Polar opposites

Interesting reading: on the one hand, Christopher, Lord Monckton, Britain’s most famous climate crank, is exposed as, well, something of a crank in a profile in The Observer, while James Lovelock comes on a bit strong in the Times Online.

Monckton:

‘Well,’ he says, breezily, ‘for a few years, the temperature will continue to rise, but nowhere near as fast as the alarmists would wish it to rise. Then solar physicists suggest that in the next solar cycle but one, and a solar cycle is about 10.6 years, there will be a considerable cooling of the Sun. And the panic will disappear.’ Hey presto.

Lovelock:

If you want to get some idea of what much of the Earth might look like in 50 years’ time then, says James Lovelock, get hold of a powerful telescope or log onto Nasa’s Mars website. That arid, empty, lifeless landscape is, he believes, how most of Earth’s equatorial lands will be looking by 2050. A few decades later and that same uninhabitable desert will have extended into Spain, Italy, Australia and much of the southern United States. “We are on the edge of the greatest die-off humanity has ever seen,â€? said Lovelock. “We will be lucky if 20% of us survive what is coming. We should be scared stiff.â€?

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair‘s now annual Green Issue includes an excellent profile of Myron Ebell, the man behind the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s sceptical effluvia. Worth reading if only for the phrase:

Many of the skeptics are curmudgeons: old, bald, and bitter. But not Myron Ebell.

Old, bald and bitter. Who can they mean…?

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.