What a Difference a Page Makes for Global Warming, Hurricanes

     The global warming debate can be awash with contradicting information – even in separate sections of the same newspaper.


     In the August 20 Washington Post, reporter Juliet Eilperin showed that scientists don’t agree whether climate change is causing more powerful hurricanes. Meanwhile, in the Post’s Outlook section, author and global warming promoter Mike Tidwell predicted that a Katrina-like catastrophe is “coming here” to Washington.


     Eilperin made it clear that the science is far from settled on the topic. “Academics have published a flurry of papers either supporting or debunking the idea that warmer temperatures linked to human activity are fueling more intense storms,” she wrote.


     The Post news piece pointed out this season’s weather reality, that “the calm hurricane season in the Atlantic so far this year has only intensified the argument.”


     But the Outlook editors chose a journalist, not a scientist, to give a point of view in the commentary pages.


     Tidwell, author of “The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America’s Coastal Cities,” didn’t even discuss the possibility of another viable view. Instead, he painted a picture that made Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” look upbeat.


     “Barring a rapid change in our nation’s relationship to fossil fuels, every American within shouting distance of an ocean – including all of us in the nation’s capital – will become de facto New Orleanians,” he wrote.


     Tidwell went on and on, warning about the “tsunami-like surge tide of the next great storm.” And he left no room for doubt about the cause: “Because of global warming, this is our future,” he claimed.

     But Eilperin made it clear in the news article that scientists haven’t come to that conclusion. “Both sides are using identical data but coming up with conflicting conclusions,” she said, citing different research time periods and diverse academic backgrounds as key reasons for the differences of opinion.