You have to admire the shameless abuse of words… Even when alarmists are being honest, they’re being dishonest.

Damien Carrington — who is head of environment at the Guardian, which tells you almost everything you need to know about what’s going on inside his head (if at all) — writes about the discovery that Himalayan glaciers may not have been as vulnerable as previously thought

The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows
Meltwater from Asia’s peaks is much less than previously estimated, but lead scientist says the loss of ice caps and glaciers around the world remains a serious concern

It’s a don’t-rush-back-into-the-water moment, isn’t it. {Cue ‘Jaws’ theme}.

Carrington quotes one of the researchers behind the study,

People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before. […] The new data does not mean that concerns about climate change are overblown in any way. It means there is a much larger uncertainty in high mountain Asia than we thought. Taken globally all the observations of the Earth’s ice – permafrost, Arctic sea ice, snow cover and glaciers – are going in the same direction.

Hold on a minute. Environmentalists have been banging on about Himalayan Glaciers melting for bloody years. Even when it turned out that the IPCC had take a completely wrong figure from ‘grey literature’, the claim that Himalayan glaciers are vulnerable to melting persisted. For instance, only this week, Donald R. Prothero, who claims to have been ‘Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena’, writes in an article called ‘How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused‘, that,

Glaciers are all retreating at the highest rates ever documented. Many of those glaciers, especially in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, and Sierras, provide most of the freshwater that the populations below the mountains depend upon—yet this fresh water supply is vanishing. Just think about the percentage of world’s population in southern Asia (especially India) that depend on Himalayan snowmelt for their fresh water. The implications are staggering.

Not only was doubt cast over the pace of Himalayan Glacial retreat by the IPCC/2035 claim, it was widely reported at the same time that the dependence on the glaciers by Asia’s population was massively over-stated too. What sceptics have tried to explain is that, when you overstate things like the speed of change and the human consequences of that change, other people naturally start to question the argument. It’s no good restating the same mythology that existed before, in defence of the idea that we ‘know’ that ‘climate change is happening’ and that ‘we caused it’.

And the same is true of the most recent discovery. Of course it means “that concerns about climate change are overblown”. What else could it possibly mean, when one of the concerns turns out — yet again, as it happens — to have been overblown? How many times were the Himalayan glaciers pointed at? How many times did sceptics reply that there wasn’t sufficient data? how many times did alarmists claim in response that the sceptics had ‘denied the science’, and even that they were being paid for by Big Oil? I have quite definitely lost count. Donald R. Prothero, like many before him, tried to make the claim that a billion people depend on the glaciers. In just one discovery, we’ve established that Climate Change is a problem which has been reduced by that same magnitude. It’s a billion people less of a problem.

Elsewhere on the Guardian blogs, Leo Hickman asks,

Are the world’s glaciers threatened by climate change?
A Nature study has shocked researchers by finding that the Himalayas have lost no ice over the past decade. Leo Hickman, with your help, investigates. Get in touch below the line, email your views to leo.hickman@guardian.co.uk or tweet @leohickman

It’s an interesting inversion of traditional journalism.

In the past, journalists went out to discover things. They then formulated an argument about what they had researched and wrote about it. (Assuming that they didn’t just make it up in the pub). And then it would be read by readers, who, presumably, then made up their mind about the article given their confidence in the journalist, and the quality of the article. Now, however, it seems it is the readers who are being asked to do the research, and then the journalist makes up his mind…

If quoting figures to support your points, please provide a link to the source. I am particularly seeking links to data and papers which show the wider, global picture regarding the impact of climate change on glaciers, and, crucially, the impact on humans and habitats if they do melt. I will also be inviting various interested parties to join the debate, too. And later on today, I will return with my own verdict.

I will return with my own verdict, he promises, from ‘pon high. All of which begs the question, what is the point of Leo Hickman? We can all go and do our own research, and read it alongside others’, and form our own analyses; Hickman adds no value to the process of journalism — journalism 2.0… perhaps?

