Tuesday, February 14th 2012, 9:14 AM EST
A study published in Nature last week has found that the effects of climate change on Himalayan glaciers have been overstated. But rather than facing up to their alarmism, those who have been guilty of exaggeration remain as unreflective as ever. Perhaps they are intent on continuing to make political and moral capital out of the possibility of climate catastrophe.
The researchers behind the study recorded the progress of ice caps and glaciers throughout the world over an eight-year period in order to estimate their contribution to sea-level rise. The scientists were reportedly‘stunned’ by their findings: the Himalayan glaciers weren’t as sensitive to climate change as had been previously thought. Nonetheless, the message has not changed. ‘People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before’, they said.
The researchers claim that, in spite of the non-melting Himalayan glaciers, the rate at which ice throughout the world is melting remains a cause for worry because sea levels are still rising. But then sea levels have been rising for all of recorded history and for thousands of years before. Even at the current rate of rising, global sea levels will be just 30 centimetres higher in a century’s time – an increase that would be dwarfed by a modest wave on a beach. It’s hardly the stuff of disaster movies.
Among the litany of claims about climate change, sea-level rise is one of the most tangible. But a sober reading of the literature put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does not support the alarmist message or the claim that immediate and drastic action is needed to mitigate climate change. Of course, that’s not to say that climate change isn’t a problem, but rather that it’s not as urgent as often claimed. It’s a problem that could be solved in good time and without the kind of reorganisation of the world that environmentalists demand.
But because this reality doesn’t suit the policies environmentalists want to bring about, more dramatic images are constantly called for. Greens have long traded in icy icons to advance their cause. For example, in his 2006 Oscar-winning doc, An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore warned about the peaks of Kilimanjaro becoming ice-free. In fact, there was good evidence that the disappearance had been taking place since the nineteenth century, and had nothing at all to do with us driving cars - as implied in the film.
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