There’s a terrible tyranny in being a columnist for a national newspaper, required to produce entertaining and informative copy every week. It’s a hard job, having an opinion and expressing it cogently. Some writers struggle and succeed, others strive and fail dismally. The NZ Herald — the newspaper of record for NZ’s biggest city — has a couple of fine examples of the latter: old curmudgeon Garth George, who meets the difficulties inherent in his job by ripping off other people’s copy, and red-spectacled “funny man” Jim Hopkins, who has never allowed the facts to get in the way of a good rant.
And what a diatribe he gave us last Friday! Global warming’s gone away, Jim reckons:
There has been a trickle of terror but, by and large, the whole calamitous narrative is a goneburger.
The conclusion’s inescapable. Either we (literally) cooked our goose a long time ago or global warming’s always been more chimera than catastrophe. Quids in, it’s the latter. This is a crisis of faith, not a crisis of fact.
We just don’t need to worry about it any more. That’s all. The prediction holds. Global warming has disappeared.
Yes that’s right, because the media isn’t giving global warming the same prominence as a few years ago, the problem must be over. Thank the Lord for that sir. And what a shame that Hopkins’ is talking — not to put too fine a point on it — complete bollocks. Here’s why:
Hopkins is wrong because the laws of physics haven’t changed. CO2 continues to accumulate in the atmosphere, the world continues to warm. But his position is actually worse than mere wishful thinking — it’s based on wilful ignorance. The world’s media have been providing the very kind of “calamitous narrative” he thinks has disappeared — but he’s failed to notice. Let’s count a few of the terrible weather disasters likely to have been made worse by a warming climate:
- Queensland flooding
- 2010-2011, the worst year for weather extremes since 1816
- Flooding in Thailand and Cambodia
- A record number of billion dollar weather disasters in the USA
…and that’s just for starters. You’d think Hopkins might have noticed, but perhaps he needs a new prescription in those famous red specs of his.
You might also think that the powers that be at the NZ Herald would notice just how far removed from reality their “humorous” columnist1 has strayed — but given that they are happy to provide a regular platform for Garth George and Chris de Freitas, one has to assume they don’t care.
[See also: Phoebe Fletcher at Tumeke!]
[Pace the Sex Pistols, you'll always find that Hopkins is out to lunch.]
- He had me smiling at his “Higgs bison” quip in the opening par, but that was the extent of my amusement. Reminded me of something though: What’s the difference between a buffalo and a bison? You can’t wash your hands in a buffalo. [/Aussie accent] [↩]