Adam Curtis produced an interesting feature on a similar phenomenon — the decline of TV journalism — a while ago for an otherwise terrible TV programme… (Watch it, it’s brilliant).

I wonder if there’s something similar going on here. The real authority is in the blogosphere, the energy of which the Guardian has attempted to capture with this ‘live blogging’ thang. It’s no longer really enough to rehash the words of scientists with whichever alarmist slant the eco-hacks want to treat them with — it doesn’t really give purchase any longer. Sales are flagging. Even Guardian print readers are switching off to the alarmsim. The online edition seems to be the only way the organisation can sustain its presence. Climate change alarmism turns out to have very little to do with climate change.

48 Responses to Spinning on Ice — Extending the AGW Franchise

  • What a shock! Actual measurement of a parameter of climate change once again diverges from the “expert’s” models. How will the IPCC spin this?

  • My first instinct was ‘the glaciers “have lost no ice”‘ was the scientist giving us the honest result. In contrast “People should be just as worried … as they were before” was the tip of the hat to religious authorities necessary to keep his job.

  • ‘Glaciers are all retreating at the highest rates ever documented. Many of those glaciers, especially in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, and Sierras, provide most of the freshwater that the populations below the mountains depend upon—yet this fresh water supply is vanishing. Just think about the percentage of world’s population in southern Asia (especially India) that depend on Himalayan snowmelt for their fresh water. The implications are staggering.’

    A somewhat conditionally statement. It’s all becomes absurd in the end and makes me want to read Vaclav Havel’s very Heidegarian ‘Power of the powerless': If one person could defy the state by putting in his shop window the state is wrong, rather than the usual posters (‘Green is good’ – not greed, mind you!) then we would have a revolution. These people are absurd and, in the normal ‘world’, would not be worth our effort or gaze. But they control, in fact, now, our very essentials and the more the evidence contradicts them, the more they circle and do there stupid, imbecilic ‘o ram ye ko’ or whatever that is. So, I say keep chanting – it is not the seas that will rise and swallow you. On the contrary, it is history!

  • Hickman’s “let the readers do all the work for me” approach here is a potentially less embarrassing (for him) variation of what frequently happens in The Guardian.
    Often the above the line author spews out some ill-thought out un-sourced drivel based solely on their own personal prejudice. Below the line, amongst the dross, a number of readers thoroughly demolish the “argument” with solid facts and figures (and more than once discover that the author has an unacknowledged financial interest in the subject).
    Possibly Hickman has also started to realize that simply cutting and pasting from WWF/Greenpeace press releases and sneering at “deniers” is going to become increasingly problematic for his career if facts continue to be inconvenient.

  • I will return with my own verdict.

    So, are we or are we not supposed to defer to scientists when it comes to science?

  • “Glaciers are all retreating at the highest rates ever documented. Many of those glaciers, especially in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, and Sierras, provide most of the freshwater that the populations below the mountains depend upon—yet this fresh water supply is vanishing. Just think about the percentage of world’s population in southern Asia (especially India) that depend on Himalayan snowmelt for their fresh water. The implications are staggering.”

    This is a complete lie as not “all” glaciers are retreating at their fastest rate and many in Alaska for instance have been advancing. India has a very long record of glacier measurement of the Himalayas and see a large amount of glaciers in their data, advancing. The melt water from himalays argument doesn’t hold water anymore as the latest peer reviewed study shows that only 4% of Himalayan melt provides fresh water to populations below and that the water is coming mostly from the higher glaciers that are not losing mass.

    I’m not sure where Donald R. Prothero s getting his information but I would have challenged him to his face for $5,000.00 that his statement is false.

  • A strange piece of deception. The study notes little loss of ice from higher altitudes.

