Tuesday, August 07, 2018

In which the reptiles keep up their climate science denialism ...

Of course it was just a feint and a fraud, a pious pretence at paying attention … with Lloydie on his best behaviour ...

"Alarming" of course is just polite reptile speak for "alarmist" but Lloydie kept trying to play it straight ...

But how did the pond know it was a pretence, a fraud, a bit of cursory window-dressing?

Well the real space was handed over to another, confirming that climate science denialism remains the heart and soul of the lizard Oz …

The pond knew it was serious … because Plimer had been sanctified with a Krygsman.

This isn't quite the same as being blessed with a Lobbecke, but in the reptile scheme of things, it's a considerable honour, and full of the usual droll Krygsman wittery, and what's more it allowed the reptiles to provide a link back to Lloydie in the sidebar…

Remember, print the controversy, and don't let any science get in the way of having fun ...

Rather than argue with Plimer, who is sounding more and more silly, with his bellowing metaphors, the pond thought it might run a little Tim Flannery, because the pond knows that sends the reptiles into a frenzy … and Flannery was out and about in the latest NYRB to land in the pond's mail box, but was also online, though sadly inside the paywall here

What set Flannery off was his review of Mark C. Serreze's Brave New Arctic: The Untold Story of the Melting North ...

...In the summer of 2007, Artcic ice cover reached an all-time low and was so far outside the range of the climate model projections that it shocked scientists. In summer 2012 there was so little ice in the Arctic Sea that open water reached close to the pole; for comparison, in 1980 Arctic summer ice covered an area around the size of the contiguous United States, minus Arizona. By 2012, it covered only 46 per cent of that area. As Serreze explains, after that summer, scientist realized that it was a case of when, not if, the Arctic will lose all of its summer ice.
From a hard-to-detect start, climate change quickly gathered speed, and soon had the momentum of a charging rhino. So breathtaking was the shift that Serreze began to speak of the scientific community's "utter astonishment" at the rate of melt and of a "death spiral" of the Arctic sea ice. Deep concern was sparked globally when, in the summer of 2012, almost the entire surface of the Greenland ice cap began to melt. Then, at the end of December 2015, air temperatures over the Arctic briefly reached above freezing. Serreze, seemingly in disbelief, describes the event as "simply unheard of."
In February 2018, after the completion of Serreze's book, the Arctic experienced its fourth winter heatwave, with temperatures rising above freezing four years in a row. The 2018 heatwave was the most extreme, with a temperature of 43° Fahrenheit recorded at Greenland's northernmost observatory, which is just 440 miles from the North Pole. For ten consecutive days, the station recorded above-freezing temperatures, and overall this year, temperatures in the Arctic have been up to 70° Fahrenheit higher than average. Unsurprisingly, the NSIDC website reveals that winter ice cover in the Arctic this year is the second-lowest on record, with the four smallest areas occurring over the last four years...

Now it's back to more reptile-fuelled denialism …

Back for another gobbet of Flannery …

As Serreze makes clear, the Arctic climate system is now entering uncharted territory, with the computer models no longer providing a reliable guide to the future. Will we see an ice-free North Pole in 2018? Or an ice-free Arctic just twelve years from now, in the summer of 2030? Since the US North Pole Environmental Observatory was shut down in 2015, it has been much harder to answer such questions. And the public seems apathetic. On the phone with Serreze, the veteran journalist Seth Borenstein lamented, "How many times can a journalist report on what is happening in the Arctic before it becomes so repetitive that people lose interest?"
The great Dutch writer and historian Geert Mak once told me that in 1933 the Dutch newspapers were full of stories of the threat of Nazism, het by 1938 those same papers were all but silent on the subject. Sometimes, it seems, threats to our future become so great that we opt to ignore them …

Or, to keep the Godwin's Law busting metaphor running, because it irritates the reptiles so, because sometimes certain newspapers are active supporters of Nazism and/or climate science denialism …

Sometimes the neo-Nazism is best left to Sky News and luminaries of the Bolter kind, so that the lizards of Oz can keep the denialism running for their luddite readership ...

