The Climate Change Hoax, Hoax (Part 1)

hurricaneBy William Thomas –

(May 29, 2012)  Thanks to an outspoken American Senator, the world is being set straight on climate change. Working tirelessly to block Al Gore’s Capitol Hill celebration as part of a seven-continent “Live Earth” concert tour intended to rally the planet in cheerfully addressing runaway global warming, Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe speaks with the conviction of a Holocaust denier when he calls climate change “The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people!”

A least since the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, WMD in Iraq, the Iranian threat, Bush’s Terror War On Terror, and the constitutional curtain-closing Patriot Acts 1, 2 and 3. [The Hill Mar 28/07]

Apparently unafraid of facing future Nuremberg-style environmental trials, Climate Change Deniers such as the National Science Teachers Association have refused 50,000 free DVDs of Gore’s Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” in fear of alienating heavy corporate funders like Exxon and the American Petroleum Institute, which publishes expensive ads in newspapers ridiculing melting glaciers, while also helpfully providing “teaching aids” such as coal coloring books and classroom videos asserting, “You Can’t Be Cool Without Fuel.”

That means you, Mr. and Mrs. Penguin.

Still, it’s hard to debate a destabilizing 10,000-foot thick glacier. With sea levels and melting polar ice-sheets already at the upper limits of 30 year projections, another 500,000 square miles of Arctic sea ice melted, and Alaska’s glaciers threatening to turn off the winter-warming Gulf Stream by decanting more than 13 trillion gallons of meltwater into the world ocean each year, and Greenland’s fast-melting 2,000 kilometres of solid ice increasing its melting rate over the past five years from a metre a year to a metre a month, and polar bears drowning a hundred miles offshore while looking for ice floes retreating another 300 miles out, and thousands of Canadian harp seal pups experiencing 100% mortality from the same lack of ice, and with the first month of 2007 3.4°F hotter than the any January ever recorded, and the snowpack serving drinking water to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest shrinking toward bare rock, and more than a quarter of the American West in either severe or exceptionally severe drought and Arizona cactus dying from lack of water… it is undeniably clear that the Inhofe is right: the planet can’t be heating up! [Reuters Mar 23/07; CBC Aug 3; Aug 20/04; BBC Radio 4 Aug 7/05; Independent Oct 2/05; Knight Ridder News Service July31/03; New York Times Mar 10/06;;]

On the other hand, an 18-inch rise in sea level would see salt water flowing into the Sacramento River Delta, destroying the drinking water for 23 million Californians. A 20-foot ocean level rise will put half of Florida under water— including Miami, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville—along with the new WTC memorial in Manhattan, and much of Washington DC, where Senator Inhofe is busily blocking climate change-inspired discourse, dancing and music. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer Mar 11/07; BBC July28/04]

In more than 180 countries, one out of every ten people on the planet could soon be chuckling over the climate change hoax while swimming inland. Fortunately for U.S. legislators like Inhofe, only one of these countries is the United States. The rest—China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, Egypt, Thailand and the Philippines have mostly expendable non-white populations who don’t buy much stuff from the United States, which today primarily produces bullshit, weapons and wars. [Inter Press Service Mar 28/07]

Meanwhile, the rapidly melting and slip-sliding Greenland ice sheet does not know it is a hoax and is set to raise world sea levels 20 to 30 feet, while far to the south, inland Western Antarctic glaciers uncorked by the calving Larson ice shelf are rushing to add another 20-feet or so to the rising sea level hoax. As for the melting Eastern Antarctic… think about relocating to a mountaintop with a dock in your front yard.

Onboard a planet that is much more Ocean than Earth, the gigantic saltwater buffer covering 70% of its surface is absorbing half of our carbon folly every day. This is not so good, because all this hot water is helping to create vast fishless Dead Zones off the coast of California and Oregon every year for the last five years. Dead zones are also blooming in the waters off Chile, Namibia and South Africa. Nearly 50% of the world’s fisheries are in these areas. [BBC News Feb 17/07]

Even worse, in contributing to a 25 million ton carbon deposit into the One World Ocean every day, we are seeing a resulting carbonic reaction that is rapidly turning this whole big watery wilderness acidic. [ Aug 13/04; Agence France-Presse July 20/05]

And those 25 million daily acid-making tons are increasing rapidly.

Meanwhile, the global warming hoax so stridently opposed by Senator Inhofe means that temperatures in Eastern Europe are not averaging 8° Fahrenheit above normal, even though they are. Canada on average is more than 5 degrees warmer than normal, and hoax-ridden Siberia is 9°F hotter than usual. [Agence France-Presse Feb 16/07; AP Feb 16/07]

This is a scream because the world’s largest frozen peat bog stretches for a million square kilometres across western Siberia’s once permanently frosty permafrost. Warming faster than almost anywhere else on Earth, this time bomb tundra contains several hundred billion tons of methane that—if thawed by a few more cheap flights to Mexico—could be burped like a giant cow fart into an atmosphere already dangerously overloaded with fast-food bovine flatulence. [ Aug 11/05]

Thing is, each teeny molecule of methane released into the atmosphere destroys millions of sunshielding ozone molecules. And despite the hoax of ozone layer depletion, last year’s 11 million square miles ozone hole over the Antarctic was the biggest ever recorded, with local ozone absence often reaching 99%. No more ozone means no more plankton means no more oxygen and no more fishies. [National Science Foundation Press Release Dec 17/03;; Agence France-Presse Dec 26/06]

Another thing is, one molecule of methane also traps 21 times more heat than a measly molecule of carbon dioxide. [EPA]

Suddenly—hopefully—that next drive to Burger King may not seem as urgent as leaving the key unturned in the aptly-named ignition. Because about another two or three degrees rise in global temperatures could release more heat-trapping tundra methane all at once than all the carbon released over the past 100 years. [Baltimore Sun Dec 16/04]

But as Inhofe urges, relax and throw another log on the fire. The good news is that the latest alarming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections showing an “upper range” temperature increase of about 11°F by this century’s end based on carbon burning trends in places like the USA, Canada and China turn out to be baloney.