    The report then says: “Wahr’s study clearly notes that lower-altitude glaciers and ice caps are melting, to the tune of about 150 billion tons of ice annually …”

  • “Adam Curtis produced an interesting feature on a similar phenomenon — the decline of TV journalism — a while ago for an otherwise terrible TV programme”

    That’s a little harsh on Charlie Brooker, he might be a bit arrogant but it seems more research goes into his comedy/entertainment programmes than does into a lot of supposed news. Then again, it’s all a matter of taste…

  • Nothing untoward is happening. However, a well financed and vociferous cult, on the basis of falsified data, has claimed, incorrectly, that a disaster was occuring and has predicted that this disaster would increase in severity, so we should remain worried.

  • I particularly liked Hickman’s comment that “A Nature study has shocked researchers by finding that the Himalayas have lost no ice over the past decade”. The implication being (1) that the lack of catastrophic consequences is shocking and (2) that it’s in an article in “Nature” and so must be true.
    The attitude of a scientist, or a journalist who had the slightest idea how science works, (or any other process based on rational thought – journalism, for example) would surely be to ask whether the article was true, look for evidence, etc. Hickman’s is to ask us what we think.

    Thanks for the Adam Curtis clip. His basic point is that journalists have given up on their job of explaining because of a fake democratic belief that our opinions are more important than informed analysis. It’s a good one, and many other examples could be cited. What possessed a polling organisation to call itself Yougov? No we don’t. Nor should we, or could we. Only the entire media and the more naive kind of anarchist think we do or should.
    His claim that the fall of the Berlin wall provoked the change, because no-one saw it coming is surely false. The Marxist historian E.P. Thompson predicted it in the pages of the Guardian. (As did the French sociologist Emmanuel Todd in a book published in 1976!) His sources were his colleagues in the European Nuclear Disarmament movement – East German protestant pastors and the like – but who listens to them? Mainstream centre left media like the Guardian would occasionally give left libertarian intellectuals like Thompson or Noam Chomsky a bit of space to air their eccentric views (usually accompanied by an editorial health warning “this is not the view of the editors”). Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and of course, the left wing intellectuals who had predicted it were considered discredited!

    Hickman and Carrington are epiphenomena, gasbags kept afloat by the eccentric beliefs of Guardian editor Ruisbridger. Soon the Guardian and Independent will disappear, and there will be no media in Britain to the left of Cameron. Now that’s something to worry about.

  • Black Briton, I used to be a big fan of Brooker. But then realised that, for all his insight, he was simply telling me things I already knew about themejah, and I had to wonder why he was limited to presenting his argument in a ‘comedy’ format. I think he’s as cynical as the empires he mocks, ultimately, and knows more about his fictional creations than he lets on. Black Mirror was utter bilge, and was only gave a glimpse into his mind, not the stupid, feckless, slack-jawed public he’d have us believe exists.

  • ‘Hickman and Carrington are epiphenomena, gasbags kept afloat by the eccentric beliefs of Guardian editor Ruisbridger. Soon the Guardian and Independent will disappear, and there will be no media in Britain to the left of Cameron. Now that’s something to worry about.’

    Geoffchambers, I hope you’re wrong, I sincerely hope you’re wrong (panic!) but I fear you’re probably right. I think that what they call a ‘failed model’ is something that only a dwindling number of people want to be ‘part’ of. Like news 24 – how much sky news beats the pants of that patronising and absurd enterprise. How much like actors, but without good conscience, their presenters appear, thereto. How much they seem to have contempt for the mere ‘viewer’!
    Adam Curtis is one of the most interesting and, I believe, brilliant users of TV, a kind of Dennis Potter of thinking. He has his own weblog, hosted by the BBC, of all places!? He’s worth listening or indeed watching. He was one of the few people to be able to get on TV, relegated to BBC 2, and tell the absurd story of our assumed terror of ‘terror’.
    By the way, please don’t mention Noam Chomsky in polite circles, not, at least, in the same breath, as you mention, the wrong but illuminating and venerable Thompson. Chomsky is someone who, even if the great white whale of history swallowed him, would still be muttering “Conspiracy, conspiracy, conspiracy…” Though I thank you for reminding me of Thompson – an historian worthy of his breaches!

