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Because we never used to have icebergs

26 May 2021 | OP ED Watch

Guess what? “Iceberg found off glacier”. But naturally NBC makes it about climate, by asserting that the normal is unusual. “It’s not uncommon for an ice shelf to shed, and calving events occur naturally as these sprawling frozen platforms advance and contract. In recent decades, however, scientists have said climate change is causing worrisome changes across the Antarctic region. Global warming can, for instance, accelerate an ice shelf’s retreat and cause it to collapse, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.” Notice the air of certainty buttressed by vague innuendo. Not a good look. But all too typical nowadays; journalists no longer argue, they assert as preamble, phrases like “many of the world’s biggest challenges today, like Covid and climate change” in order to argue that while technical solutions would be nice, “the bigger question is when political leaders and voters will decide to prioritize the fight against climate change.”

Not as long as they keep discovering you’re making stuff up. For instance, in NBC’s fine print we discover that there’s no rational reason to link the berg to climate change. “While A-76 is huge, it’s only about one-third the size of the biggest iceberg in recorded history. That designation belongs to an iceberg named B-15 that calved off of Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf 21 years ago. The B-15 iceberg covered more than 4,200 square miles when it broke away, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.”

So there you have a typical example of how something that gets hyped into proof that the ice is melting, the seas are rising and we’re all going to die is in fact a perfectly normal event of a sort we know was happening back in the cool, comfy 20th century. And people told that Antarctica calving big icebergs is an unprecedented example of something routine might start telling pollsters yeah yeah sure it’s a crisis now go away, then ignoring it when they vote.

To solve this problem activists need to find a little humility. Because increasingly they seem to have forgotten how to argue, or read. We recently received a perky note from someone at ClimateScience chirping “We are a London-based charity, working on making climate education as fun and reliable as possible. I just stumbled upon your youtube channel and was truly inspired by your videos and the content you have to offer. And I hope you get to encourage youtube watchers to learn about these important topics of research! I’m in charge of a few tasks related to the ClimateScience Olympiad (see https://climate-science.com/olympiad/). It’s a global competition to find solutions to climate change, and the finalists will gather at the UN Climate Summit 2021 (COP26).”

Uh, we won’t be there. As anyone who had really stumbled upon our YouTube channel and been inspired by it would surely know. It’s just become inconceivable to them that anyone could disagree with them, which makes it very hard to come up with plausible, non-insulting ideas about why someone might do such a thing.

By the way, speaking of the UN, it recently extended its deadline for the UN Global Climate Action Awards. They say it’s “Due to popular demand” though Eric Worrall wonders if not enough people showed up “to share with the world your zero point energy device, or your touching story of how you grew your own pickles in a bed of recycled solar panels.” But you only had until May 9 to save the world, so it’s too late. But if you aspire to take our place at the UN Climate Summit, ClimateScience’s toolkit is available for download here so you can help a child of colour hug the entire Earth. QED.

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