Richard North, 05/01/2022  

Rooting around t'internet yesterday for an update on Arctic ice extent, I came across this article from 15 January 2018, headed: "We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says".

The Harvard scientist in question was professor James Anderson, best known for his work linking chlorofluorocarbons to the Ozone Hole. He was awarded Chicago's 2016 Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service in part for contributing science that led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, so he must be considered a person of prestige.

Said person is now reverently quoted in Wikipedia for declaring back in 2018 that: "The chance that there will be any permanent ice left in the Arctic after 2022 is essentially zero".

At that point, with him claiming that 75-80 percent of permanent ice had melted in the last 35 years, he posed the rhetorical question: "Can we lose 75-80 percent of permanent ice and recover?", answering the same with the blunt statement: "The answer is no".

The answer was in the negative, in part because of what we were patronisingly told, "scientists call feedbacks" - some of the ways the earth responds to warming.

Among those feedbacks, Anderson asserted, was the release of methane currently trapped in permafrost and under the sea, which he and his fellow travellers claim will exacerbate warming. Another was the old favourite, the "pending collapse of the Greenland ice sheet", which Anderson said would raise sea level by 7 metres (about 23 feet).

Despite prodding and poking though, the Greenland ice sheet has not obliged, which possibly explains why the attention has moved to the Antarctic, where the Thwaites "doomsday" Glacier has become the poster child for dire warnings of sea level rise.

Anyhow, the reason for my initial delving was a remarkable piece in our old friend, the Guardian headed: "Dam it: beavers head north to the Arctic as tundra continues to heat up", with the subtitle telling is: "Dammed rivers could accelerate climate crisis as creatures move into previously inhospitable areas".

What struck me about this article was the sheer perversity of the newspaper. Here we are with the Arctic ice extent at an 18-year high, with low-temperature records in Siberia, Scandinavia and Alaska being broken, amid reports of "brutal sub-zero cold", about which the paper had been totally silent. Instead, all it could do is wibble about beavers and melting tundra.

Here, I don't think it's untoward to suggest that the Guardian's priorities, if not its timing, are a little skewed. One might also posit that there was an amount of selectivity in its reporting, somewhat favouring the "climate change" narrative.

Actually, we don't have to speculate on this – as regards the Guardian or the legacy media in general. As the Independent helpfully tells us, in general usage the term "global warning" is dying out in preference to the words "crisis" and "emergency" in climate-related reports.

Researchers from the Language learning platform Babbel and the Media and Climate Change Observatory have analysed language trends and terminology around climate issues used by UK newspapers from January 2006 to October 2021.

They found the term "climate catastrophe" has been used three times more in 2021 than it was in 2020, "climate emergency" is now mentioned on average 126 times per month – 63 times more than before 2018 – and use of the phrase "climate change" has fallen 27 percent between March 2017 and September 2021. The term "global warming", meanwhile, is dying out. The term was used only 441 times in October 2021, a fall of 40 percent against its peak in September 2009.

This, incidentally, applies across the board, not just the warmist tomes. Newspapers analysed include The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, The Guardian and The Observer, The Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mirror and The Sunday Mirror, The Times and The Sunday Times, and The Sun and News of the World/The Sun On Sunday.

Basically, the entire print media has given up on any pretence of objectivity and bought into the "crisis" Kool Aid. This, of course, we knew. Papers don't sell news, these days – they sell agendas. And, despite their outward political leanings, they are wedded to alarmism.

Returning to the Guardian and its beavers, its sense of timing seems all the more bizarre when we find that the report is basically a rehash of a story first published in 2018 and then updated in 2020.

Then, however, the lead scientist - Ken Tape, professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks – was somewhat diffident about his findings. He thought that climate change was "definitely playing a role" but he and his researchers did not rule out the idea that beavers were returning to an area they had inhabited in the past, having been wiped out by trapping in the 19th and 20th centuries. Both of these things, said Tape, could explain their expansion north.

Ironically, when beavers build their dams, they are slowing down streams and flooding the surrounding land. That introduces a new source of heat to the area, adding to the gradual decline of permafrost. Additionally, creating a pond where there was none before creates thermokarsts. Beavers then tend to flock to these thermokarsts, compounding the impact they were already making on the landscape.

"What we see is that beavers seem to be accelerating the effects of climate change when they make these ponds", Tape said back in 2020. "And if it were just a few dozen ponds, it wouldn't be a big deal. But what we're actually seeing is thousands of new ponds over the recent decades".

So much for the science but, by the time the Guardian gets its hands on the story, there is no doubt that the beavers have ventured north because of the increase in temperature, allowing only the combination with a reduction in fur trapping over the past century.

Even in their 2021 update, however – on which the Guardian report seems to be based, Tape et al still assert that: "It remains unclear whether beaver colonisation of the Arctic is occurring due to climate change ameliorating habitat or a decrease in trapping pressure, or some combination of both".

Fieldwork, the team says, is underway to characterise the impacts of beaver ponds on aquatic and terrestrial Arctic ecosystems, starting with hydrology and permafrost, and continuing downstream to methane flux, fish populations, and aquatic food webs. "As a result of these efforts", they write, "most of the questions surrounding beaver engineering in the Arctic are presently being examined but are unanswered".

Interestingly, another unanswered question is why, since 2012, there have been no new Arctic records for minimum summer ice extent, to the extent that researchers are hypothesising about "negative feedback on loss of Arctic sea ice during the summer". That rather tells you something about the warmists, who seem almost distraught at the "failure" of the ice to disappear.

Nothing of this need trouble the Guardian though. In its simplistic little world, the tundra is obligingly melting because of climate change, causing the beavers to romp northwards to make their new homes. If ever the newspaper was to confront the reality, it might have a nervous breakdown. As it is, Moonbat cries "most days now", so I suppose we are making some progress.

Also published on Turbulent Times.

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