Using the big freeze to deny climate change… stupidity or cynicism?

This article by Michael Mann discusses how climate denialists are using the recent freezing weather to deny climate change.

The winters of the early 1970s were very cold and snowy in the northeastern United States where I grew up – as elsewhere around the US and Europe. I remember snowfalls that came up to my chin (though, of course, I was only a few feet tall back then). We now call those “old-fashioned winters”, precisely because they have grown so rare as a consequence of – yes – global warming.

If you’re younger than I am (I became a demi-centenarian three years ago), those winters are likely to be outside the range of your experience. And so it may seem plausible to you that cold snaps, that in reality simply reflect the sort of weather that was commonplace just decades ago, might constitute “record” or “unprecedented” cold.

Such a myopic view of weather extremes can be exploited by those who look to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus behind human-caused climate change. Very much in that vein, Donald Trump recently asserted in a tweet about the cold spell in the midwest that “windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded”. He added: “What the hell is going on with Global Waming [sic]? Please come back fast, we need you!”

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