Will returns to an empty well

WILL RETURNS TO AN EMPTY WELL…. It’s tempting to think Washington Post columnist George Will would just steer clear of writing about the environment. It’s not a subject he understands well, and just about every time Will presents his conservative take on issues like global warming, he ends up publishing claims that fail under scrutiny.

Will, however, is a glutton for punishment. His new column explores the fact global leaders seem anxious to address climate change, but haven’t come to any meaningful policy agreements. That’s largely true, though Will’s mistake is to consider this a positive development.

Eventually, Will presents his point:

When New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon “young Americans” to “get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon,” another columnist, Mark Steyn, responded: “If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade.”

Which could explain why the Mall does not reverberate with youthful clamors about carbon.

The links are in the original. Will’s had some trouble substantiating some of his environmental claims this year, so the columnist links to Steyn’s National Review item, presumably to bolster the observation. (“See? Steyn really did make the case that there “has been no global warming this century.”)

The problem, of course, is that Steyn — a conservative media figure, not a climate scientist — is mistaken. Indeed, the Steyn column Will approves of has already been debunked.

I imagine Will has been around long enough that the Post‘s editors probably give him free reign rein to publish whatever he pleases. But given that Will keeps making silly claims about global warming, maybe red flags should go up in the editors’ offices when Will submits another column about environmental policy?

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation