It’s the coolest summer in a century, or at least the government is reporting the fewest number of 100 degree days at U.S. HCN (Historical Climatology Network) stations. Yet I’m sure that somewhere someone is arguing that this is a result of man-made global warming — or, er, climate change. For years, global warming alarmists have claimed that any unusual or unpleasant weather is the result of global warming, even as, inconveniently, global temperatures seem to have plateaued or fallen over the last 15 years, contrary to global warming theory.

The science is settled, alarmists like to insist. But science is never settled; scientific theories are by definition falsifiable and sometimes are falsified. Recently Interior Secretary Sally Jewell assured an audience of DOI employees that everyone there believed in global warming. This is an exhortation more appropriate for a religious service than a regulatory agency meeting. For many global warming has become a substitute for religious, with rituals (recycling), festivals (Earth Day) and even indulgences (carbon offsets for Al Gore’s private jet travel). Sally Jewell’s exhortation was just another form of worship.

Does this mean that global warming theories have been conclusively refuted? No. There’s a difference between weather (short-term) and climate (long-term). If carbon dioxide emissions were the only factor affecting climate, then global warming alarmist theories would indubitably be correct. But other factors seem to affect climate as well — like the sun, clouds, oceans and the interactions between them and other factors. Scientists don’t fully understand how these factors interact. It makes sense for policymakers and citizens to keep an eye out for possible climate change and to think about how to mitigate any negative effects. But for the moment let’s appreciate this summer’s moderate temperatures.