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Matt Drudge recycles

Matt Drudge may not believe in global warming, but at least he's recycling. Nico Pitney catches the Internet maven using the same joke he made back in 2004. Basically, it's cold and snowy outside, so therefore the climate isn't warming! Ha, ha, right?

Of course, as Nico points out, weather and climate are different beasts. The overall trend is clear: The planet is warming, and nobody serious argues with that. What the weather is like on any given day is neither here nor there, and in fact extreme weather events could be part of the show.

I wouldn't say that it's indisputable that climate change is caused by humans, however, but we're getting close to that point. Here's the gist of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded in its fourth assessment report (pdf), according to the scientists at RealClimate.org:

[T]he report concludes that human influences on climate are 'very likely' (> 90% chance) already detectable in observational record; increased from 'likely' (> 66% chance) in the [Third Assessment Report of 2001]."

So where's the real debate among climate scientists?

The uncertainties in the science mainly involve the precise nature of the changes to be expected, particularly with respect to sea level rise, El Niño changes and regional hydrological change - drought frequency and snow pack melt, mid-latitude storms, and of course, hurricanes.

That doesn't sound so funny to me. 

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Morning Brief, Thursday, February 15

JIM WATSON/AFP

Middle East

An angry President Bush, in response to skeptics: "I can say with certainty that the Quds Force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated I.E.D.'s that have harmed our troops."

Iraq shut down its borders with Iran and Syria today in an effort to stop weapons smugglers.

The United States plans to increase the number of Iraqi refugees it allows into the country from 202 last year to 7,000.

Saudi Arabia quietly changed its succession rules. Now, a subset of the royal family will pick a crown prince from the king's short list. 

2008

Rudy Giuliani's in, joining Massachusetts' ex-governor Mitt Romney, Arizona Senator John McCain, California Congressman Duncan Hunter, and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback in vying to be the Republican party's candidate for U.S. president.

Europe 

The Madrid bombings trial began today  for 29 Arab and Spanish men accused of complicity in Europe's deadliest al Qaeda attack.

Daimler may jettison Chrysler. 

It's the hoosegow for a German man who routinely denies the Holocaust. He also authored a book called The Hitler We Loved and Why.

Asia

It's official: top North and South Korean ministers will resume talks

Japan is privatizing its postal service, and the United States wants its companies to be in on the action. 

Ah, the irony: China bans the importation of poultry from the United Kingdom. 

Elsewhere

A brigade of U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan instead of Iraq, rather than the other way 'round.

Facing the abject failure of his price control regime, Hugo Chávez threatens to nationalize grocery stores.

Turkmenistan's new president is safely ensconced in power, despite scattered protest from the diaspora. 

The real Cleopatra was no Elizabeth Taylor.