Blame mankind

May 30, 2010

The New Scientist is an interesting magazine, but it’s been in the pocket of the global-warming alarmists for as long as I can remember. Now, not content to point the finger at modern industrial society (for a problem that doesn’t exist), they argue that ancient hunter-gatherers in North America brought on global cooling by wiping out woolly mammoths.

You see, the only things keeping us from freezing were their mammoth farts:

When hunters arrived in North America and drove mammoths and other large mammals to extinction, the methane balance of the atmosphere could have changed as a result, triggering the global cool spell that followed. The large grazing animals would have produced copious amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from their digestive systems. They vanished about 13,000 years ago.

Felisa Smith at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque has calculated that when these animals were around they would have emitted 9.6 megatonnes of methane annually. Ice core records show atmospheric methane levels plunged from about 700 parts per billion to just 500 ppb at the time of their extinction. Disappearance of methane emissions from the extinct species is a possible cause, Smith says (Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo877).

“It is conceivable that this drop in methane contributed to the Younger Dryas cooling episode,” says Smith. This would mean humans have been changing global climate since well before the dawn of civilisation.

Note the equivocations used to reach the conclusion: “could have,” “calculated,” “possible,” and “conceivable.” All guesswork and estimates used to make the reader think it’s not just possible, but probable that man adversely changed his climate through his foolishness – with implications for the modern day, of course.  Bear in mind, no one was around to accurately measure mammoth flatulence, nor even the population of the mammoths, themselves. So Ms. Smith’s estimate of the methane output is based on assumptions, ever subject to error.

More importantly, to assume that, because the temperature drop followed the disappearance of the mammoths, the two must be related by cause and effect is to make the logical error of post hoc ergo propter hoc, “because B comes after A, A must have caused B.” It’s possible also that dropping temperatures combined with the slaughter wrought by early North Americans lead to the demise of the mammoths, as opposed to the other way round. Perhaps even an outside factor was responsible for the temperature drop, and the mammoths had nothing to do with it. Who knows?

I dont know

The point isn’t to pick on Ms. Smith, who, we can assume, is a competent researcher simply positing a theory based on the results of her study. Instead, the problem lies with the journalist’s presentation, which is slanted in a way to influence the reader to think this is the most likely and reasonable explanation – and by extension toward acceptance of the theory of modern anthropogenic global warming. No criticism of Ms. Smith’s thesis is offered, nor any alternate explanation for the Younger Dryas cooling.

That’s not journalism. That’s advocacy.

(via Instapundit)


The glaciers are melting! The glaciers are melt… Eh, maybe not.

January 18, 2010

This is happening so often these days that it’s almost not news anymore: yet another dire prediction from the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming has been shown to be as false as an Obama campaign promise and will have to be withdrawn:

World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said he would recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped: “If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, than I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments.”

Apparently no one bothered to check the original story, which hadn’t been replicated or peer-reviewed, yet it was put into the IPCC report as an established fact. On top of that, the “scientist” in charge of the glaciers section of that report has admitted that he’s not an expert in the field. One would think the IPCC would put a glaciologist in charge of a report dealing with glaciers, but, no. It was left to genuine experts in glaciers to reveal just how ludicrous the IPCC’s claims about the Himalayan glaciers were.

Given the revelations about the infamous hockey-stick graphs and the Climategate scandal, add to them this latest humiliation, and one has to wonder how anyone anymore takes seriously anything the alarmist crowd asserts. The IPCC reports are supposed to represent the best science in order to guide policy makers when they grapple with the (nonexistent) problem of global warming. At this rate, they might as well just consult their local paper’s astrology column.

(via Christy on Twitter)

LINKS: More at Watt’s Up With That?, Sister Toldjah, Hot Air, and Fausta.

UPDATE: Ah, here comes the fine stench of corruption. The head of the IPCC, Dr. Rajenda Pachauri, defended the claims about the Himalayan glaciers while heading an institute that was seeking funding based on those same claims. Read the whole post to get an idea of how disinterested these guys are. (Hint: not very.)


Global Warming alarmist headline of the day

August 24, 2009

I  expect better than this from a journal as good as New Scientist:

Global warming could change Earth’s tilt

OMG!! WTF?!?! We’ve got to start dumping lime into the oceans and firing sun-reflecting pollutants into the atmosphere NOW!!1!1!

Erm… Not so fast, Doc. If you read a bit further into the article, you find it’s no big deal:

The team found that as the oceans warm and expand, more water will be pushed up and onto the Earth’s shallower ocean shelves. Over the next century, the subtle effect is expected to cause the northern pole of Earth’s spin axis to shift by roughly 1.5 centimetres per year in the direction of Alaska and Hawaii.

The effect is relatively small. “The pole’s not going to drift away in a crazy manner,” Landerer notes, adding that it shouldn’t induce any unfortunate feedback in Earth’s climate.

Emphasis added.

“Could,” “may,” “might” — these are all weasel words global warming alarmists love to use to encourage us to let government take control of huge sections of the economy, all to fight a problem that does not exist. It’s the language of the con job, which is fitting since Anthropogenic Global Warming is the biggest confidence game since Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel Tower.

Shame on New Scientist.

(h/t Watts Up With That?)