The Climate Change sceptics have been quite excited about the publicity attached to the passing of Clive James, who has been celebrated as a sceptic in the IPA publication Climate Change: The Facts 2017, but at the same time the sceptics have been angered by the ABC which has not made Clive’s scepticism widely enough known.
In 2016 Clive wrote a poem, Imminent Catastrophe, expressing Climate Change scepticism, published in The Times, London.
In his essay in the IPA publication, Mass Death Dies Hard, 2017, Clive tells us that he does not know anything about the mathematics of “modelling of non-linear systems,” but he does know, he says, about the mass media and ‘the abuse of language’.
He later goes on to say that when the Attorney General of the USA proposed that Climate Change sceptics be suppressed by law, he decided he would be a ‘dissenter’. So dissenting became his thing.
Where would he find sceptic dissent? From other dissenters/sceptics? By adding some dissent/scepticism of his own?
And would he also be very knowledgeable about the IPCC science about which he is so sceptical so that he could oppose the claims of the IPCC?
Looking at the opening lines of the poem Imminent Catastrophe we see:
“The imminent catastrophe goes on,
Not showing many signs of happening.
The ice the North Pole that should have gone
By now, is awkwardly still lingering.”
In his essay Mass Deaths Die Hard, he elaborates by claiming that the melting Arctic has the “miraculous capacity to go on producing ice in spite of the instructions of Al Gore.”
The sceptics deride Al Gore in particular because he made some high-profile statements about ice melting in the Arctic. Wikipedia, discussing predictions made by non-scientists, tells us about Al Gore:
Former US Vice President, when speaking at the UN’s COP 15 meeting in December 2009 said “Some models suggest that there is a 75% chance that the entire North Pole ice cap during some of the summer months will be completely ice-free with-in the next 5-7 years.” Dr Wieslav Maslowski, of the Naval Postgraduate School of Monterey, California, whom Gore used to source, disagreed with Gore’s forecast and told The Times: “It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at”, and clarified his forecast calling for “a six year projection for the melting of 80% of the ice,” but he said he expects some ice to remain beyond 2020.
So, is Gore the right person to listen to about melting Arctic ice? He was a non-scientific politician – and we know that politicians are not always to be believed, entrapped by ideology as they so often are. Why criticise Gore when so many real scientists expect Arctic sea to clear by 2040. Does that not concern sceptics as much as Gore’s mistaken prediction?
And are sceptics also entrapped by ideology? See for example, these claims by Watt’s Up With That: ‘The polar ice melt myth’, May 2019:
“…a more accurate view* of sea ice can be had from satellite images taken every day at the poles since 1981.These images show that between summer and winter, regardless of the degree of summer melting, the sea ice completely recovers to its original size the winter before for almost every year since the pictures were taken. The sea ice has been stubbornly resistant to Al Gore’s predictions. In fact the annual average of sea ice has been essentially the same since satellite observations began in 1981.”
Is this the kind of place where Clive James found his melting ice claim for the poem?
NASA tells us this:
“Arctic ice meets its minimum each September. September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 12.85% per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average … The 2012 sea ice extent is the lowest in the satellite record.”
How can there be this kind of discrepancy in the reporting of observable events?
The same WUWT site mentions Professor Chris Turney. It claims that Turney was sailing in 2013 in an expedition to prove that Antarctic sea ice was undergoing catastrophic melting only to have his ship trapped in sea ice such that he could not be rescued by modern ice breakers!
Another site, (blog.heartland/2014/Antarctic-trip-too-far-chris-turney) features James H Rust, professor of nuclear engineering and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Rust refers to an interview by Emma Alberici where Turney explains he was “…trying to answer questions about how climate change in the frozen continent might already be shifting weather patterns in Australia”. And Turney says windswept sea ice trapped the ship.
But Rust claims:
“Nowhere in Turney’s article [of explanation later] was it mentioned that global warming in the Antarctic was to be studied. No one seemed to pay attention to how Mawson sailed to shore at Commonwealth Bay in 1911, while sea ice prevented Turney from sailing closer than 65 kms off Commonwealth Bay shore in 2013. Is this a proof of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels causing global warming?”
