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Educating George Will

George F. Will today again displays his unbelievable ignorance about global warming :

Reducing carbon emissions supposedly will reverse warming, which is allegedly occurring even though, according to statistics published by the World Meteorological Organization, there has not been a warmer year on record than 1998.

First of all, nobody says that reducing carbon emissions will "reverse" global warming. The point is merely to slow the process. This is pretty fundamental.

Second, Will (again) cites the unusually hot year of 1998 to prove that the planet isn't warming. He fails to understand a very basic concept in data that you don't need any particular social science expertise to grasp, which is that trends don't always move in a perfectly straight line. The planet has been getting warmer, and there was an extreme spike in 1998. Both these things can be true.

I'm all for newspapers giving their columnists latitude, but at some point I wonder if some very basic, low level of factual knowledge ought to be required to propound upon a topic in their pages.

--Jonathan Chait