  • Geoff, this is the link to Adam Curtis’s blog – he reminds me, a bit, of Ben – I mean I just heard a scratchy audio file on youtube where he’s more or less saying what he said in the film – that ‘journalism’ has died because it has no ‘authority’ – not from itself and not from ‘others’, either, including our’selves’!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/

  • Hickman’s first article said “A Nature study has shocked researchers..”. Today there’s a new one with the sub-heading: “Research showing that the Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years has been met with relief and surprise…”
    But in the text this is followed by: “The findings have also been greeted with delight by climate sceptics…”
    “I don’t know what to think” is a natural (sceptical) reaction to any complex question. Guardian writers don’t know what to FEEL.

    Guardian coverage of climate change has changed radically over the past year. Monbiot has given up, as he promised to do, once Muir Russell set his mind at rest over the probity of Phil Jones. John Vidal limits his coverage to reports of people affected in exotic tropical locations. Stars of the Guardian Environment Network like Bill McKibben and Gavin Schmidt are no longer featured. Neither are the big names like Professor Lord Sir Nicholas Stern or his rottweiler Bob Ward. Only Hickman, author of a global warming book for nine-year-olds, still treats the scientific questions head-on. Could it really be that the game is nearly over?
    Lewis Deane: I can’t comment on Curtis etc. because I can’t get British TV, but I like the idea of a journalistic Dennis Potter. Chomsky is anything but a conspiracy theorist.

  • Ben Pile says:
    February 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Exactly! Exactly – aren’t we sick to the very bottom of ourselves of alleged ‘comedians’ who assume, for sophists sake!, a ‘political’ stance and, in the end, are eaten up by the cynicism of their own assumption! Upon whom is the joke!?

    —-

    No, Geoff, Chomsky isn’t a ‘conspiracy theorist’ but a very, very ‘superior being’. He doesn’t ‘believe’ in ‘conspiracies’ because he ‘knows’ he lives in one. How great intelligence can fool itself. And what a pity. Like a Bobby Fischer, he spoils what is best in him by ‘thinking’! If only he would think less or not think at all but create. One only says, in the end, look at that scarecrow, what an idiot.

    ‘Chomsky is anything but a conspiracy theorist.’

    I’m sorry to say, Geoff, but that makes me think you haven’t bothered to read Chomsky at all. Language is a conspiracy, remember? Though his absurd idea, indeed a reductionist nonsense, that language is thought and, therefore, ‘necessarily’, our thoughts are predetermined is probably more than you would like to acknowledge. Chomsky is an idiot and always has been!

  • stop already with this ‘glaciers are melting’ sh*t. a century of it has got to be enough . . .

    http://www.real-science.com/arctic-meltdown

  • I have to agree with Lewis about Chomsky. This is a terrible rant of NC’s – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJUA4cm0Rck

    I think he just belongs in a different era. One in which wars were fought ‘because of oil’. Etc. And his whole ‘the USA is fascist, too’ thing is just boring. EPT, on the other hand… Some believe he would have gone green. Whatever, I think he’d do a better job of it of any of the surviving/ossified lefties that give a standing ovation when anyone suggests we ban the plastic bag.

  • Geoff – ‘Hickman and Carrington are epiphenomena, gasbags kept afloat by the eccentric beliefs of Guardian editor Ruisbridger. Soon the Guardian and Independent will disappear, and there will be no media in Britain to the left of Cameron. Now that’s something to worry about.’

    Isn’t it time we just saw off those labels – left and right? We should also forget the old parties, too. Monoliths as empty as the categories. (Hard to call the LD’s a ‘monolith’, I guess, but perhaps something just as desperately contrived and hollow, but smaller).