And so to a little background on Serreze …

In 1983, as Serreze was about to embark on his research career, he was "thinking about Arctic cooling and instantaneous glacierization" (the rapid growth of glaciers), and despite the computer models, "even secretly hoping for it." The evidence for human impacts was not yet in. In 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the changes in the Arctic "could still be largely due to natural variability," and that unequivocal physical evidence of what the models were predicting might not be seen for at least a decade. Part of the problem was that the Arctic has a highly variable climate, influenced not only by year-to-year fluctuations but also by decadal cycles such as the shifts in atmospheric pressure known as the North Atlantic Oscillation.
It was not until around 1996, when oceanographers circulated a letter urging coordinated study of the changing Arctic, that the scientific community began making a concerted effort to understand what was happening there. Serreze played a major part in that research, yet as late as 2003 he was unconvinced that the data were showing anything beyond natural variability. That August, however, at a retreat hosted by the National Science Foundation, he had what he describes as "an OMG moment" as researcher after researcher spoke of "melt, thaw, disruption, destabilization, warming, moving, weakening, and uncharted trajectories." Others took even longer to be convinced: Jim Overland, a leading oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, finally accepted that humans were changing the Arctic in 2008. Soon thereafter, however, things began happening so fast that only paid lobbyists and those deluded by them, were denying the facts …

Oh and there's also the climate-denialist reptiles, and a shameless climate denialist with a book to flog ...

And there laid bare is the truth behind the token Lloydie effort, and the shamelessness of the reptiles …and to make it all the more piquant, they do it at a time when the country is currently in severe drought and even your average denialist begins to wonder whether climate change might be playing a role …

Well it would be wrong to end on a flat and sour note, so here's a couple of cartoons celebrating the work of the world's greatest comedian, keeping the punters on the good ship planet Titanic wreathed in smiles, safe in the knowledge that soon there won't be any pesky, tricky icebergs floating around in the sea …


  1. Well, what can one say about Ian Plimer, emeritus geologist and one time darling of the Australian Skeptics (at least in his own self-satisfied view).

    Anyway, just for the fun of it, here's what New Scientist said about him back in the good old daze:

    Ark verdict spells ruin for geologist
    By Leigh Dayton 7 June 1997

    One of the most bizarre cases ever to be heard in an Australian court, centring on a creationist’s claim that Noah’s Ark has been discovered in Turkey, has left the geologist who brought the suit facing financial ruin.

    Ian Plimer, head of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, sued Allen Roberts, a Sydney-based creationist, under Australia’s Trade Practices Act. He alleged that videos, audio tapes and literature distributed by Ark Search, an organisation run by Roberts, were “misleading and deceptive” (This Week, 30 November 1996, p 4).

    But in a ruling delivered on 2 June in the Sydney Federal Court, Justice Ronald Sackville rejected Plimer’s complaint. While some of the claims made by Roberts were false, Sackville ruled that the creationist’s activities did not constitute “trade or commerce”. Plimer, who is facing bankruptcy after selling his house to finance a series of legal battles with creationists, is considering an appeal. “If you don’t take risks, you don’t get anywhere,” he says.

    [[https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15420850-800-ark-verdict-spells-ruin-for-geologist/ ]

    Unfortunately, the judgement didn't actually spell ruin for him (the wingnut welfare pockets are deep and well stocked with directorial sinecures), so now he just wants the entire Earth (which, fortuitously, includes the human race) to take huge risks with him. And we'd all love to do that, wouldn't we ? After all, the entire herpetarium is with him.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Damn these fingers! Try again.

      This is beyond satire. The inmates were fighting among themselves!

      There should be some sort of requirement to highlight vested interests - and you cannot get more vested than Plimer (KEFI Minerals, Ivanhoe Australia Limited, TNT Mines Limited Niuminco Group Limited, Silver City Minerals Limited, Roy Hill Holdings and Queensland Coal Investments). Mind you it would catch the IPA (majority owned subsidiary of Hancock Mining), Cater (welfare bludger and burden on society) etc etc.

      Ironically, the hokey oversimplifications and misrepresentations remind me of the arguments run by - - creationists

    3. Ok, I'll ask again: please tell what you did to delete your first attempt above. I've tried googling to find out how to delete a comment but all I get is "drag it to the trash can". What trash can ? There's none on my screen.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. You can delete if you post as a blogger, GB. Like this.

    6. ... as opposed to this.

    7. Soz GB - had an early start so I only just saw your question above. I was probably a bit cryptic when I responded previously regarding deleting crazy finger entries. When posting a comment the "reply as" drop down box gives three options - if you select Google Account it gives more options to review current posts and delete published posts. If you don't have an account: https://accounts.google.com/signup/v2/webcreateaccount?hl=en&flowName=GlifWebSignIn&flowEntry=SignUp

    8. Muchas gracias, Bef. I don't have a google account, but maybe I should have.

    9. A gmail address makes a good dead letter drop if you don't want to expose your main email address

  2. This piece by Jem Bendell sums up the situation:

    1. I like the way that paper gets into the guts of it right away on page 2:
      "That synthesis leads to a conclusion there will be a near term collapse in society with serious ramifications for the lives of readers."

      Yep, that's the situation we have; the denialists have won the right to inflict "a near term collapse in society" on the entire plant and animal population of Planet Terra. My only concern is just exactly how "near term" that is.


Comments older than two days are moderated and there will be a delay in publishing them.