accumulating to the point of having serious consequences now. It is not that all climate change was caused by humans. Will’s argument does not make sense. Those books make no statement about the causes of the 14th and 17th century climate changes, but do point out that such changes have cascading and complex effects on society.
But Will reads them and says to himself, “A-ha! Climate disasters that were not caused by humans! Therefore no climate disasters are caused by humans!”
He’s an idiot. And he’s what passes for an intellectual among conservatives? How embarrassing for them.