San Francisco Fog

In 2009, environmentalists were sure global warming was the reason California’s Bay Area fog was increasing.  Now they’re saying global warming is making the fog go away—indicating that the science may not be as “settled” as some seem to think.

Gateway Pundit
noted that in 2009, The San Francisco Chronicle claimed that “The Bay Area just had its foggiest May in 50 years. And thanks to global warming, it’s about to get even foggier.”  Yet, in 2010, The Telegraph has asserted that “the sight of Golden Gate Bridge towering above the fog will become increasing [sic] rare as climate change warms San Francisco bay.”

The first article was written in May of 2009; the second, February of 2010.  When scientists start trying to explain how global warming is affecting our everyday life, their findings conflict drastically.  Both papers and claims are under a year old.  Which one do we trust?

The issue isn’t whether or not global warming is happening: the issue is how much scientists really can know about how new climates will effect us. There are far more variables involved with climate change than any scientist in today’s world could hope to understand. Given the constantly evolving stances of climate scientists, we ought to be more careful when it comes to what we believe about climate change.

As Heritage expert Dr. James Carafano explained in his 2009 testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee, the global warming theory suffers the “folly of simplicity,” pointing out that in Jared Diamond’s study Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, “Diamond lists a daunting 12 factors that historically contributed to the collapse of a society–and these are only the factors directly controlled by humans. It is worth noting,” Dr. Carafano went on, “that Diamond is able to detail how this myriad of forces and choices interacted with one another only through the hindsight gained through hundreds of years of historical and archeological research.”

In other words, the complexity of human-environment causal relationships is such that it typically takes many years—centuries, even—to fully understand what causes what when it comes to humans interacting with the environment:

History is in fact littered with case studies that suggest straight-line mapping of human-environment interaction is problematic,” Dr. Carafano testified.  “Anticipating with certainty how climate change will affect human progress is a march of folly.

His points are only validated by the assumptions regarding the Bay Area’s fog today.  We cannot anticipate anything regarding climate change with certainty—and the “new” research is proving it.

Allie Winegar Duzett currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: