Return of the Arctic Death Spiral! (again).

It’s back. One of the warmist’s favourite zombie arguments has been resurrected yet again.  Draw the curtains, put your feet up, and grab a bowl of popcorn for THE RETURN OF THE ARCTIC DEATH SPIRAL!!! (Cue scary music).

Nafeez Ahmed reports in The Guardian that the Obama administration is calling a meeting to discuss the return of the Arctic death spiral:

Senior US government officials are to be briefed at the White House this week on the danger of an ice-free Arctic in the summer within two years.

The meeting is bringing together Nasa’s acting chief scientist, Gale Allen, the director of the US National Science Foundation, Cora Marett, as well as representatives from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.

Guardian: White House Warned on Imminent Arctic Death Spiral 

We’ve heard this phrase before. One warmist in particular, Mark Sereze, has been instrumental in pushing the meme. Here he is from 2007:

“Everyone is seeing the same thing,” Mark Serreze, a senior researcher with the Boulder, Colo.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, told CanWest News Service on Friday.

The sea ice seems to be on this death spiral,” he said. “And this is not some nebulous thing like global temperature rises. You can see this with your own eyes.”

Canada.com: Arctic Ice Cover the Smallest Size Ever Recorded (2007)

Artist’s impression of one of Mark Sereze’s “Death Spirals”

And Mark “Death Spiral” Sereze in 2008:

The Arctic Ocean’s sea ice has shrunk to its second smallest area on record, close to 2007′s record-shattering low, scientists report.

The ice is in a “death spiral” and may disappear in the summers within a couple of decadesaccording to Mark Serreze, an Arctic climate expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

National Geographic: Arctic Ice in ‘Death Spiral’ is Near Record Low (2008)

What about in 2010 when Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Colorado, renewed his warning that the Arctic was in a “death spiral” - 

“The Arctic sea ice has reached its four lowest summer extents (area covered) in the last four years,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the U.S. city of Boulder, Colorado.

The volume – extent and thickness – of ice left in the Arctic likely reached the lowest ever level this month, Serreze told IPS.

I stand by my previous statements that the Arctic summer sea ice cover is in a death spiral. It’s not going to recover,” he said.

IPS: Arctic Ice in Death Spiral (2010)

Year after year, Mark “death spiral” Sereze was making the exact same claim, that Arctic ice was locked in a “death spiral” and would soon vanish. Bet he was embarrassed when that never happened. You certainly get that impression from this interview in 2011 -

MARK SERREZE: There are a number of different sea ice analyses out there. They have their own, we have a different one. We think that ours is a more internally consistent record. We’re showing us still at a second lowest, I suspect we’re going to stay there.

But whether we’re lowest or second lowest does not change the fact that sea ice extent continues to decline in the Arctic, it probably will in the future.

ASHLEY HALL: Is it a death spiral?

MARK SERREZE: Well I’ve, is it a death spiral? I was quoted somewhere saying, using that term I believe (laughs). I’ve gotten a little flack here and there.

Maybe I wouldn’t use the term ‘death spiral’ but I would say the Arctic sea ice cover is in deep trouble right now.

AM: North Pole Ice Thinnest on Record: Study (2011)

But he would use the term. And so would many other alarmists. Despite the fact that the evidence for an ice free Arctic anytime soon simply isn’t there, they continue with the meme. Even the Met Office’s Chief Scientist, Julia Slingo, has dismissed the idea of an ice free Arctic as simply “not credible” -

Slingo also dismissed fears that the Arctic could be entirely free of sea ice in summer as soon as 2015. Between 2025 and 2030 would be the earliest date she would consider it possible, she said, and the Met Office’s latest models suggested 2040-60 as most likely. “Our expectation is certainly not in the next few years as you’ve heard from some evidence,” she said.

She also said that suggestions the volume of sea ice had already declined by 75% already were not credible. “We know there is something [happening on the thinning of sea ice] but it’s not as dramatic as those numbers suggest.”

Met Office: Arctic Sea Ice Loss Linked to Colder Drier Winters.

And what suggestions exactly did the Met Office’s Chief Scientist have in mind when she made the “not credible” comment? Could it, perhaps, have involved a – wait for it – an Arctic death spiral? Well as it turns out, yes it could -

Dr Maslowski’s model, along with his claim that the Arctic sea ice is in a “death spiral“, were controversial but Prof Wadhams, a leading authority on the polar regions, said the calculations had him “pretty much persuaded.”

Prof Wadhams said: “His [model] is the most extreme but he is also the best modeller around.

