Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Great Day to Laugh at Alarmists

A great day for Anthony Watts yesterday. He was able to link to two hilarious stories. The first is from the BBC, showing that the outgoing head of Greenpeace was forced to admit that there is no real possibility that the Arctic will be ice-free in 2030, so it was wrong for Greenpeace to say that this was likely in a July 15 news release.

As permanent ice decreases, we are looking at ice-free summers in the Arctic as early as 2030.

"Gerd Leipold, the retiring leader of Greenpeace, said the claim was wrong." He has two defences. First, it has been so difficult to get the world's attention for the climate issue, it is acceptable to "emotionalize" the issue. Secondly, he says he didn't personally approve the news release, or even see it, before it was released. Now we are clearly in the realm of politics rather than science. "That bullshit news release, which I now find embarrassing, was the work of a junior member of the organization, acting on his or her own, contrary to standing instructions, which have since been modified to make even more sure that nothing similar happens again."

The BBC interviewer, Stephen Sackur, is pretty amazing, pointing out that "the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present." One can imagine the interview continuing Monty Python style: So in 2030, will the ice in the Arctic be reduced by one-tenth? No, not one-tenth, that would be going too far. One one-hundredth, then? No, I'm afraid not. One one-thousandth? Well, if I could make a litle joke, you're getting warm.

I certainly have no idea what the trend actually is up there, but it seems possible there is tremendous change in the ice from season to season, and year to year, so some spots will become dramatically ice-free for a few summers, while other spots will alarmingly ice over. The ice is moved by both ocean currents and wind, etc.

The second story is less significant in the scheme of things, but possibly even funnier. "Captain" Eric Forsyth has made a reputation for long voyages in small sailing ships--he made it part way into the Arctic in 2008, and he is now sailing the yacht Fiona more extensively in the Arctic. He is proposing a Green Ocean Race which will entail the use of no fossil fuels. He completely buys the alarmist line on global climate change, but thinks there are non-catastrophic ways to adapt.

Here is Forsyth's August 17 post on the Fiona News:

Last night, 16 Aug, we got hopelessly trapped by the ice. Despite a favorable ice report we encountered 8/10ths ice, with many old, i.e. large, bergs. We spent the night tied to one of them but had to leave this morning when another 'berg collided with us and tipped Fiona over. We got away but the space around us is shrinking. I called the Canadian Coast Guard at noon and they are sending an icebreaker, due here tomorrow. We are NOT in immediate danger. Watch this space for developments.

Since they are likely to make it out alive and unharmed, there is plenty of opportunity for fun here. "Despite a favorable ice report": those bastards at Greenpeace said it would be ice-free up here! So tell me Captain Forsyth, what did you encounter in the Arctic? "Mostly ice--ice as far as the eye can see! Endless ice! And not just puny thin ice--thick stuff, dangerous, life-threatening ice!" As Watts points out, the ship that the Canadian Coast Guard uses in these situations burns fossil fuel. I would add that it is called an icebreaker--that would be because, only 20 years before the fateful year of 2030, there is still plenty of ice in the Arctic.

See again the Caitlin expedition, needing to be rescued from the ice in the Arctic.

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