Much of the nation is still thawing out from the recent polar vortex, but the Obama White House is already trying to spin the event as a result of climate change. On January 10, the White House hosted a “We the Geeks” video chat through Google Plus, discussing, as they describe it, “extreme weather events in the context of a changing climate.” Despite the White House’s best efforts, however, the experts couldn’t even agree that the recent extreme weather was the result of climate change.
The chat included a number of weather experts, as well as advocates from climate change organizations and White House staff. While the discussion was supposed to explain the science behind the polar vortex, the conversation eventually came around to the discussion of climate change, playing right into the President’s environmental policy.
While a number of noted scientists participated in the chat, the White House also included a number of climate change advocates on the panel, including Bernadette Woods Placky of Climate Central, an independent organization promoting the climate change agenda within the meteorological community.
It should be no surprise that The Weather Channel was part of the discussion. The cable network has been on the forefront of the radical climate change movement, and meteorologist Stephanie Abrams participated in the chat. In the last year, the Weather Channel has taken the step of giving major storm fronts names, a practice usually reserved for tropical storms and hurricanes. The naming of naturally-occurring storms as if they are unusual or unprecedented events only feeds the hype and hysteria associated with climate change activism, and the Weather Channel received significant criticism for the sensationalistic practice.
While it is obvious pollution and other man-made processes can harm the environment in the short term (especially with air quality), the jury is still out on whether these factors have long-term damaging effects. Indeed, the earth has proven to be quite resilient in dealing with the negative effects of fossil fuels and pollution. The rebound in the polar ice cap (shown with the recent global-warming expedition ship that got stuck in polar ice) proves that the environment is not in the dire straits many thought it would be a decade ago. Even the “We the Geeks” panel could not agree that climate change was even having a negative effect on the planet.
In their attempt to connect the polar vortex to the concept of climate change, the participants often contradicted themselves. Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, President of the American Meteorological Society, at first shot down the idea that the polar vortex is a new phenomenon (Al Roker suggested it was a result of climate change), but later said scientists must fight the perception that cold snaps disprove climate change.
Jason Samenow of the Washington Post, who also participated in the chat, revealed that statistics show such major cold snaps have decreased in recent years. While there were a number of polar vortex-like cold snaps between 1950 and 1989, they have been uncommon in recent years, a direct contradiction to the global warming mantra. Even Abrams admitted that current drought conditions in certain parts of the country should not be “jumped on” as proof of climate change, even while insisting it is still a problem.
At several points in the chat, participants stated that there is still vigorous debate in the scientific community over the causes and long term effects of climate change, something you rarely hear from the mainstream media. Even though the panel could not conclusively state that our current weather pattern is evidence of a change in the world’s climate overall, the White House still made efforts to push an agenda. Dan Utech, director for Energy and Climate Change for the White House’s policy council, did conclude at the end of the discussion that Americans should refer to the President’s climate change plan to find out more.
Even with the lack of evidence, some of the scientists still pushed a climate change agenda. Dr. Shepherd suggested kids in elementary school tell their parents about their concerns about climate change. Abrams suggested people should give up plastic bags for cloth ones to help the environment, but did not connect how plastic bags caused the polar vortex. She also complained about the “nastiness” on Twitter over the climate change debate, in a not-so-subtle swipe at those casting doubts on the long-term effects of climate change.