“It is really showing the fall-off in ice volume is so fast that it is going to bring us to zero very quickly. 2015 is a very serious prediction and I think I am pretty much persuaded that that’s when it will happen.”

Telegraph: Arctic Sea Ice ‘to Melt by 2015′ (2011)

You can see how this works: the alarmists come up with an arresting image that short-circuits rational thinking by frightening people with some dire image of a catastrophic event that’s happening somewhere far, far away which they can’t see themselves (it’s always far away, notice, the top of the world, the bottom of the ocean, etc). Then, using the time-honoured methods of propaganda, they keep relentlessly hammering the image home over and over and over again until the facts are no longer the main issue. So deeply has the image become ingrained in the public consciousness that believe will believe the lie of the Arctic death spiral over all other evidence.

More Classic Guardian Spin: Koalas “Threatened” by Global Warming & Development.

A recent news article from the Guardian Environment Network provides a textbook example of how environmental and ecological news is spun to link it it with global warming and make it appear as though every problem faced by wild animals is caused by modern capitalism.

The article, headlined “Climate Change Compounds Rising Threat to Koalas” starts off in the typically breathless angst-ridden voice of the modern environmentalist, warning us that

Koalas are now struggling to survive as habitat destruction caused by droughts and bushfires, land clearing for agriculture and logging, and mining and urban development conspire against this cuddly creature

Guardian: Climate Change Compounds Threat to Koalas

It then elaborates on the scary threat posed to these cuddly creatures with reference to some suitably scientific-sounding (but ultimately meaningless) numbers and statistics:

In the past decade, we have experienced the hottest temperatures on record followed by floods and cyclones. The koalas are highly susceptible to heat stress and dehydration,” University of Queensland koala expert Dr. Clive McAlpine told IPS.

Our climate envelope modelling found that koalas occur at a maximum temperature of 37.7 degrees centigrade. Across western Queensland and New South Wales, temperatures remained in the mid to high 40-degree centigrade (range) for consecutive days, pushing them beyond their climatic threshold.

Really? How have the managed to survive previous previous heatwaves, floods and cyclones for thousands of years then? Despite what the media would have you believe, there is nothing unusual in Australia’s recent droughts, or its floods.  Speak to anyone in Australia over fifty and they will be able to tell you stories about previous droughts and heatwaves that make the ones they’ve had recently seem insignificant.

To add to that, apparently increasing urban sprawl in Australia is being blamed for a dramatic decline in koala numbers in Queensland. Why did the koala cross the road? To escape suburban sprawl, apparently:

Koalas’ continuous move into urban areas makes them highly vulnerable to road (accidents) and attacks by dogs. In the rapidly developing region of southeast Queensland, the species has suffered a 60 percent decline in the past decade due to the combination of disease, dog attacks, but mostly collisions with cars,” Darryl Jones, deputy director of the Environmental Futures Centre at the Queensland-based Griffith University, told IPS.

Now Australia isn’t just a big country, it’s a massive country. It’s hard to believe that space is so restricted that development alone would lead to a 60% drop in the koala population. Indeed, with a population of around 4.5 million in a state that measures a mind-boggling 1,852,642 square kilometres, this seems extremely dubious to say the very least.

And here’s the beauty of spin: it’s only when you get to the end of the article, to the last two or three paragraphs in a surprisingly long story that the real reason for the decline is mentioned, as though it were no more than an incidental problem. After paragraph on paragraph blaming mining, development, climate change and all those other problems caused by wicked capitalists, we’re told that “Two other deadly threats to the koalas’ survival are chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, and the koala retrovirus (KoRV), an HIV-like virus”.

Oh really? You didn’t think that two fatal STDS, including the koala version of HIV might be worth mentioning earlier on as perhaps the prime suspect in the koalas’ decline?

Compare the Guardian’s spin to another article on the problem from the BBC. Evidently this story wasn’t selected for heavy rotation on its climate change alarmism schedule, so it’s received the scientific reporting treatment so far. The BBC headlines their report “Koala Chlamydia: the STD Threatening an Australian Icon”. They report that the disease is at “epidemic” levels and causes infertility and even death in koalas:

In people, chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. A different strain infects koalas, but it too can be spread sexually, and it’s causing a devastating epidemic. In some parts of Australia, koala infection rates are as high as 90%

BBC: Koala Chlamydia: the STD Threatening an Australian Icon

The BBC report also notes that the HIV epidemic is perhaps even more prevalent among koalas, with incidences perhaps nearing 100% according to raw field data:

And another threat comes in the form of a koala retrovirus, which – much like HIV in humans – suppresses a koala’s immune system. It is also having a devastating impact.