    Some evidence: Monbiot and Booker of the putative ‘left’ claiming that their opponents on the right have lower IQs, after a Canadian study demonstrated it ‘empirically’. (I think it was EPT who pointed out that empiricism is ideological. Can’t remember where, though.) It’s as thick an irony as saying that racists are genetically inferior. Second, the conservative blogosphere lit up with a discussion about ‘Red’ Ken’s homophobia. It’s true, once you embrace that identity politics stuff and multiculturalism, it takes you down a reactionary path.

  • Ben:
    “Isn’t it time we just saw off those labels – left and right? We should also forget the old parties, too. Monoliths as empty as the categories”.

    As a project for your generation for the coming century – ok. In the meantime, it’s all we’ve got. People vote. That’s all the great majority of them do. Deprive them of the labels they know, and democracy dissolves.
    When the republican idea was fashionable a few years ago, someone did a survey to find our first elected president. I think the winner was Richard Branson. (When direct elections for mayor were instituted, didn’t Gateshead vote for Mickey Mouse or something?)
    The Social Democrat “revolution” in the 80s was intended to break the left /right mould. All it succeeded in doing was to confuse electors for a decade or two. The middle class dream of a nice leftwing party entirely made up of Guardian readers died when the SDLP was beaten into fourth place by the Monster Raving Loony Party. (And why didn’t Screaming Lord Sutch get a seat in the House of Lords? Oh, they gave it to Sir Nicholas Stern. Of course).
    I’d better stop there. The day you decide to put some flesh on your basic idea about the “dearth of ideas, talent, and vision” in modern politics”, (Huhne article) I’ll be an enthusiastic participant in the discussion. In the meantime, I’ll continue to sharpen my political views in discussion with my daughter (Scottish Federation of Anarchists) and my son (Gaullist, Eurosceptic party “Debout La République”).

  • Hey Ben Pile! I debated Chomsky via email regarding AGW, and was shocked to discover he is really not all that bright. For decades he had been held up by the left as some great intellect, and yet when I had the chance to go toe to toe with him, he was toothless. Granted I actually studied climatology at a major university after years of studying geology, so I do have more knowledge on the subject, but I really expected more of a fight out of ole Noam.

    Just goes to show that as long as you agree with the left, they will call you a genius! It’s how (P)als(h)ave(D)egrees. ;)

  • See democratsagainstunagenda21.com for a list of actions we can take.

  • George Monbiot writes in the Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/06/right-stupidity-spreads-enabled-polite-left

    Those of us who discuss man-made climate change are cast as elitists by people who happily embrace the claims of Lord Monckton, Lord Lawson or thinktanks funded by ExxonMobil or the Koch brothers: now the authentic voices of the working class.

    So, on one side of the debate are “those of us who discuss” and on the other are those who “happily embrace” (presumably, without discussing, or indeed thinking very much at all.) Those who “discuss” are on the Monbiot side of the climate debate, those of us not on the Monbiot side of the debate presumably do not “discuss” man-made climate change but merely give vent to our irrational beliefs.

    It gets worse. Noted climate psychologist Chris Mooney writes in the HuffPo:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-mooney/want-to-understand-republ_b_1262542.html

    As the new research suggests, conservatism is largely a defensive ideology – and therefore, much more appealing to people who go through life sensitive and highly attuned to aversive or threatening aspects of their environments. By contrast, liberalism can be thought of as an exploratory ideology – much more appealing to people who go through life trying things out and seeking the new.

    Shocked! I’ve always tended to think I was a fairly progressive sort of chap who likes to discuss things like climate change and goes through life trying things out, but apparently I’m a really a defensive, emotional type who, on the one hand happily embraces various lords and right-wing thinktanks, but on the other is a sensitive flower, constantly attuned to aversive aspects of my environment.

    My sub-par low-IQ brain is evidently struggling to assimilate this awful self-knowledge.

  • It seems that the alarmist are devoid of using logic to determine which of their outlandish statements may be true, and few are. One would think that when the glaciers in the mountains are locked in winter’s icy grip and therefore not melting any, the rivers that they are a part of continue to run water from springs, rainfall and snow melt from lower regions of the mountains and for sure they do not “dry up” like these people would want the illogical to believe and believe they do.

