“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.”
Whenever I have discussions with people about climate change—often in the context of lectures I give for Climate Reality Canada—I invariably run into a few people who deny that global warming even exists, although admittedly they are diminishing in number. Most deniers seemed to have moved past that point realizing it’s a losing argument, instead admitting now that although it’s happening, they’re still happy to deny that our activities aren’t a significant factor in contributing to it.
But for those few still clinging to that belief that our planet isn’t warming, it’s been getting extremely difficult to hold onto their stand these last couple of years. They usually hold onto the fallacy that there’s been “no global warming since 1998.” That’s a common claim thanks to a particularly hot El Niño that year. Keep in mind that there is an overall warming trend, but El Niños can increase global temperatures beyond that trend.
Global warming deniers were barely able to hold onto their claim until the last few years when 1998’s record was blown out of the water: 2014 became the hottest calendar year ever recorded. Until 2015 beat it, that is. And 2016 is extremely likely to beat that, given that every month this year is breaking the record as the hottest of that particular month ever recorded globally.
The surface temperatures have been pretty telling but some people like Ted Cruz have tried to argue that surface temperature recordings aren’t reliable enough, but that when one looks to satellite data, there’s clearly no evidence of any global warming.
Except that satellite data do show such evidence. In fact, just earlier this year Drs. Roy Spencer and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville reported that satellite data shows a “Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978 [of] +0.12 C [0.22F] per decade.” All temperatures, the highs and the lows, are on the rise. In fact, no matter how you look at it—satellites, ground-based weather stations, sea-based buoys, or weather balloons—all data available to us now reveals a consistent long-term warming trend for our planet.
And as if to hammer the point home even further, last month achieved a new record of its own: we just experienced the hottest consecutive 12-month average (from September 2015 to August 2016) ever recorded, beating the record set during the last super El Niño.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once stated:
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Seems silly to have to point out the obvious like that, but the simple fact is that lies that global warming isn’t real are too often repeated, particularly by politicians, the right-wing media who support them, and the lobbyists who get supported by them. They all have one thing in common, and it’s not a desire for the truth. They’re against any action to do something about it, usually to preserve their profits, ideologies, or both.
The time to act is now. The sooner we can get past these lies, the better.