Paul Young, a virologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane says every koala he has tested in the northern part of the species’ range has been infected with the retrovirus. And, he says, the “invading” virus is gradually making its way south.

BBC: Koala Chlamydia: the STD Threatening an Australian Icon

The report doesn’t ignore the other problems faced by koalas. It observes that “It’s not just chlamydia that’s threatening koalas. Many are struck by cars, or attacked by dogs. Others are pushed off their land due to urban sprawl”. But given the obvious scale and severity of the two epidemics sweeping through the koala population, it places them in proper perspective, mentioning them as an incidental, but rightly devoting the bulk of the article to analysis and discussion of the real issues.

So by comparison, you can see what an unmitigated piece of spin the Guardian offering is. From the headline – “Climate Change Compounds Rising Threat to Koalas” – which makes an entirely theoretical and unproven link between two unrelated issues, to the relentless focus on what are at most tertiary problems affecting koalas, the whole article is 90% spin and only 10% straight reporting.

The facts are very, very clear: two epidemics are sweeping through the koala population, as epidemics do with all animals from time to time. Numbers are declining. From this, the Guardian somehow manages to wrench a tale of capitalist greed and exploitation that blames everyone from the mining companies to loggers to developers to just normal folks driving their cars. Along the way, truth becomes roadkill.

Watch Now: Spring-time Blizzards in Mediterranean

Because heavy snow in the Mediterranean  in Spring is a sure sign of those warmer winters we were warned global warming would bring, right?

The BBC reports that villages in Spain are being cut off by heavy snow as blizzards blanket large swathes of the country.

Watch footage here.

But don’t get the idea that this somehow disproves global warming. As Monbiot would say “that snow outside is what global warming looks like“. Of course it is.

Berkeley Student Gets a “Fail” for her Global Warming Essay.

Every now and again, magazines and papers will let some enthusiastic young writer loose on the burning issues of the day. Kind of a “voice of the future” thing. Of course, the essays submitted are almost always excruciating; full of wild generalisations, logical fallacies, and naive suggestions of the “Why don’t we just make everything better?” variety, as though no one had ever thought of that before. A recent op-ed in The Daily Californian by Cody Dunitz, a senior at UC Berkeley, provides an instructive glimpse into how the global warming propaganda campaign has succeeded in foisting some dubious claims on to unquestioning young students.

Cody’s thesis is that global warming presents an imminent threat to the food supply because – get this – global warming is making winters warmer. “Sure, it’s nice that it’s sunny and warm in the winter now,” she argues, “but global climate change is negatively affecting agriculture around the world”. And for Californians that means warm winters where pests aren’t killed off, according to Cody.

Fact Check: as the UN’s FAO reported recently, it is expecting a “record wheat harvest” this year, and notes that prices for grains and sugar are “plummeting” because of availability.

Fact Check: As The Huffington Post reported, Californians have been shivering through  “very unseasonable freezing temperatures”. Outside of heated university dorms, it was a cold winter for most of California.

She warns that one result of the warmer winters caused by global warming is increased pesticide use as farmers battle an increase in pests. These pesticides, she tells us, “can stay on food even once they have reached the grocery store, may cause people to become sick”.

Fact Check: Recent figures from California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation show that none of the samples of fruit and vegetables had dangerous levels of pesticide residue. In fact, most fruit and veg checked had “no detectable pesticide residues” at all! So even if you subscribe to the “run to the hills” branch of pesticide scaremongering, you can’t argue that there’s a problem when the latest liquid chromatography mass spectrometry techniques show no pesticide residue whatsoever. 

But (non-existent) pesticide residues are only one of Cody’s concerns. There’s the threat that global warming poses to the cherry supply for one. Oh yes. And avacodos, almonds, and even potatoes -

Do you like cherries? Well, get ready to kiss their juicy deliciousness goodbye. You see, cherries need time to chill in order to grow. And to chill, they of course need cold weather. Since temperatures have grown warmer, there has been less chill time for cherries. This means that cherries have not been growing as well. If this continues, it could severely deplete the cherry supply. And no cherries to grow means no cherries for us to eat . . .

In California alone, the amount of almonds, walnuts, grapes and avocados are predicted to decrease significantly because of climate change. And not only that, scientists say that the crop yield for almost every single crop grown in California’s Central Valley will plummet nearly 30 percent in the near future.