  • “People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before.”

    The following article, by Irish environmentalist John Gibbons, provides a good exposition of the thinking behind statements like this one. If your model of modern civilisation is the Titanic, during and after its encounter with the fateful iceberg 100 years ago, then any apparent good news (Himalayan ice not melting, sea level rise not accelerating, mild winters not continuing, etc.) is not going to be considered very helpful.
    http://www.thinkorswim.ie/?p=1615

    The author finds the writings of Chris Martenson and David Korowicz, about the immanent shipwreck, compelling:

    “What we now require is rapid emergency planning coupled with a plan for longer term adaptation,” counsels Korowicz. It has been one hell of a ride, but the fact remains that this pleasure cruise is over. It’s time to let go of the comfort blanket of false hope and instead make our way, with great reluctance and resolve, towards the lifeboats, while there is still some time, and while relative calm still prevails.

    If you know the ship is sinking (and despite all the scientific talk of uncertainty, these people simply know that it is sinking) any signs that might suggest the contrary and promote “false hope” are not only misleading but potentially dangerous.

  • Himalayan glaciers melt in summer which in India and S. China (where the melt goes) is MONSOON SEASON. That is when they have TOO MUCH WATER. In the dry season, it is snowing and no ice is melting in the mountains. People are projecting European & American climate (drought risk is in summer) onto a fundamentally different climate.

  • To take the shipwreck analogy further, let us say the Titanic did NOT hit an iceberg, but some passengers were convinced it did or was about to (and we can say that even the sighting of icebergs in this hypothetical is uncertain). Abandoning ship (closing all the power plants, in the modern case) would cause the death of thousands as they jumped into the freezing water. And the same people claiming imminent doom for the titanic have been wrong before (alar, Club of Rome, etc)–what should we do? I for one am not even putting on my life vest at this point…

  • But you don’t live in Pakistan or the Tarim Basin, Craig.

    I don’t understand the ‘sceptic’ excitement about this paper. The stuff about a billion people (2 billion if you’re Tim Flannery or Bill McKibben or Wetlands International; 3-4 billion if you’re the Worldwatch Institute) relying on Asian glacier meltwater was knocked down long ago, so all the paper says is that a lesser – but still serious – problem will arrive later than thought and that proper scientists are doing proper stuff to find out exactly what’s going on. They should be applauded. Go after the Flanneries who gibbered about billions, by all means, but these people are doing good work.

  • so all the paper says is that a lesser – but still serious – problem will arrive later than thought and that proper scientists are doing proper stuff to find out exactly what’s going on.

    Bait and switch.

    The younger English were never going to know what snow was. Ooops!

    Kilamajaro was melting as a sure sign of AGW. Until it was found to be otherwise.

    So they told us that the Himalayas were going to dry up and kill millions. Turns out that they were wrong there too.

    What makes you confident that the Greenland and Antarctic melting will turn out to be any more true? Especially since the Antarctic is far too cold to melt, and anyway has been gaining ice extent for the last couple of decades.

    The only thing that I am sure of is that over time the AGW claims are moving further and further away from where people live, and to claims that cannot be easily checked by other researchers. We are no longer going to be living in perpetual drought and with super hurricanes. Instead we will be killed by inexorable sea level rise (as if that killed anyone) and lower pH. Claims that are fantastically difficult to actually check unless you are a major research institution funded to examine climate – and therefore unlikely to be very sceptical.

  • #17 Thank you Ben Pile for the link to Chomisky’s ambling on about who knows what. I watched part of it and left it wondering, mainly, how this person could have gotten this old knowing so little of any value or importance about basically anything.

    #17 Thank you Kenneth for the link to a great site and great information about the Indian glaciers. It is really well done and, in this age of false information put out by the alarmist, believable because it is based of FACTS.

  • #19 is the one that Kenneth submitted.

