Monday, January 19, 2009

The Melt

Global warming denial - the argument goes, basically, it's not happening and, anyway, it's not our fault and, besides, we can fix it - works on the principles that scientists have been wrong before and it's all about mathematical models that don't work. Both are true. Scientists are as prone to deluded groupthink as anybody else and 'wrong' was too weak a word for the mathematical models used by banks to calculate risk. Empirical evidence, however, is another matter and it is observation of melting ice that has made Jim Lovelock even more pessimistic than he was before. In fact, deniers also say that the ice isn't melting and stories like this are dismissed. But this Economist vid  says it all. Neither scientists, Guardian journalists nor tree-huggers are involved. Companies and countries are negotiating for the massive area of sea round the Arctic now made available by retreating ice. But I suppose they've just got it wrong and it's all some kind of weird trick of the light, snow blindness perhaps.


  1. The thing that has me a tad worried is the North Atlantic circle or the moving/switching off of the North Atlantic Drift. Simply because we do not Do cold all that well. We would have hot summers but no matter how you jiggle numbers, the Earths tilt would provide us with sea ice at this time of the year.
    Everything would have to be replaced, for rails would spall and wheels would split. The screech of contracting iron would keep people awake at night and glass would cough from its frame making walking under office blocks an extreme sport.
    But for all that, it seems that it is not the first time 'we' went through this. All along the west coast there is evidence of Bronze age mining. From Finistere to Fair Isle. But it seems the eruption at Thera/Santorini did for it. But prior to then the Atlantic was placid enough for transport with ships designed for the Med.

  2. Oh I see, the atheists aren't combative enough for you, so you have to wind up the warmenists and anti-warmenists too.

    At whom are you aiming this sarcasm, and to what end?

    Deniers who deny on the basis of their own scientific theories won't listen to this evidence, and nor will laymen deniers, since they must be irrational (having no rational basis for concluding one way or the other).

    That leaves the sceptical layman on the receiving end of your finger-wagging (sensible ones do not deny anthropogenic global warming but are just as concerned about the proposed 'cures' as the disease).

    Your message to him appears to be: nothing you can do about this, but you should be more worried and pessimistic than you are. Well, thanks very much for that on a Monday morning.

  3. Sceptical laymen no longer exist Brit, they died out with the Blair age to be replaced by befuddled citizens, including me.
    Approaching warming with befuddlement is a much safer proposition "do you think they are lying again honey" works well as does "they sound like they know what they are talking about but so did the bloke who started the thousand year Reich"
    Glacier shrinkage is irrefutable, look at pictures of the Mer de Glace in late Victorian times and compare them with now, about 2 kilometres difference. This proves bugger all about mans effect upon climate change which seems to be of more interest to the warmers than the effect itself. We live in an age of official control freakery, the warmers are simply one of its departments.
    Cathy D raised the earth's temperature by 1.35 degrees as did Ava.

  4. Lomberg and Freeman Dyson are the only sane people on the planet.


  5. I'll have a fiver on the bees running out before the ice does!

    what am I saying?! you can't take it with you - make it a tenner!

  6. Bryan writes: "Scientists are as prone to deluded groupthink as anybody else [...]"

    I would like to express scepticism concerning that view.

    Best regards

  7. Lorenzo's Oil is a film they have not shown in ages.

    The 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Professor Barry Marshall and Doctor Robin Warren from Perth, Western Australia for their finding that stomach ulcers were caused by bacteria, rather than by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid as was commonly (groupthink) believed.

  8. I feel honoured to be numbered among The Deniers, though only since reading Larry Solomon's brilliant book of the same name last year. It's a phrase only a Jew could - or should - twist into black mockery of those like Al Gore who have explicitly made the connection with holocaust deniers. Like Afro-American rappers and Nigger but much, much more so.

    With that off my chest, it's misleading to say that deniers say that the ice isn't melting. Some deniers say that about some of the ice, for sure. But the picture is darned complicated. Not just the seasonal and longer-term trends in temperature and ice cover - note that Antartica has been getting colder and nobody knows why - but the vast range of opinions among those commonly called deniers.

    Soloman's book brings this out very well. He speaks to real experts, in vastly different fields, from Freeman Dyson to David Bellamy. They are all unhappy about what is reported as consensus on climate change. But they each object to a different part of the official narrative - namely, the part where they happen to have expertise.

    Read the whole book, try to put it together in your mind, then try to agree with Brit that 'layman deniers' are automatically irrational. I don't think any of us should be willing to be cowed into intellectual submission like that. (Not necessarily Brit's fault, but a useful peg to hang the thought on, thanks.)

    What's truly irrational - and immoral - is to say that the science is settled. Plate techtonics or general relativity - yes, there, the science is settled, through careful attention to data, initially by one or a few pioneers, with the consensus of 'experts' eventually, often grudgingly, following. There is nothing anywhere in climatology that is settled like that. The consensus therefore is fake and dangerous.

    (One caveat. I'd be very happy for someone like Professor Richard Lindzen to correct that statement about nothing being settled in climatology. I'm ignorant enough to learn a lot from that. But I think he'd agree with the general drift. And I hope, as someone many of whose family perished in the Holocaust, he'd agree with my first paragraph.)

  9. I'd love to be among the people who believe in manmade global warming, but, darn it, the facts keep getting in the way.

  10. I hope global warming gives us a scorcher this summer. I'm not sure our last two summers were technically summers atall.

  11. Oh dear, oh dear. This is truly lame. Ice sheets come and go. That is what they *do*.

    Look, face it you global warm-mongers, you're going to have get governments to pass laws against people like me in a feeble attempt to keep us quiet (which will fail).

    I dare you to do it, though. Go on, you know you want to.

  12. Global warming is as over hyped as was PMI-001 once. If the attention remains the same on global warming, our next generations will be working to resolve global cooling issues. Maintaining a balance as in 642-812 and 642-901, however is important and the excess should not be done in any direction.