Unable to win the debate in the court of public opinion, climate activists are increasingly calling for the imprisonment of climate realists. The latest example is an article in The Carbon Brief titled “How climate change misinformation spreads online.” The authors, who are all University of Exeter professors, advocate fines and imprisonment for people publishing “climate misinformation” online. They justify their call for imprisonment by claiming tremendous harm from “misleading information that is created and spread with intent to deceive.”
That’s one take, another take is that those who publish what the Left deems as “misinformation” are actually publishing what might be dubbed “inconvenient truths.” The 2006 film by Al Gore of the same name is a case in point. Gore, not being particularly good at details, published a boatload of misinformation in that film, and social media responded to correct the record. In one scene Gore used an animated clip of a polar bear in danger of drowning, trying to get onto a tiny ice flow made smaller, presumably by global warming. Gore cited this as the new normal of drowning polar bears. The reality? Scientists documented one drowned polar bear at sea after an intense storm, something that hasn’t been seen since. According to an Associated Press article:
“A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.”
Social media was the first to point out problems with Gore’s polar bear claims, and they were proven right.
Then there’s the claim Gore made about Mt. Kilimanjaro losing its ice cap due to “global warming.” Again, social media was the first to point out that what was really happening was a consequence of deforestation around the base of the mountain making less water vapor available by the process of evapotranspiration – trees releasing water into the atmosphere. Without as much water vapor aiding replenishing snows, the ice simply dried up like old ice cubes in a freezer, a process known as sublimation.
And finally, Gore made the bold claim in 2009 that the Arctic ice cap might be gone in five years. Again, social media was the first to point out the problems with this claim. To this day, the Arctic ice cap remains, and Gore no longer references any of those claims he once made.
If it weren’t for social media, we’d still be hearing about these claims. The mainstream media choose not to subject alarmist climate claims to even cursory analysis, and investigative reporting is virtually non-existent. Yet, because social media does investigate and fact-check, pushing against a group-think narrative and exposing the lies and real misinformation surrounding the climate scare, climate alarmists have to fight back using dirty tricks like labeling social media authors as if they were radical enemies of the state, worthy of imprisonment in the gulag.
“… I believe Anthony Watts should be frogmarched to The Hague as well. No question, in my mind. In fact, I find the idea of a defense of his actions ethically reprehensible.”
It gets worse. An ugly theatrical play, called Kill Climate Deniers, was even created in Australia about the issue.
The bottom line? Imprisonment of political dissidents has been a common theme with repressive regimes going back to the beginning of history. When those seeking power can’t convince the populace of the merits of their ideas, they start putting people who disagree in jail, hoping that fear will keep the rest in line. Fortunately, we live in a country where free speech is guaranteed by the Constitution.
But, should the time ever come when I’m going to be imprisoned for my viewpoints, I won’t go quietly, and neither will the thousands of independent thinkers on social media.
We continue to hear warming horror stories coming from the island of New Zealand, and the socialist by sales pitch how “climate change is the biggest challenge of our time“.
Yet this doesn’t seem to be the case in New Zealand. For example, we learned from Electroverse here that the Pacific island country “just recorded its coldest June temperature in 5 years”.
Moreover, when we examine NASA GISS data, we uncover where all the warming rumors come from: alterations to the recorded historical data.
The following chart shows the data from Hokitika Aerodome, going back more 130 years (It’s the only NASA station that has data going back over 100 years). Plotted are the unadjusted Version 3 data and the Version 4 unadjusted:
Not for the first time, Facebook have acted on the request of a fake Factcheck from climate activists.
Readers may recall a similar occurrence a few months ago, when Facebook objected to an article about the Australian bushfires. which originated from the NSW firefighters association. As with this one, Facebook were acting upon a “Factcheck” from an outfit called Climate Feedback.
As I showed at the time, the “Factcheck” was totally erroneous. At the time, I wrote to Climate Feedback and asked them to retract, as this was the only way Facebook were prepared to reverse their objection. I received no reply.
No surprise then that the censorship of Schellenberger this time is the result of a “Factcheck” from the same Climate Feedback group.
Mike Schellenberger gives a lot more detail in his twitter feed, linked above.
This updated blog post of mine from last year is as pertinent now as it was then: it’s a fully-referenced rebuttal to the misleading ‘facts’ so often presented this time of year to support the notion that polar bears are being harmed due to lack of summer sea ice. Polar Bears International developed ‘Arctic Sea Ice Day’ (15 July) to promote their skewed interpretation of polar bear science at the height of the Arctic melt season. This year I’ve add a ‘Polar Bears and the Arctic Food Chain‘ graphic, which readers are free to download and share. For further information, see “The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened“.
Summer sea ice loss is finally ramping up: first year is disappearing, as it has done every year since ice came to the Arctic millions of years ago. But critical misconceptions, fallacies, and disinformation abound regarding Arctic sea ice and polar bear survival. Ahead of Arctic Sea Ice Day (15 July), here are 10 fallacies that teachers and parents especially need to know about.
As always, please contact me if you would like to examine any of the references included in this post. These references are what make my efforts different from the activist organization Polar Bears International. PBI virtually never provide references within the content it provides, including material it presents as ‘educational’. Links to previous posts of mine that provide expanded explanations, images, and additional references are also provided.