  • I’ve just watched part of the Chomsky rant on J Doug Swallow’s recommendation. A senile Hickman. Add him to the long list of Royal Society Presidents and Nobel Laureates who think that their intellectual superiority obviates the need actually to find out anything about the subject.
    He accuses the NYT of playing down the seriousness of global warming by ignoring:
    “the substantial number of climate scientists who believe that the consensus predictions are much too optimistic, including some of the leading scientists right here [at MIT] who have recently run what they call the most extensive modelling ever done and concluded that it’s far worse than anticipated and that their own results are an understatement…”
    That would be the MIT Climate Research group financed by Exxon, Shell, BP and Total. Effectively the same people he’s just accused of financing a misinformation campaign to deny the existence of global warming.
    On political questions like the Vietnam war, Chomsky was always very good at showing how the liberal / imperialist “conspiracy” was in fact being conducted quite openly. But then he was writing books, with references.

  • Vinny, I was of course referring to WorldWatch of WWF etc who are still beating this drum of 2 billion people losing their water supply. Your comment about me not living in the basin means what exactly? That I don’t know anything? I do know that the greatest loss of property and life in India is from Monsoon flooding and that snow melt is during the same season so less melt would reduce flood risk. If you have some other info please clue us in.

  • How do people drink glacial melt-water if glaciers don’t melt?

  • Craig, I wasn’t suggesting that you don’t know anything. I was (clumsily) suggesting that for some people there is a bit of doom on the horizon, so although the whole glaciers-supply-water thing has been grossly exaggerated it would be wrong to totally write it off. Understating a problem is as bad as overstating it, no?

    Rich, some lower-altitude HKH glaciers are shrinking (including some that are important for irrigation in the Indus basin), as are glaciers that supply the Tarim oases.

  • There is no systematic causal relationship between carbon dioxide levels and climate change simply because the greenhouse conjecture is not based on real world physics.

    Prof Claes Johnson has proved in Computational Blackbody Radiation* that energy in radiation only gets converted to thermal energy if the peak frequency of the radiation from the source is above the peak frequency of the radiation from the target.

    This essentially provides a mechanism which explains why the Second Law of Thermodynamics also applies for radiative heat transfer, as it does for heat transferred by conduction.

    There seems no plausible alternative explanation for the observed Second Law, so I suggest we all heed what Johnson has deduced mathematically, being as he is, a Professor of Applied Mathematics.

    It is not the net radiative flux (or even its direction) which determines whether (and in which direction) thermal energy is transferred. For example, if the emissivity of two bodies is very different, there can be more radiative flux from the cooler one. But all that flux will be scattered by the warmer one and not converted to thermal energy. Only the flux from the warmer one (no matter how weak) will be converted to thermal energy in the cooler one. This “ensures” that the Second Law is valid in all cases because it depends
    on peak frequency which is proportional to absolute temperature – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wien's_displacement_law

    Thus the IPCC “backradiation” cannot affect the temperature of the surface and there can be no atmospheric radiative greenhouse effect.

    * http://climate-change-theory.com/RadiationAbsorption.html

  • some lower-altitude HKH glaciers are shrinking (including some that are important for irrigation in the Indus basin), as are glaciers that supply the Tarim oases.

    All New Zealand’s sea level glaciers are melting. But they have been melting for several centuries now, so clearly it has little to do with carbon dioxide.

    Even if it is true that the Tarim oases are threatened by glacier melt, can that actually be attributed to man’s burning of fossil fuels? Or were they doomed anyway?

    And from there it is a long bow to suggest the proposed “cure” is not more dangerous than the disease. I would suggest that dramatically cutting our emissions to save a few places already under threat is a massive over-reaction, regardless of the scientific “facts”.

  • Vinny: please supply some sort of reference to any glaciers being important to irrigation in the indus basin. The dry season in India is the cold season in the mountains when glaciers don’t melt. While I am sure some of the glaciers drain toward the drier areas of Pakistan and Afganistan, these are not the areas where 2 billion people were supposed to have their water supply threatened (India and S China). Summer melting contributes to flooding which a negative not a positive lifestyle element in India.

