Record Snowfall Revives Warming Debate

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The South is bracing for a rare snow storm on Friday. Those winter storm warnings come as the Northeast digs out from its record snowfall.

And all this snow has people once again debating a hot topic -- global warming.

The massive winter storms have left about a third of Americans shivering and digging out of deep snow.

In many places, like the nation's capital, there are record amounts of snow.  And more could be on the way.

"It's just another nail in the coffin to the whole global warming theory, " said radio commentator Rush Limbaugh.

Warming critic Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and his family built an igloo and placed a sign on it which read, "Al Gore's New Home."

However, scientists say the issue should not be simply political.

"Science is not partisan and should not be partisan," said the NOAA's Jane Jubchenco.

The media quickly rushed out stories defending global warming, despite the huge snowfalls.

Some scientists insist the last decade is the warmest since records have been kept and that all that warm air stirs up the atmosphere and makes for much more violent storms, including snowstorms.

Critics say the claim of the past decade being the warmest just isn't true -- and that warming actually stopped 13 years ago.

Even though supporters of global warming now say record snow is a sign that the theory is true, they were also quick to blame global warming when there wasn't much snow, and to push the global warming panic button.

West Virginia Democrat James Byrd made such an observation on the floor of the U.S. Senate back in the dry winter of 2002.

"Look at the kind of winter we've had in Washington -- one snow! Three inches! We need a climate change strategy and we need a climate change strategy badly. Something's going on out there," he concluded.

In 2005, Washington State Democrat Jay Inslee said on the House floor that there was so little snow in his state. His ski patrolman son only worked three days that winter.

"There was no snow, and having no snow is consistent with what the models predict will become a significant problem for us in the future," Inslee said.

In 2007, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., warned her fellow senators.

"Now we're seeing the early warning signs," she said. "People can come down to this floor and say whatever they want. We've seen melting of snow. We have seen melting of permafrost."

Now Democratic leaders admit they pretty much have to give up on passing a Cap and Trade bill this year to tax and slow greenhouse gas emissions.

First they had to deal with the scandal showing some scientists had altered data over the last couple of decades to cover up evidence of the earth's cooling, not warming. Then the embarrassment of a false scientific claim that all the Himalayas' glaciers would be gone by 2035.

"The science is cooked and I think most people agree with that now," Inhofe said.

Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., calls trying to get cap and trade passed in this snowy, cold climate "a headache."

One snowy winter or a winter without snow does not make or break a theory. But it's worth noting that 30 years ago, during the exceptionally cold winters in 1977 through 1979, the media blamed it on the pet theory of the day known as global cooling.

*Originally aired February 12, 2010. 

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.