A blizzard of stupidity hits Washington

It was, in hindsight, a pretty foolish idea that the 2008 election meant that Washington was going to finally take climate change seriously -- even though not just Barack Obama but John McCain promised that voters global warming would be the priority it was not under...these guys. Since last summer, it was clear that the Senate would never have the 60 votes to pass the cap-and-trade legislation. That''s unfortunate....

...but this is mind-numbingly stupid:

Record snowfall has buried Washington — and along with it, buried the chances of passing global warming legislation this year.


And now, on top of that, the paralyzing snowfalls have made the prospect of winning support for a climate bill this year even less likely.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Tuesday used the D.C. snowstorm to make a political jab, saying that it provides evidence for global warming skeptics.

“It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries “uncle,” the conservative Senator tweeted on Twitter.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said the blizzards that have shut down Congress have made it more difficult to argue that global warming is an imminent danger.

I guess they're going to also repeal the Clean Air Act when we get a few days of crisp fall weather. This is beyond nuts. Climate is not weather. If the Republicans want to argue the science of climate change -- pitting their handful of experts against the vast majority of the world's scientific community -- that's fine. But instead this outbreak of the stupids will now be the backbone of the government's approach to a serious, grown-up issue confronting America.

Two blizzards in a week do not change the fact that 2009 was the earth's second warmest year on record:

“There’s always an interest in the annual temperature numbers and on a given year’s ranking, but usually that misses the point,” said James Hansen, the director of GISS. “There's substantial year-to-year variability of global temperature caused by the tropical El Niño-La Niña cycle. But when we average temperature over five or ten years to minimize that variability, we find that global warming is continuing unabated."

Two blizzards in a week do not change the fact that glaciers and polar ice caps are continuing to melt:

Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, said there is strong evidence from a variety of sources of significant melting of glaciers - from the area around Kilimanjaro in Africa to the Alps, the Andes, and the icefields of Antarctica because of a warming climate. Ice is also disappearing at a faster rate in recent decades, he said.

"It is not any single glacier," he said. "It is very clear that these glaciers are behaving in a similar fashion."

Two blizzards in one week could actually be...the result of global warming:

The 2009 U.S. Climate Impacts Report found that large-scale cold-weather storm systems have gradually tracked to the north in the U.S. over the past 50 years. While the frequency of storms in the middle latitudes has decreased as the climate has warmed, the intensity of those storms has increased. That's in part because of global warming - hotter air can hold more moisture, so when a storm gathers it can unleash massive amounts of snow. Colder air, by contrast, is drier; if we were in a truly vicious cold snap, like the one that occurred over much of the East Coast during parts of January, we would be unlikely to see heavy snowfall.

But you know what two blizzards doesn't change? The talk-radio-powered dumbing down of our political discourse. And the long-term forecast calls for conditions to deteriorate.