In many regions – including Western Hudson Bay, Wrangel Island, and Franz Josef Land – pregnant females that will give birth on land in December come ashore in summer and stay until their newborn cubs are old enough to return with them to the ice the following spring. See Andersen et al. 2012; Ferguson et al. 2000; Garner et al. 1994; Jonkel et al. 1978; Harington 1968; Kochnev 2018; Kolenosky and Prevett 1983; Larsen 1985; Olson et al. 2017; Richardson et al. 2005; Stirling and Andriashek 1992.
Ten fallacies and disinformation about sea ice
1. ‘Sea ice is to the Arctic as soil is to a forest‘. False: this all-or-nothing analogy is a specious comparison. In fact, Arctic sea ice is like a big wetland pond that dries up a bit every summer, where the amount of habitat available to sustain aquatic plants, amphibians and insects is reduced but does not disappear completely. Wetland species are adapted to this habitat: they are able to survive the reduced water availability in the dry season because it happens every year. Similarly, sea ice will always reform in the winter and stay until spring. During the two million or so years that ice has formed in the Arctic, there has always been ice in the winter and spring (even in warmer Interglacials than this one). Moreover, I am not aware of a single modern climate model that predicts winter ice will fail to develop over the next 80 years or so. See Amstrup et al. 2007; Durner et al. 2009; Gibbard et al. 2007; Polak et al. 2010; Stroeve et al. 2007.
3. Ice algae is the basis for all Arctic life. Only partially true because plankton also thrives in open water during the Arctic summer, which ultimately provides food for the fish species that ringed and bearded seals eat during the summer, which fattens the seals up before the long Arctic winter (as the graphic below shows).
Recent research has shown that less ice in summer has improved ringed and bearded seal health and survival over conditions that existed in the 1980s (when there was a shorter ice-free season and fewer fish to eat): as a consequence, abundant seal populations have been a boon for the polar bears that depend on them for food in early spring. For example, despite living with the most profound decline of summer sea ice in the Arctic polar bears in the Barents Sea around Svalbard are thriving, as are Chukchi Sea polar bears – both contrary to predictions made in 2007 that resulted in polar bears being declared ‘threatened’ with extinction under the Endangered Species Act. See Aars 2018; Aars et al. 2017; Amstrup et al. 2007; Arrigo and van Dijken 2015; Crawford and Quakenbush 2013; Crawford et al. 2015; Crockford 2017, 2019; Frey et al. 2018; Kovacs et al. 2016; Lippold et al. 2019; Lowry 2016; Regehr et al. 2018; Rode and Regehr 2010; Rode et al. 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018.
4. Open water in early spring as well as summer ice melt since 1979 are unnatural and detrimental to polar bear survival. False: melting ice is a normal part of the seasonal changes in the Arctic. In the winter and spring, a number of areas of open water appear because wind and currents rearrange the pack ice – this is not melt, but rather normal polynya formation and expansion. Polynyas and widening shore leads provide a beneficial mix of ice resting platform and nutrient-laden open water that attracts Arctic seals and provides excellent hunting opportunities for polar bears. The map below shows Canadian polynyas and shore leads known in the 1970s: similar patches of open water routinely develop in spring off eastern Greenland and along the Russian coast of the Arctic Ocean. See Dunbar 1981; Grenfell and Maykut 1977; Hare and Montgomery 1949; Smith and Rigby 1981; Stirling and Cleator 1981; Stirling et al. 1981, 1993.
5. Climate models do a good job of predicting future polar bear habitat. False: My recent book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened, explains that the almost 50% decline in summer sea ice that was not expected until 2050 actually arrived in 2007, where it has been ever since (yet polar bears are thriving). That is an extraordinarily bad track record of sea ice prediction. Also, contrary to predictions made by climate modelers, first year ice has already replaced much of the multi-year ice in the southern and eastern portion of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, to the benefit of polar bears. See also ACIA 2005; Crockford 2017, 2019; Durner et al. 2009; Hamilton et al. 2014; Heide-Jorgensen et al. 2012; Perovich et al. 2018; Stern and Laidre 2016; Stroeve et al. 2007; SWG 2016; Wang and Overland 2012.
9. Winter sea ice has been declining since 1979, putting polar bear survival at risk. Only partially true: while sea ice in winter (i.e. March) has been declining gradually since 1979 (see graph below from NOAA), there is no evidence to suggest this has negatively impacted polar bear health or survival, as the decline has been quite minimal. The sea ice chart at the beginning of this post shows that in 2020 there was plenty of ice remaining in March to meet the needs of polar bears and their primary prey (ringed and bearded seals), despite 2019 being the 11th lowest since 1979 (and the highest since 2013).
10. Experts say that with 19 different polar bear subpopulations across the Arctic, there are “19 sea ice scenarios playing out“ (see also here), implying this is what they predicted all along. False: In order to predict the future survival of polar bears, biologists at the US Geological Survey in 2007 grouped polar bear subpopulations with similar sea ice types (which they called ‘polar bear ecoregions,’ see map below). Their predictions of polar bear survival were based on assumptions of how the ice in these four sea ice regions would change over time (with areas in green and purple being similarly extremely vulnerable to effects of climate change). However, it turns out that there is much more variation within and between regions than they expected and more differences in responses to summer sea ice loss than predicted: contrary to predictions, the Barents Sea has had a far greater decline in summer ice extent than any other region, and both Western and Southern Hudson Bay have had relatively little (see #7). See Amstrup et al. 2007; Atwood et al. 2016; Crockford 2017, 2019, 2020; Durner et al. 2009; Lippold et al. 2019; Regehr et al. 2016. My latest book, The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened, explains why this prediction based on sea ice ecoregions failed so miserably.
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