What is this proof Rust is asking about? See how it is fixed in the heads of sceptics/deniers that if there is global warming then there cannot be ice in the Antarctic. Yet they are also happy to claim that there is no melting of sea ice in the Artic, when there is.
Joanna Nova, Australian sceptic/denier, makes an appearance in this same site, criticising the ABC – and Turney:
“The ABC PR machine covers for their embarrassment [over the ship stuck in ice] – lest anyone think that climate scientists might be clueless. In the ABC’s world an “Australian Research Team” with “60 scientists” left because “scientists believe there is evidence of climate change”. After they got stuck in ice they didn’t predict, and looked like partying fools on an ill-prepared junket, the magic wand of the ABC-apologia stopped using the term “climate” and underwent a magical transformation to become a “Russian Passenger Ship”.
See the ridicule and obfuscation employed by Nova. Oh yes. It was just a Ship of Fools! ‘Ill-prepared’! And the article goes on to add more distraction with examples of people who made long journeys and failed. Totally irrelevant.
Elsewhere Turney explains what happened to the Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition of 2013-14.
“…huge gaps in knowledge remain across the region investigated by the original [Mawson] expedition. To tackle these questions we spent the last two years building a team of experts keen to work with individuals outside their area of expertise. Meetings were held and questions honed. We decided, for instance, that among many other things we would investigate the circulation of the Southern Ocean and its impact on the global carbon cycle and the potential for records of past climate change using tree ring and peat sequences on the subantarctic islands…
“Today Mawson’s Huts lie behind 65 kms of sea ice, the result of a 2010 collision between an enormous berg known as B09B and the Mertz Glacier Tongue. As a result of this clash, B09B lodged itself on the seabed of Commonwealth Bay, changing the circulation dramatically.
“Climate Change was part of our programme, but the Australasian Antarctic Expedition is much more…
“Unluckily for us, there appears to have been a mass of thick, multiyear sea ice on the other side of the Mertz Glacier; years after the loss of the Mertz Glacier Tongue. There was nothing to suggest this event was imminent…
“(It seems) we had inadvertently followed the footsteps of the Edwardian Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, whose ship had become caught in pack ice in 1915.”
Turney also tells us that they did find a way to get to Mawson’s Huts and that earlier in the season the research ship Aurora Australis was also stuck in ice.
We see how ideologically twisted the sceptic/ denier version is, so lacking in relevant details and intent only on ridiculing Turney and his expedition, trying to muddle the so-called “debate”.
Tony Eggleton, in his book on climate change (CUP, 2013) writes about loss of ice.
“From the satellite data alone, by the end of the summer of 2011 the Arctic sea ice cover had declined by 40% from its 1979-89 average.” (page 99)
And about the Antarctic: re several teams of researchers –
“All found an overall mass loss, though the annual amounts estimated ranged from 30 to 250 cubic kilometres.
“Another analysis of ice loss in just the Amundsen Sea catchment estimated about 40 cubic kilometres of ice was lost in 2009. From the perspective of ‘that’s not much’, using the larger figure (250 cubic kilometres a year) it would take 120 000 years before all the Antarctic ice melted. From ‘that’s a lot’ perspective, enough ice melted in 2009 to make an ice block one kilometre wide and one kilometre high, stretching the distance between Canberra and Sydney.” (page 101)
We see how far from understanding the sceptics/deniers are, with their woolly thinking, their ideological confusion and their irrationality. There is no coherent denier science.
Clive James was mistaken to try to borrow from the sceptic/deniers and to use them for his dissenting. Their way of thinking is at a far remove from the kind of thinking we would expect of Clive James. We might be forgiven if we thought Clive James’s writing is a satire/parody of sceptic denial.
What would Clive have made of the present catastrophe, the burning of his beloved Australia?
And all that discussion arising here in this post after looking at just four lines of his poem. There could have been more! We could look at more details of Clive James’s writing in his essay and then at some of the statements made by individual denier/sceptics elsewhere in the IPA publication.
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