  • This entire hysteria is based on controlled, photo-shopped Faux Science and manipulated data. Carbon Climate Forcing is a credit default figleaf for FORCED Carbon Commodity Marketing. This blatant distortion is then accompanied with the Green Energy LIES on windmills, bio-fuels and solar cells. Photovoltaics work on molecular erosion that NEVER produces the energy required for production. The same with bio-fuels. Another HUGE LIE is the Hubbert Peak Oil hypothesis. Petroleum products are produced constantly as by-products of Earth’s varying fission rates. These fission rate changes are governed by solar and cosmic particle bombardments and are beyond human influence or current understanding.

    The purpose of all of these lies is to hide the biggest lie of all, our defective monetary system. Read “Fractional Reserve Banking Begat Faux Reality” and more about the Faux History that supports the oligarchy. Read “Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste” for more on actual Earth Science.

  • “In the past, journalists went out to discover things. They then formulated an argument about what they had researched and wrote about it. (Assuming that they didn’t just make it up in the pub).”

    You make many cogent arguments here, but this bit is just nonsense. Journalists (and historians, and economists too, come to think of it) have always basically just made up things to support their own personal views or ideologies, and in point of fact mostly while sitting in pubs or offices. True, there have been a few bright and brave souls who did actual research and reported actual facts, but they have been few and far between. Today’s journalists are quite bad it is true, but really no worse than they have been in the past. They’ve always been bad. And historians, effectively journalists of the past, have been even worse.

  • Mike – I did say they just as likely made it all up in the pub.

    But look, the important point was that there was not the technology to do Hickman’s journalism 2.0 stunt. It would have taken weeks to do with snail mail what is done in hours. And as Curtis points out, this technological revolution coincides with a crisis of faith within the institutions that peddle information. Whether or not today’s journalists are more or less lazy than in the past, the character of journalism seems to have changed. The phenomenon of 24-rolling news, or of Hickman’s ‘live Q&A’ simply didn’t exist once, but they can hardly be called an improvement. At least pissed old hacks had brains.

  • Pissed old hacks have to compete to find the news and interpret it in order to fit with their conflicting world views (or those of their proprietors). Sober environmental journalists all digest the same press handouts. The ony competition is to find new synonyms for “catastrophic”.
    Look at the economics pages of the press and you’ll find the old journalism alive and well. There are still competing world views and a battle to be the first or the most pertinent. And the below-the-line comments made possible by new technology keep them on their toes.
    Even environmental journalists follow the old rules when it comes to standard environmental subjects – spotting the most threatened toad or the wickedest oil company. Only on the subject of climate change is dissent considered immoral.

  • GeoffChambers,

    By the way, as an addenda, Chomsky’s ‘conspiracy’ nuttery is directly consequential on his ‘linguistic’ ‘innovation’ (in fact, he invented nothing that hadn’t already been thought of all the way back to the pre-Socratics – though I take it that ‘the greatest insights are insights of method’ not of ‘substance’) and vice a versa. It’s a bit like the superficial ‘the media is the message’ or an earlier ‘Poverty is theft!’. One can test the profundity of a thinker and their ‘insights’ by seeing how quickly they become clichés and stereotypical. The latter could be misunderstanding but, more than not, it is a sign of the lack of power of such thinking and such thinkers.
    And the fact that an epistemonolgy that is wrong can also, sometimes, accidently point in the right direction, doesn’t make it ‘right’. And probably, Chomsky’s mind was ‘younger’ and ‘sharper’ during the disaster that Vietnam.

  • A final note: What I love about Adam Curtis can be gleamed from the fact that he begins almost always by saying a variation of this “I want to tell the story of…” Just marvellous.

  • ..as Glaciers start growing again in cycle, it will be amusing to hear the IPCC spin, stay tuned for hilarity!

  • ‘Property is theft’, not ‘poverty is theft’! Doh!

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