Climate cranks and the man in the moon

How shall we name them, those who protest loudly against the reality of global warming and the need to do anything about it? Some call them sceptics, but they are not true sceptics. They never change their minds. They like to pretend that denialist is a vile reference to the holocaust, but it is apt. Contrarian is accurate, but doesn’t roll off the tongue. Delusionist is another good one, coined by John Quiggin, for they do their best to manufacture delusions in the minds of men, but it is another long word.

I am a great believer in short words, and so for Hot Topic I adopted the term climate crank to describe all those people covered by the terms above. I had thought I might claim some originality, but that seems impossible on the interweb. There’s a marvelous post about the Unified theory of the crank at denialism blog from last month.

My favourite NZ-based climate crank is Ken Ring, the moon man. His world view is so far out of the ordinary that the lads at the NZ Climate Science Coalition haven’t enrolled him, but they do link to him from their site. Here’s some of his wisdom from his current (April 29) weather e-zine:

The continents have also drifted around, shifting the positions of both poles, with the result that all continents in their geological past have gone through alternating regimes of desert, jungle forest, and glaciation. For example why there is oil in the Middle East is because the Sahara Desert was once the Sahara Forest. Two interglacials ago Antarctic was 5C warmer than today. 20,000 years ago the south pole was near Perth and Antarctica was still forested and had human occupation. Western Australia was then covered with snow. At this time the North Pole was not far from Chicago, an area referred to by geologists as the Illinoisian Ice Cap. The snow then reached right to Mexico.

That’s right. 20,000 years ago Antarctica was forested and people lived there, and the South Pole was near Perth. Not content with rewriting the art of weather forecasting, he seems to be embarking on the whole of the earth sciences. Classic crank.

Of catheters and climate

It’s tough in Bangkok. There’s a deadline to meet, a summary for policymakers to agree on, and a lot of arguing to do. Reuters AlertNet puts an interesting spin on events as delegates struggle to finalise the IPCC Working Group III report:

At the Bangkok meeting, governments have proposed hundreds of amendments to the main document, a 24-page summary for policymakers dealing with the science and estimated costs of curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
“If you try to debate the thing word by word, nuance by nuance among 180 people, then you just don’t get anywhere. So the strategy is to push these things into small groups and then have the small groups report back,

NZX to launch carbon trading market in 2008

The New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX) has announced that it will launch a voluntary emissions trading market in 2008. The new market will be called TZ1, referring to NZ’s position in the “first

Arctic sea ice melting faster than expected

Arctic sea ice is melting faster than modelling (and the IPCC) predicts, the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) reports.

The shrinking of summertime ice is about thirty years ahead of the climate model projections,

Landcorp lambasted

According to the NZ Herald, Landcorp, the country’s biggest farmer and a state owned enterprise, has done nothing to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and has not even begun considering how the problem might be addressed. [Link]

Reviewing the company’s performance, Parliament’s primary produce subcommittee were surprised to discover that the company had taken no steps to establish its own carbon footprint, or consider how it might go about reducing emissions. Landcorp has been enthusiastically felling trees in the central North Island – 25,000 ha of forest is planned for dairy and pastoral conversion over the next 20 years – turning carbon sinks into methane emitters. It apparently believes that the drive for any change has to come from its customers and consumers, but the shareholders have a say too. If Michael Cullen and Trevor Mallard (the shareholding ministers) are going to pay more than lip service to making NZ carbon neutral, they might want to have a word with their old friend and Landcorp chairman-designate, Jim Sutton. Perhaps they could send him the summary for policymakers from the IPCC’s mitigation report when it comes out at the end of this week.