News Flash: Snow Does Not Disprove Climate Change

Going green — By on March 9, 2010 at 5:52 am
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Will it ever stop snowing?

It seems to me that the world has lost its senses.

Climate change is happening. We have vast tracts of empirical evidence to call on which show an increasing trend of the planet heating up. Then we have a couple of snowstorms in the UK and the US, and everyone is ready to abandon the evidence in front of their eyes and believe that climate change is a myth.

Global Warming huh? Well if the globe is heating up so much, why did we have so much snow in Washington DC in February?

Maybe I am missing something, or maybe people are just been deliberately dense, but at what point did we allow a couple of isolated incidents to set a precedent against a convincing trend?

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world busiest airport, servicing some 88 million passengers annually and handling close to a million flights. Whilst most of those flights take-off and land as normal, on exceptionally rare occasions, one of those aircraft will crash. Now, just because one aircraft crashes, does that mean that we should abandon the principles of aviation? Should we give up on flights altogether? Of course not, because in everyday life we accept that occasionally, freaky things happen, but it’s just one of those things, and we don’t let the exceptions to the rule determine our actions.

People go on about the recent snow storms as though they were some sort of Black Swan Event. Nothing could be further from the truth. One isolated fall of snow, even a significant one such as was seen in February 2010, by no means disproves the theory that the planet in general is heating up.

It’s incredibly disheartening therefore, to see people latch onto isolated instances of cold weather and somehow devise from this that climate change is a myth.

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Maybe all this snow is proof of climate change!

Maybe it’s the fault of environmental PR for misleading the general public with a confusing term like global warming. After all, cold is the exact opposite of warm, so if it’s cold enough to snow, then it can’t be simultaneously warm and cold! I wonder if proponents of such a theory suddenly expected the world to turn into a desert, where cold weather would be eradicated completely.

Well here’s a news flash – cold weather is not inconsistent with climate change. In this more aptly chosen buzz phrase, the key word is change. Holy cow, Philadelphia received the highest snow falls this winter it has ever gotten – guess what, that’s climate change right there in action. The climate is getting more extreme in its hot summers and cold winters than ever before, of that, surely there can be no doubt.

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Global warming? Does that mean no winter?

Sadly it appears that there is doubt, despite the vast swathes of empirical evidence. A poll conducted last month by the BBC showed that skepticism surrounding climate change is growing, with one in four people believing climate change is not happening at all.

These 25 per cent are the ignorant, the naive and the stupid.  The same people who will ironically claim that extreme snow fall somehow proves that the climate is not changing, without even realising the contradiction in their statement.

Climate change IS happening, it’s a simple fact. The problem that remains is whether we attribute the changes to the environment or to human intervention. Doubts may have been raised about the severity of human impact on climate change in the recent “Climategate” scandal, but what is certain is that human consumption of fossil fuels and production of CO2 is making some form of impact – it’s the degree of that impact that is uncertain.

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Winter 2010 - Global Warming?

If we accept that humans are affecting the environment and in turn climate change, even to a very small degree, then we should also accept a duty to do something about said climate change. Pessimists might well believe that our efforts will be insignificant and that we cannot halt the tide of change, but one has only to look at the progress that can and has been made by those willing to believe and make a stand to see that small changes can make a difference.

Humans may not be the largest contributing factor to climate change, but we ARE a contributing factor, and no amount of snow can prove that climate change isn’t happening.

With that in mind, we should do our utmost to make the small changes, in order to affect big differences globally on our impact on climate change.

What do you have to say about Winter 2010 after digging out this year?

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