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Fact Check: Is LA Rep. Lenar Whitley Right or Wrong about Global Warming?

Raw Story notes Louisiana State Representative Lenar Whitley has posted a video titled “Global Warming is a Hoax” in her campaign for a seat in the U.S. Congress:

Among Rep. Whitley’s many claims of a secret “conspiracy” to fool humanity into thinking that global warming exists, she declares that all it takes to disprove global warming is a thermometer. Speaking of the movie An Inconvenient Truth, Whitley says:

“Any ten-year-old can invalidate their thesis with one of the simplest scientific devices known to man: a thermometer. The Earth has done nothing but get colder each year since the film’s release. God certainly has a wonderful sense of irony.”

It’s convenient that Rep. Whitley would mention a thermometer, because NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies maintains a record of temperature readings from around the globe over land and sea that stretches back to 1880 and that is updated with the latest temperature readings every month. These temperature readings are taken with… you guessed it… thermometers.

What do the thermometers say? Let’s do as Rep. Whitley and look forward at the years since the 2006 release of the film (and book) An Inconvenient Truth, with NASA’s temperature records as scientific grounding. There’ve been 7 full years since 2006: 2007-2013. In those 7 years, global temperature readings averaged .58 degrees celsius higher than the 1951-1980 average. In the 7 year period before that (2000-2006), the global temperature readings averaged .55 degrees celsius higher than the 1951-1980 average.

In other words, the Earth appears to have actually gotten slightly warmer since the release of Al Gore’s film. Let’s put that in longer term context, with seven-year periods Rep. Whitley implicitly embraces going back to 1965:

7 year period global temp anomaly compared to 1951-1980 average
’65-71 -2.1
’72-78 2.4
’79-85 16.7
’86-92 27.9
’93-99 38.3
’00-06 55.4
’07-13 58

I encourage you to keep going back in time in the data; the farther back you go, the colder those seven-year periods get.

Another way of putting this in context is to think about the top ten hottest years in the record. 5 of those 10 hottest years are… you guessed it!… in the 7 years since 2006. Don’t feel too bad for 2008 and 2011 — they’re among the hottest 15.

In short, all it takes is a thermometer to figure out that Lenar Whitley is simply wrong. Lenar Whitley didn’t bother to check the thermometers before she shot her “global warming is a hoax” campaign video. How do you think she might go about governing if she makes it to Congress?

P.S. On a different note, Rep. Lenar Whitley’s statement that “God certainly has a wonderful sense of irony” should trouble Christian Biblical literalists everywhere. The definition of the word “irony” is not what most people think it to be (a funny coincidence), but is rather an occasion in which a person says one thing but really means the opposite. If God is ironic, then the Bible is ________. You fill in the blank.

P.P.S. Is it possible that being dead wrong is a winning campaign strategy for Lenar Whitley? Unfortunately, yes. As of right now, her campaign video has generated 340 thumbs up and only 140 thumbs down.

10 thoughts on “Fact Check: Is LA Rep. Lenar Whitley Right or Wrong about Global Warming?”

  1. Dan Pangburn says:

    Search AGW unveiled to see what nature has been saying about climate.

  2. Tom says:

    Your Next Stop, The Twilight Zone


    The crucial moment at which humans might have seriously engaged with their self-created environmental problems has already come and gone. From now on in the 21st century, discussions and debates about those problems will take place within the idiosyncratic but self-consistent framework of beliefs I’ve described in this essay.

    Dave Cohen
    Decline of The Empire
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A
    September 2, 2013

  3. bob ashworth says:

    She is absolutely correct. There has been no earth warming since 2002 (NOAA Data). Further CO2 has increased some 24 ppmv during that time. Man-made contribution is some 12 ppmv (IPCC Report 2001, since deleted like Lois Lerner emails. No need to say more!

    1. Bill says:

      Wait, what? You say that since 2002 CO2 has increased by 24 ppm of which 50% is anthropogenic, and you cite a 2001 report to support this. I’ve heard of being a science denier, but you appear to be a ouija board supporter.

  4. J Clifford says:

    Bob Ashworth, can you identify the scientific sources that prove your assertions, or did you just stick your thumb outside the window to get them?

  5. bob ashworth says:
    1. Jim Cook says:

      Bullshit, Bob Ashworth. Your source is kooky (“greenhouse gases do not exist”), is not peer-reviewed, and besides all that doesn’t disprove the existence of global warming. NASA’s temperature record, linked to from this article, shows that the Earth has indeed continued to warm since the beginning of the millenium. NOAA’s temperature record shows the same. And indeed, the Earth has been warming for more than 130 years:

      NOAA temperature record from 1880

      That’s global warming. As for CO2…

      As for CO2...

  6. bob ashworth says:

    Jim: You don’t look at graphs very well. Top graph shows no further warming after 2002, so does bottom graph. CFCs caused the earth to warm from 1965 to 2002 but the Montreal Protocol went in effect in 2000 that banned CFC production. Since then no warming. Since 2002 until now there has been an increase in atmospheric CO2 of 24 ppmv of which man-made CO2 is only some 3% or 12 ppmv. Eliminate globally all man-made CO2 tomorrow and we go back to the level we had in 2008, no warmer then than now!

    Bill: No I said 12 ppmv is the total global man-made CO2 in the world!

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Who’s not looking at graphs very well? You’re picking arbitrary years, Bob, just like Rep. Whitley did. 2002 was at the time an unusually high temperature year. No global warming claims by scientists have insisted that global temperature increase every single year; on the contrary, they predict that global temperature will go up over time as a general trend, and this is clearly the case.

      Your new statement that since 2000 there has been no warming is directly contradicted by NASA and NOAA data.

  7. bob ashworth says:

    I mean that CO2 is only 3% of the total of 400 ppmv (or 12ppmv) that is in our atmosphere.

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