This particular Jacoby piece displays all the illogic and mendacious reasoning one could expect. Cold weather in some spots during this past winter is supposed to indicate global cooling. Jacoby is not interested in heat waves, but in case weather is not at all the same thing as climate. Whether I go out the door tomorrow and it feels like spring or winter has no bearing on climate change that takes place over decades. On the other hand, finding that my region has moved into a new growing zone in my lifetime does indicate climate change rather than weather.
There is also a complete misreading by Jacoby of a recent article by two scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. The articile in question suggests the possibility that the climate may have entered a period of greater stability. There’ only one problem with Jacoby’s excitement at this news. The authors, like all other reputable climate scientists, see a clear long-term trend toward global warming, and their analysis suggests that “warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-jacquot/hot-or-not-making-sense-o_b_172269.html)
Apparently Jacoby did not get to this point.
Jacoby concludes with what is meant to be a rousing call to arms to warn against the religious zealotry of those who would combat global warming now. Not surprisingly he attacks Al Gore: “But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot. Dogma and zealotry have their virtues, no doubt. But if we want to understand where global warming has gone, those aren’t the tools we need.” (http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/03/08/wheres_global_warming/?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed1)
In one column Jacoby has displayed ignorance, intellectual dishonesty, and a stunning lack of irony: the insults he hurls against the Noble Prize winner would apply far more accurately to Mr. Jacoby himself. I do not at all believe that religion by itself should deprive us of the capacity to understand the real and present danger of global warming. Indeed, religious faith could strengthen a conviction that the time has come to take real action, but it seems that Mr. Jacoby takes denial of global warming as an article of faith that functions as a bizarre as well as highly destructive form of identity politics.