The bad news is that 1,200 of the world’s best atmospheric scientists at the IPCC forgot to factor in land-based methane releases, which are “emptying at an alarming rate,” according to Chris Freeman of the University of Wales. Apparently uninformed that methane levels already rising three-times faster than CO2 are a hoax, a frightened Freeman exclaims, “It’s a vicious circle. The problem gets worse and worse, faster and faster” as more methane heats the atmosphere releasing more methane and so on. [National Science Foundation Press Release Dec 17/03; Aug 11/05]

Even with the terrible tundra factored in, panicked oceanographers are warning that just a few degrees more ocean warming could release another 2,000 billion tons of methane gas into the atmosphere. That’s a lot. In fact it’s enough to trigger a sudden “destabilization event” even worse than a jilted spouse.

We won’t like it. A NASA study confirmed that 55 million years ago a similarly tremendous underwater methane burp instantly heated Earth’s atmosphere by up to 13° F within a few decades. This messed up a lot of finned, feathered and furred lives, disrupting climate worldwide for more than 100,000 years.

Some 200 million years before that, another series of methane releases came close to wiping out all life on a lone space colony called Earth. As oxygen levels plummeted and organic life teeter-tottered on the brink of extinction, more than 94% of marine species headed for off-planet dimensions. It took between 25 and 100 million years for coral reefs and forests to regrow into their former diversity.

For those of us who don’t like waiting for anything, such an interruption could be extremely aggravating.

These Big Extinction Events—and other periodic warming and cooling episodes—are what people like Inhofe and your neighbors and coworkers mean when they say that climate change is “cyclical”. They’re right. But not in the way they mean.

For example, about 12,700 years ago average temperatures in North Atlantic region abruptly plummeted nearly 5°C and remained that way for 1,300 years. The Younger Dryas is named after a cold-loving Arctic wildflower that flourished during this era in the US and European regions, where icebergs extended as far south as the coast of present day Portugal.

Another abrupt warming took place about 1,000 years ago that allowed Norse voyagers to settle a northern green land. Three centuries later, the Norse abandoned their Greenland settlements when the climate chilled abruptly—with even more profound agricultural, economic, and political impacts in Europe. In the USA, the American revolution was nearly aborted by rapid climate shift as Washington struggled to get his thinly-clad troops across the icebound Delaware.

“Rapid changes in ocean circulation are linked to these abrupt climate changes,” Robert Gagosian, President and Director Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution told the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2003. “A growing body of evidence demonstrating linkages among ocean-related climate shifts, ‘megadroughts’ and precipitous collapses of civilizations, including the Akkadian empire in Mesopotamia 4,200 years ago, the Mayan empire in central America 1,500 years ago, and the Anasazi in the American Southwest in the late 13th century.”

Now a lot more people could experience that excitement again. In May 2005, climate change researcher Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, aimed sonar upwards beneath the Arctic ice cap from Royal Navy submarines and correlated ships’ measurements across the Greenland Sea to detect that one of the two “heat pumps” driving the Gulf Stream had weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.

“Until recently we would find giant ‘chimneys’ in the sea where columns of cold, dense water were sinking from the surface to the seabed 3,000 metres below, but now they have almost disappeared,” Wadhams said. “As the water sank it was replaced by warm water flowing in from the south, which kept the circulation going. If that mechanism is slowing, it will mean less heat reaching Europe.”

Today, the powerful Gulf Stream that bathes Britain and northern Europe in warm waters conveyed from the tropics has slowed by 30% in the last dozen years. According to UK newspapers, “The Gulf Stream delivers the equivalent of 1 million power stations-worth of energy to northern Europe, propping up temperatures by 10C in some regions. Ireland, Britain and northwestern Europe lie on the same latitude as Siberia.” The shut down of this Gulf Stream “radiator” could lead to a century or more of no frost-free days on the northern European, UK and US Atlantic seaboards—at a time when the end of cheap oil sends fuel oil and food transport costs skyrocketing. [Sunday Times (Ireland) May 8/05; Guardian Dec 1/05]

While unusually violent solar flares are not linked to these major climatic events, cold northern meltwater and methane releases caused by mass volcanic eruptions are. On a Gaian world driven by intricately interconnected feedback mechanisms to maintain narrow margins of mammalian habitability, volcanism may somehow be cyclical.

But humans are cynical. And our denial is much more dangerous. As U.S. government geologist John Atcheson observes, “Humans appear to be capable of emitting carbon dioxide in quantities comparable to the volcanic activity that started these chain reactions.” According to the U.S. Geological Survey, burning fossil fuels in cars, jets, ships, wood stoves and power plants releases more than 150 times the amount of volcanic carbon dioxide—”the equivalent of nearly 17,000 additional volcanoes the size of Hawaii’s Kilauea.” [Baltimore Sun Dec 16/04]

Inhofe says that more than 700 million cars and trucks running their motors an eggshell-thin atmosphere as enclosed as any garage are not affecting anything. [Independent Dec 6/03; Globe and Mail Apr11/98]

Atcheson, says, “Once these methane releases really get cooking, it’s likely to play out all the way.” [Independent Dec 6/03]

Part 2 of this article will be posted tomorrow.

Posted by at May 29, 2012
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