The Daily Californian: Fight Climate Change on a Local Level.

I’m not even sure what to say about this. Cherries are going to disappear because of global warming? Then how was it that last year was a “bumper harvest” for cherry growers in Queensland, Australia, where the average winter temperature is around 70 Fahrenheit? Some varieties of cherry need a chill in the winter, some don’t. But cherries are grown all around the world, even in semi-tropical areas which don’t have a “winter” to speak of at all

In response to the demise of the cherry, and the reduction of other crops by a third “in the near future” Cody says that there are no easy solutions. She recommends only buying local food rather than those “vine-ripened tomatoes from Mexico”.

Fact Check: Even the Worldwatch Institute notes that local food isn’t more environmentally friendly than food shipped in. This is because the final delivery from the producer or packer to the supermarket or store accounts for a very low percentage of greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production – around 4% according to a study by Christopher Weber and H. Scott Matthews, of Carnegie Mellon University.

So local food isn’t going to help, contrary to what our eager young correspondent asserts. But not to worry, because buying local food was only the first part of her prescription. The kind of action Cody really wants to encourage in her readers is “getting involved in your local climate change organization, educating yourself on agricultural policies, voting for change and emailing your congressional representative to let them know you care about our food”.

So, after all the wild claims, the unfounded assertions about disappearing cherries, after all that, the only real, tangible idea Ms Dunitz has is to join a local global warming group, “vote for change” (whatever could that mean?) and writing to politicians to tell them that you care about food (I’m sure they’ll be fascinated). In short, this is about pushing a political ideology under the guise of environmental urgency.

Don’t mistake me: I’m absolutely sure that Ms Dunitz earnestly believes that she’s advocating for the environment. What this undergraduate essay shows is the way in which global warming is a political and cultural ideology, not a scientific theory, for those who espouse concern over it. It’s become a meme, an idea that is self-replicating, being used to draw impressionable young people into a set of political beliefs and ideas which don’t stand up even judged by their own claims.

In summary, then, this is the result of allowing activism into academia and the classroom, of allowing organisations to push simplistic messages of environmental catastrophe to trusting children. Dunitz’s essays shows no critical thinking at all. There’s no questioning of what she’s obviously been told, or imbibed from pamphlets and websites of climate change groups, no grappling with the issues. Instead, there’s a loose handful of vague suggestions such as buying fair-trade bananas (from the Carribean or Africa one assumes, both thousands of miles away) and not tomatoes from Mexico, literally just across the border from California. More critical thinking needed, less unquestioning acceptance of what lobby groups and well-funded organisations spoon-feed you.

Coal Use Rockets in “Low Carbon” EU – Up By 1/3 in UK in Just ONE Year.

Startling new figures released recently by the British Government reveal that far from renewables providing the electricity for their much vaunted “Green Economy” it’s good old coal that has been providing the real electricity. Midwest Energy News reports that despite claims to have moved to renewables and cleaner gas, most of the EU is quietly moving back to coal in a big way, with coal use in some major countries up by almost a third in one year -

In Britain alone, the use of gas in power stations dropped 31 percent and the use of coal rose by the same amount from 2011 to 2012, driving a 4.5 percent increase in carbon emissions, according to figures released last week by the U.K. Department of Climate and Energy.

Midwest Energy News:  Coal Makes a Comeback in Europe.

This stealthy return to coal flies in the face of what the Greener-Than-Thou EU have been preaching to the rest of the world, but it is an undeniable fact, and one driven by the realisation that dramatic increases in the cost of electricity were driving industry into the ground.

Of course, outside the ivory towers of the EU parliament, staffed by the Grima Wormtongues of the Global Warming NGOs and their fantasies, the smart money has always known this would happen. The phrase “Money talks and bullsh** walks” has never been truer. As far back as 2007 market analysts Market Oracle were advising buying coal futures heavily. The more politicians talked about a renewable energy future, they said, the more you should buy coal -

The common misperception remains that the EU is replacing conventional power plants with renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. That’s just not the case; in fact, whenever you hear talk of the rapid growth in wind and solar power in the EU, you should be thinking about investing more in coal and natural gas. Paradoxically, growth in renewable power capacity spells more demand for conventional power plants.

Market Oracle: Coal the Next Energy Resource Boom.

The analyst shrewdly notes that the more the EU invests in renewable energy, the more its reliance on traditional fuels increases. The only difference is that rather than cheap, plentiful power, Europe – thanks to decades of subsidy and tens of billions of dollars invested in renewables – is struggling to keep the lights on and has energy prices that are threatening to drive business overseas, and causing deep resentment and hardship among normal people.

