By JR on Friday, February 10, 2012
No facts can change the minds of true believers
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"
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 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.