Those of us who live in the northeast of the US have all been remarking on how warm it has been, with temperatures often running at twenty degrees Fahrenheit over normal. Today is expected to be in the mid 60s, about 30 degrees above normal. It is truly strange to see people wearing shorts and walking their dogs past green lawns on Christmas Eve in Cleveland. In response to yesterday’s post, commenters who live in Australia also weighed in with how much of a heat wave they are going through right now.
This year’s strong El Nino is said to be the cause of this spell of unusually warm weather. Science-literate people know the difference between weather, a purely local and short-term phenomenon, and climate, which is determined by large scale and long-term effects, and know better than to point to local events as proof of global warming. For example, last week I was watching Sri Lanka play New Zealand in a test match in Dunedin and noticed as the camera panned over the spectators that people were wearing heavy jackets and huddled under blankets. On checking I found that the temperature in Dunedin that day was just 47oF while in Cleveland it was about 60oF. So on that day, Cleveland in winter was warmer than New Zealand in summer. But that kind of weirdness is due to local fluctuations and not evidence for or against global warming.
But climate-change denialists have no such qualms and have used the occasional blizzards of past winters to ‘refute’ global warming, the most ridiculous example being James Inhofe bringing a snowball to the floor of the US senate to ridicule the idea that the planet was warming. Winter cold and snow also brings with them letters to the editor of the newspapers laughing at the idea of warming.
So since these people cannot tell the difference between climate and weather and think that one data point proves things, will this warm weather cause them to change their beliefs? A hopeful sign is a recent poll.
More than half, or 58 percent, of Republicans surveyed said they approved of U.S. efforts to work with other nations to limit global warming, the poll showed. Forty percent said they would support a presidential candidate who did so.
Sixty-eight percent, meanwhile, said they either somewhat or strongly agree that they are willing to take individual steps to help the environment, such as cutting down on air-conditioning or buying a more efficient car.
Republicans surveyed were split on whether they would support a candidate who believes climate change is primarily man-made, with 30 percent saying they would vote for such a candidate and 27 percent saying they would not.
Republicans were less enthusiastic about fighting climate change than Democrats, but more willing to address it than the party’s presidential candidates. Ninety-one percent of Democrats approve of the United States taking action.
But hard-core denialists won’t budge. With them what we are seeing is an ideological commitment, not unlike a religious belief, because they suffer from CCDD or Climate Change Denial Disorder.
Funny or die has obtained video of the industrialist Koch brothers who have sponsored the creation of a climate change deniers anthem to boost the spirits of the people they have been propagandizing.