By Casey Curlin
In Washington, even a snowstorm is a political event. The record snowstorms that have blanketed the capital and shut down cities across the Mid-Atlantic have already sparked a new round of sparring between supporters and skeptics in the global-warming debate.
As city residents trudge through blizzards and shovel out stranded cars, climate-change skeptics have been tossing verbal snowballs at those arguing that the planet is heating up and that human activity is to blame.
Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and a global warming skeptic, acknowledged that one weather event is not enough to prove or disprove the climate-change thesis, but noted that “global-warming alarmists” tend to take any severe-weather incident – heat waves, cold snaps, droughts and floods – as evidence supporting their position.
Mr. Ebell noted that the Washington area is enduring a colder winter than usual. The region typically gets a lot of precipitation this time of year, but it does not typically produce such heavy snowfall.
On the defensive, climate-change experts dismiss the idea that a temporary cold snap and a pair of freakish snowstorms undermine what they say are clear long-term trends. The severity of the recent weather, they say, in fact supports the global-warming argument.
Joseph Romm, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the Weather Underground, a Web-based forecasting site, said in a teleconference for reporters Thursday that the recent weather patterns do not refute the global-warming thesis.