Sunday, August 14, 2011

Topper Shutt's Clumsy Climate Denier Dog-Whistle

If WUSA Chief Meteorologist Topper Shutt doesn't accept the established science that our planet is warming, man-made carbon pollution is to blame, and we need to switch to cleaner energy sources as quickly as possible, that's his personal choice. As the Columbia Journalism Review has reported, some meteorologists deny global warming for political reasons or because they misunderstand the science, so Shutt certainly wouldn't be alone. But I wish he'd just come out and say so instead of sneaking coded panders to the denial crowd into his articles.

Shutt recently wrote a couple of blog posts (republished in the Washington Examiner) about climate & energy issues. Over at Blue Virginia, Lowell has already examined the posts in detail, so I won't go too in-depth. But I did want to draw attention to this one line:
Some would have us believe that 'global warming', or now as it is called 'climate change' is our biggest threat to humanity.
Shutt's posts never come out and say what he really thinks about climate science, but this line is clearly his attempt at a dog-whistle to the science denial crowd. Climate science deniers like to say, "Scientists used to warn about 'global warming,' but then it didn't get warm, so they started saying 'climate change'!" Given that the article ran in the conservative Washington Examiner, owned by a conservative billionaire who made his fortune in part in oil, it's especially shameful.

First, who cares what you call it? The climate crisis, climate change, global warming, global boiling, global weirding, call it whatever you want. Arguments about terminology are just one of many ways climate science deniers try to deflect the conversation from the actual temperature record. Predictions of human-induced climate change have stayed remarkably consistent since they began in earnest in 1859, continued through (to pick just two examples) this video from 1958 and this report from 1975, right through today.

Second, that temperature record thing:

What's most ridiculous about the whole thing is that Shutt failed to mention global warming (or climate change!) when he was blogging about the DC region's record-shattering July heat just a few days before. As Media Matters has reported, it sure seems like climate skeptics only want to talk about global warming when it's snowing.

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