Indeed, as this realisation finally sinks in among the bureaucrats running the EU,  there has been frantic backtracking on the long-heralded momentum towards carbon taxes. Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s commissioner for climate action has been quietly sidelined, with the European Union’s energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, now calling the shots, in a desperate bid to avoid another recession caused by eye-wateringly high electricity prices. And Oettinger has made it very clear that despite what the EU might say in press releases, there will be no carbon tax in the EU -

For Europe to remain in the game, energy taxes must be held in check and no new taxes levied, said the European Union’s energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger.

Midwest Energy News:  Coal Makes a Comeback in Europe.

So, despite all the fanfare about Europe leading the way into the renewables future, the reality is that the EU has now in practice dropped the commitment to renewable energy and is moving heavily back to coal. As Europe continues to shiver through yet another bitterly cold winter that seemingly just will not end, politicians are mouthing Green platitudes, whilst buying coal, hand over fist.

In all this, there is, though, one bit of good news for beleaguered European politicians – the low cost of imported coal from America. Thanks to Obama’s promise to drive coal-fired power production “into the ground” in America, coal has never been so cheap, and Europe is snapping up American coal at rock-bottom bargain prices.

Liberal Racism? Anti Tea Party Facebook Group Uses Photoshopped Pic of African-American Protest for its Own Agenda.

I know politics in America is ever more partisan and fraught, but this is pretty damn low.

A popular Facebook group “Americans Against the Tea Party” (almost 300,000 “Likes”) is hawking a photo around which was apparently either  created by or uploaded to another popular group, “Kicking Ass for the Middle Class” (over 24,000 “Likes”). The image shows an African American group of men, with one holding a placard up promoting the “Occupy” message of the 99% versus the 1% -

Dishonesty in politics - using someone else's image to promote your own agenda.

Dishonesty in politics – using someone else’s image to promote your own agenda.

The text on the placard, whilst it passes a cursory glance long enough to read it, is plainly photoshopped. The placard is being held at a slight angle to the camera, yet the text is fully face on and too clear for a home made sign. It’s clear that the message on the placard has been crudely ‘shopped on to it.

And that’s what so distasteful about this whole thing. Whoever has done this has seized on the fact that the placard holder is an African American, and tailored the Occupy message, talking about how “the tree of life is dying” as though because this man is of African descent he thinks and speaks like a character from The Lion King. What this is, then, is the appropriation of an African American to pursue a resolutely white liberal agenda. It purports to show that the movement is embraced by all classes and colours, but it’s actually a cynical use of ethnicity to validate a political ideology.

Here’s the original image without the dishonest photoshopping -

"We cry every night," said Hercules Otieno, who held up a blank sign to protest the news blackout from Kenya

“We cry every night,” said Hercules Otieno, who held up a blank sign to protest the news blackout from Kenya

This is the original image from Minnesota MPR News with the original caption reproduced.  Mr Otieno and his friends were trying to draw attention to the plight of friends and families in Kenya. They were protesting at the lack of interest the mainstream media has shown in the deteriorating political situation there with people allegedly held without trial. They wanted to know why the media and the American President, Barack Obama, seemed to be silent on the situation in Kenya.

MPR reports the protester’s accounts of massacres and starvation, repression and illegal detention. It’s a distressing story, and one the media – and popular liberal Facebook groups for that matter – seem completely uninterested in.

So what do they do when they see this image of a man who is so distressed he weeps for his family and friends every night? They take that image and plaster their own agenda on top of it. To add insult to injury, they frame the protest in a patronising pastiche of African culture, as though all African Americans think like something out of Avatar.

Then they hawk it around Facebook, gleaning literally hundreds of shares and tens of thousands of views. Visit the pages and see how many commentators gleefully speculate on how “Faux News” might “spin” this image. All the time unaware that the image is dishonest and, let’s face it, frankly racist.

If this cynical misuse of an honest protest, and the hijacking of a man’s ethnicity and culture in pursuit of the liberal agenda annoys you, help get the message out there. Share this post.

Venn Diagram Shows Connections Between “Green Energy” and Administration

Helpful for understanding how the vast sums of money washing around Washington explain the huge “loans” to Solyndra and other non-businesses. Geke.us breaks it down for us.

Green energy lobbyists, investors, and speculators and their ties to the Obama and Clinton administrations.