George Will Snaps at the Facts

Following up on the picture of George Will refusing to listen to the facts, here’s a record of the off-camera exchange on "This Week" that ensued, via Framing Science:

In a roundtable exchange about climate change on ABC NEWS’ THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos, resident conservative George Will stuck to the standard conservative framing by playing up scientific uncertainty and emphasizing the possible economic costs. But what I didn’t catch watching the show live, appears in the official transcript from Lexis. See below.

To end the exchange, when The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel countered by emphasizing scientific consensus, the need for immediate action, and the continued politicization of the issue by the Bush administration, according to the transcript, George Will responded by telling her to"Shut up."

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s move on. My guess is that nothing at all happens this year at least not before the election. Let’s go on to global warming. The cover of "Time" magazine this morning says "Be Very Worried." They have a special edition on global warming and, George will, I got to present this to you. Because, I mean, we’ve been debating this for ten years now. You’ve been doing it for 20 on "This Week." But "time" magazine says…


(Off-camera) 30.


(Off-camera) 30. Excuse me. You’re exactly right. Says the debate is over. The serious debate has quietly ended. Global warming, even most skeptics have concluded is the real deal and human activity has been causing it. You’re pulling out your charts.



(Off-camera) "New York Times" 1975, sooner or later a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable. Northern hemisphere glaciations. Tell your Governor in Montana to just wait a while. Northern hemisphere glaciations. This according to ‘Science" magazine.


(Off-camera) In the last year we had so much new evidence from the North Pole, from the South Pole, from Greenland from all around that something real is happening.


(Off-camera) I’m willing to stipulate all the sources that were wrong 30 years ago are now right. Let’s assume that there is global warming. It is an absolute certainty that the climate at any point in human history is either warming or cooling. It goes through cycles. Let’s assume it’s warming and let’s assume that it is human activity that’s causing it. Now what? We can burn Montana coal as the Montana Governor suggested. But the fact is, any solution requires trillions of dollars of sacrifice from world economic growth. That’s trillions of dollars that won’t be spent on education, culture, AIDS prevention. Are we sure we want to do this?

FAREED ZAKARIA (EDITOR) I’m not sure that’s true, George. I agree with you there is some fluctuation but there is a virtual consensus, as George says, that it is happening more rapidly, ten of the hottest years in the – in recorded history have been in…


(Off-camera) No, he said in the last 200 years. What was happening 200 years ago?


You haven’t had temperatures recorded for more than 200 years, sorry, George, but the point is…


(Off-camera) You do get it out of the glacier ice and you can tell. I mean, it’s pre-rings, all the rest. You can find a lot of climatologically history from…


I’m not debate physics with you, George, because neither you nor I are scientists. What I will suggest is, if you were to take the attitude that, look, better to err on the side of caution because it does appear that very rapid temperature movements in either direction would be extremely harmful.


(Off-camera) Better trillion dollar errors?


You don’t need a trillion – something very simple like a carbon tax, something many staunchly free market economists agree with. Because what a carbon tax basically says is when you burn fossil fuels you are producing costs, environmentally, I would add politically, the war in Iraq, that are not being captured by a simple economic market.


There is broad scientific consensus. We are now no longer a debate about whether we have global warming. It is whether we are facing a tipping point and rushing into a catastrophe. How do we halt it? The British commissioner for pollution called those who deny global climate change climate loonies. Those that deny it at this point are like those who didn’t believe cigarette smoke caused cancer. What we do now is a measure of our civilization. It is also a measure of security, George, and I think 87% I believe of Americans in that "Time" magazine poll supported tax credits for alternative energy. That is one way to go, but this Administration rewrites science with political spin. It silences scientists like James Hanson and it scrubs websites of information.


(Off-camera) Shut up.


(Off-camera) This debate – we’ll come back to it many times. Thank you all very much.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “George Will Snaps at the Facts

  1. The wheels are coming off their cart.

    They have to make fake photos of Baghdad, they can’t mention Republicans and Abramoff in articles about sentencing, they can’t listen to facts about AGW…




  2. Boy, there sure are a lot of special rings in hell for these folks, with George Will being given an extra special one of his own.

    Or alternatively, if you believe in reincarnation, the future also ain’t so bright for Mr. Will.


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