A convert to global warming?

Margaret Wente, a columnist with the Toronto Globe and Mail, is retaining her denialist credentials – well sort of. This time the principal point in her column is based on the comments of Judith Curry, the head of the Climate Science Department of Georgia Tech. Professor Curry claims that climate models do a poor job of making predictions over a significant time scale.

Nobody disputes the difficulty of modelling what the climate will be at some point in the future.  That is why projections as to temperature rise for example have a relatively wide range, as models cannot predict an exact level for any time during this century. So we can more or less agree with Wente when she says that “our uncertainty about the future is rather great.”

She refers to the recent invasion of Arctic air sweeping across Canada.  She then asks: “Hey! Whatever happened to Global warming?” Dear Margaret, no climatologist has said that the Canadian winter was going to disappear with the global warming experienced to date.  Cold weather continues despite global warming of .8 degrees Centigrade.

She also referred to the wintry conditions in Britain and Northern Europe – but these conditions are consistent with the chaotic weather patterns to which global warming contributes.  

She ignored an article appearing in the Globe and Mail on the same day as her column that quoted a remark of the Director of Environment Canada’s Climate Change Project that “climate change is a done deal!” (See “Global Warming? Climate Change? What’s the difference?”)

At the same time she states: “I’m not questioning the basic science of global warming”. This one sentence puts her status as a denialist in jeopardy, but we won’t declare that she has converted just yet.  Still it would not be surprising if she slowly abandoned her denialist position.


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