Wednesday, 11 July 2018

ABRUPT climate change denial: a hit-piece from the Guardian and acknowledgement from the Daily Mail

The strange world of media coverage of ABRUPT climate change

We live in a strange world where the British tabloid, the Daily Mail, notorious for its climate change denial can produce articles like the following that acknowledges climate change as the cause for all-time heat records.  Not only that but they quote US meteorologist, Nick Humphrey and his recent (and ever-so-important article)

Will wonders never cease?!


  • Meteorologist Nick Humphrey has expressed concern over high temperatures in Northern Siberia
  • The Laptev Sea and Eastern Siberian Sea have received a 'true roasting' melting ice covering the Arctic Ocean
  • This ice serves as an insulator and stops the flow of thermal energy from the water's into the atmosphere
  • Experts fear this effect, known as Arctic Amplification, is causing extreme weather patterns across the planet
  • Weakening of the polar jet stream can lead to severe weather like the Beast from the East that buffeted Britain

    Nebraska-based meteorologist Nick Humphrey, who runs the 'Ocean's Wrath' blog, said the extreme spell of hot weather shown in the maps amounted to 'a true roasting'.

    'It is absolutely incredible and really one of the most intense heat events I've ever seen for so far north,' he said.

    Humphrey made the comments after analysing weather data from the University of Maine's Climate Reanalyzer maps - and he believes the high temperatures show no signs of subsiding.
The maps show how cities across the Northern Hemisphere witnessed extreme temperatures in the past week, with records breaking in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Western Asia.

Fascinating maps have revealed the true scale of 'one of the most intense heat events ever seen' on Earth.


  • Global heatwave stretches across the majority of the Northern hemisphere
  • Montreal, Motherwell, Glasgow and more are recording record-breaking highs
  • France has issued weather alerts in 21 regions in the country
  • The distribution of the heatwaves points to global warming as the culprit
I have to contrast that with the Guardian, which has long been one of the best mainstream media sources on climate change research.
It was, after all, the newspaper that published the article in 2008 by Oliver Tickell


We need to get prepared for four degrees of global warming, Bob Watson told the Guardian last week. At first sight this looks like wise counsel from the climate science adviser to Defra. But the idea that we could adapt to a 4C rise is absurd and dangerous. Global warming on this scale would be a catastrophe that would mean, in the immortal words that Chief Seattle probably never spoke, "the end of living and the beginning of survival" for humankind. Or perhaps the beginning of our extinction.

They seem to be firmly in the category of opinion that considers that extreme weather events have nothing to do with climate change. This is shown by the fact that,although they do generally give coverage to the latest scientific paper they give very, very little coverage to extreme weather events and seem to refuse to join the dots.

This is demonstrated by the fact that while the Washington Post and much of the world media has given a lot of coverage of the ongoing and unprecedented heatwave over much of the northern hemisphere and made the connection with climate change there has been no mention of it in the Guardian - not a bean!

A brief Google search found the gap.
The Guardian has never had a set editorial policy (as, for example, the Murdoch press) and does publish a wide range of opinions but for all that the gaps in its reporting is glaring.  

Regrettably I have to report that the Washington Post these days does a much better job than the Guardian in reliably informing its readers.

There is no better illustration of "how the Mighty have fallen' than this piece by Dana Nucitelli who has such a pedigree that I had not heard of him before,in the Guardian on the 9th March.


Deniers have conservative media outlets and control the Republican Party; climate alarmists are largely ignored

Those who debunk climate change misinformation often face a dilemma. We’re flooded with such a constant deluge of climate myths, where should we focus our efforts? Climate misinformation is propagated via congressional climate hearings, conservative media outlets, denial blogs, and even from some genuine climate alarmists. 

Specifically, there has recently been a debate as to whether Skeptical Science– a website with a database of climate myths and scientific debunkings, to which I’m a primary contributor – would be more useful and effective if it called out misinformation from ‘alarmists,’ and if it eliminated or revised its Climate Misinformers page.

One of the first names he singles out to "call out misinformation from ‘alarmists’ " is of course Guy McPherson:

That being said, there are a few reasonably well-known individuals who could be accurately described as climate alarmists. The most prominent is Guy McPherson, who decided in 2002 that climate change would likely drive humans to extinction by 2030. Sixteen years later, we’re now more than halfway to 2030 and the global human population has grown from 6.3 bn to 7.6 bn. It’s quite safe to say we won’t go extinct in the next few decades.

He totally fails to present Guy's case accurately and misses out one or the cornerstones of Guy's case (well backed-up by citations from the scientific literature unlike most who rely on their own authority) - that is that rapid changes in global temperature mean that flora and fauna  are unable to adapt to rapid changes in temperature.

Simply put, without the ability to grow grains at scale we die.


 No number of electric cars or solar panels is going to save is from that. 
I doubt if Mr. Nucitelli has even the faintest understanding of ecology or plant biology and I am unsure of his understanding of up-to-date climate science.


Just how bad this article is is demonstrated by the fact that the only 'evidence' he cites is the notorious article by Scott K Johnston that always stands at the top of any Google search for 'Guy McPherson'




The most egregious attack is the one on Prof. Peter Wadhams:


As another example, Peter Wadhams predicted in 2012 that the Arctic would be ice-free in the summer by 2016. In fact, the summer of 2012 saw a dramatic decline in year-to-year Arctic sea ice extent (down to 3.6 million square km), which Wadhams believed would become the norm. That hasn’t yet been the case – there were 4.7 million square km of Arctic sea ice in the summer of 2016.


This is one of the most arrogant things I have read written by a non-entity with zero scientific pedigree on the one man who knows more about the Arctic ice than almost anyone on the planet.




Wadhams has been leading expeditions to the Arctic, studying the Arctic ice from submarines for at least 30 years. In the words of Wikipedia "Wadhams has been the leader of 40 polar field expeditions"

Mr Nucitelli, having attacked Wadhams makes this concession, presumably to tell us who the real target of his attack piece is:

 
"It’s worth noting that Wadhams gets most of the climate science right. There is absolutely a long-term decline in Arctic sea ice, which is in the midst of what many have described as a ‘death spiral.’ And Arctic sea ice is thinning rapidly. The Arctic will eventually be ice-free in the summer, but not within the next few years. According to Met Office Chief Scientist Julia Slingo, 2025–2030 would be the earliest date for an ice-free Arctic summer, and 2040–2060 is more likely. Wadhams also believes that there may soon be a large methane release from the Arctic, but a review of the relevant research suggests this isn’t a near-term concern"

Apparently someone from the UK Met Office is a better authority than the expert on Arctic ice!  Presumably because it comes with the stamp of official authority and political consensus (such as we see in this country with NIWA who seem to be mandated with never mentioning climate change,let alone the actual reality)


In the face of all the evidence he says:


"There is no evidence that methane will run out of control and initiate any sudden, catastrophic effects. There’s certainly no runaway greenhouse. Instead, chronic methane releases will supplement the primary role of CO2


To give his article, devoid of anything other than his own opinion some scientific credibility he includes a graph into his article:
 

The climate Overton Window. In the public discourse, there’s a heavy focus on climate denial and mainstream climate science, while the more alarmist outcomes are largely ignored.
Like the ridiculous people from the Facebook site Global Warming Fact of Day (I do not know if they are still going) he sees to think it is all a matter of consensus rather than scientific evidence.

These days we are all exhorted to run with the herd. 


In contrast to The Guardian  and other publications the Real News  does some good work on climate change.


This is Paul Jay on the subject.

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