I am fortunate in having readers who look after me. Some have offered me refuge in their countries and their homes from what they expect otherwise will inevitably be the midnight knock on my door. Others correct my mistakes from typos to content. As I have never considered myself infallible, I carefully read what they have to say.
Usually those who want to straighten me out on a subject are polite and respectful. However, among those corrections brought in by my reporting on the dangers implied by the warming of the poles and melting of the ice were a few not merely ignorant and uninformed, but also condescending and rude. One even accused me of selling out to the climate change hoax in order to buy my way off the lists of Russian agents and fake news purveyors.
I thought this was a bit much. Of course, the reader could have been a polluting industry troll. I also detected in the comments of some a good brainwashing by carbon industry-funded climate science.
It is difficult for those of us who are not climate scientists to form an opinion with confidence. Even climate scientists have honest disagreements. However, as far as I can tell, it is the carbon industry-funded scientists and think tanks that deny global warming, and it is independent scientists who say it is occurring and who are concerned with the implications.
I always ask the Roman question, who benefits? Some libertarians and free market advocates explain what they dismiss as the “global warming hoax” as a plot against capitalsim by left-wing climate scientists. So where are the right-wing or conservative or merely honest climate scientists? Are all or most independent climate scientists left-wing? Do all honest ones work for the carbon industry?
I find it difficult to believe that the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency, The University of Bremen’s Institute of Physical Analysis, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Danish National Space Center, The Russian Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Science Council of Japan, the Accademia dei Lincei of Italy, the French Academie des Sciences, the Academia Brasiliera de Ciencias, Canada’s Royal Society, the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Indian National Science Academy are in a conspiracy against capitalism. “Climate change is real” declares the Joint Science Academies’ statement. http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf
Climate change deniers make much of a Russian scientist’s claim that we are all about to freeze to death, but the Russian Academy of Sciences agrees with all the other countries’ academies of science that global warming is real.
Now, compare this impressive group with the Koch and carbon industry funded climate change deniers. What interest do scientific organizations all over the world have in orchestrating a false issue? There is no obvious answer to this. However, the interest of polluters is obvious. To avert potentially cataclysmic consequences of global warming implies a reduction in the use of carbon-based energy. This reduction adversely affects the profits of carbon-based energy producers.
My article, which is mainly about the road we are on to thermo-nuclear war, reports as a second cataclysmic or apocalyptic event, the sudden release of massive methane locked in Arctic ice and permafrost. That such a thing could happen seems not to be controversial. The corrections I received from my readers focused on the melting Arctic ice. There is nothing unusual, I am assured, about the ice melt in summer. It always melts and then it refreezes.
Yes, of course, this is true. But what those setting me straight seem not to know is that each year more of the ice melts, but less refreezes and is much thinner. Moreover, the former impenetrable Arctic Northwest Passage has now thawed so much that the passage is open to cruise ships and freighter traffic.
So, if there is no global warming, why is the Arctic ice cap receding, which it most definitely is doing? Indeed, unambigious evidence shows that both North and South poles are losing ice. Apparently, in the Arctic this is because as the ice, which reflects the sunlight, recedes, the darker areas of the sea, which hold the sun’s heat, take its place. In the Anarctic, the ice appears to be melting because warmer water is melting the ice from below. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stable-antarctic-ice-is-suddenly-melting-fast/
Below is a sample of various real news reports on the shrinkage of Arctic ice in the 21st century. The shrinkage is unprecedented in recorded history.
For what appears to be the first time in recorded history, a direct seagoing route from Europe to Asia, around the north side of Canada, is ice free.
The opening of the Northwest Passage is among the most conspicuous results of global warming and average temperatures in the Arctic region are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere.
Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year. Arctic sea ice decline has rendered the waterways more navigable.
The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. The extent of Arctic sea ice, which melts to its low each September, has steadily declined over the past three decades, as the chart below illustrates. The years 2007–2012 saw the six lowest levels since satellite imaging began in 1979. The trend is likely unmatched in recent human history, reported a UN panel on climate change in 2013.
We have seen the ice-covered area drop to just around 3 million sq km which is about 1 million sq km less than the previous minima of 2005 and 2006. There has been a reduction of the ice cover over the last 10 years of about 100 000 sq km per year on average, so a drop of 1 million sq km in just one year is extreme.
Beyond surface area, recent data indicate that Arctic sea ice is also younger and thinner, and hence more inclined to melt. Less white ice and more dark sea means that more solar radiation is absorbed, accelerating the thaw.
Of course, we could dismiss these facts, as a few of my readers do, on the basis of faith that it will all turn around. But we should at least have a basis for our faith.
The thawing of the Northwest Passage was predicted in 2002. No doubt the scientists who predicted the thawing were ridiculed for their fake news and plot against capitalism. The thawing actually occurred three years before the predicted date.
Whereas I am proud that my readers show their willingness to protect me from threats and error, I am saddened to learn that a few of them read me in order to have their prior beliefs confirmed and that when my columns do not confirm their prior beliefs, they kiss me good-bye with rude, aggressive, and condescending words.
The reason to read me is to learn to notice and think for yourself. If you read me, or anyone, for confirmation of your prior beliefs, you are not doing yourself a favor. Uninformed prior beliefs are part of The Matrix. So is carbon industry brainwashing.