Thursday, December 28, 2006
A Perfect Example of Global Warming Hysteria
Chicken Little yelled, "Help! Help! The sky is falling!" Our frightened Chicken could well be a "journalist" writing about Global warming, or a former Vice-President that can't find anything else to do with his time.
The hysteria that is global warming is perfectly evinced in a recent story by the Independent newspaper from England.
Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island is so fraught with fear mongering and hyperventilation that it is no wonder that skeptics look to the Globaloney movement and laugh at their claims of "scientific" seriousness.
For some sidesplitting, hilarity, this particular story is as ridiculous as they come, replete with overly emotional rhetoric, ill chosen verbiage, and scientific boobery.
(I will bold some of the funniest stuff for emphasis)
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.
"Obliteration"? This obliteration took many years. But using the word obliteration seems a choice to invoke a sudden cataclysm and a way to cause alarm and fear in the reader. Certainly, obliteration does mean to "erase from existence", granted, but the word has a certain emotional carriage to it that is sure to cause alarm
And the Independent is somewhat misleading on the time line as well. Lochachara Island, for instance, has been gone for 20 or so years but here we have the Independent making it seem as if it just happened! As if Global Warming suddenly swamped the island.
Two-thirds of nearby populated island Ghoramara has also been permanently inundated. Dr Sugata Hazra, director of the university's School of Oceanographic Studies, says "it is only a matter of some years" before it is swallowed up too. Dr Hazra says there are now a dozen "vanishing islands" in India's part of the delta. The area's 400 tigers are also in danger.
Another word used to scare: "inundated". Inundation is generally a word to describe a sudden flood, not a slow, inexorable rising of water. We also use it to describe being overwhelmed, such as being "inundated" with email -- again an emotional reaction results. But, these islands have taken many years to go away. The fact that they are disappearing is certainly nothing to scoff about, and, while the hyperbolic rhetoric adds a novelist's flair, little scientific weight is brought to the story with such fear mongering.
Until now the Carteret Islands off Papua New Guinea were expected to be the first populated ones to disappear, in about eight years' time, but Lohachara has beaten them to the dubious distinction.
Another sentence calculated to cause mere fear. It is interesting that, in the rush to sound all dramatic, the Independent is ignoring the fact that 8 years or more should be plenty of time for inhabitants of these low lying islands to MOVE to a place where it ISN'T slowly flooding! It would also be plenty of time to save the tigers worried about above.
Human cost of global warming: Rising seas will soon make 70,000 people homeless.
Again, 8 years or more... they have at least 8 YEARS to move. Such advanced notice does NOT cause people to become "homeless"! This word is again used as if this is a sudden conflagration causing catastrophic loss. It is not. It is something that people have all sorts of time in which to solve their housing problems.
A forest fire, an earthquake, even a real flash flood, those are sudden catastrophes that could cause people to become "homeless". 8 years should be plenty of time to find somewhere else to live!
This grandiose flourish cries for some perspective to be called for here.
Refugees from the vanished Lohachara island and the disappearing Ghoramara island have fled to Sagar, but this island has already lost 7,500 acres of land to the sea. In all, a dozen islands, home to 70,000 people, are in danger of being submerged by the rising seas.
Nearly this entire sentence is filled with teary eyed, scaremongering! "Refuges", "fled", both are words usually used to denote suddenness. There is nothing sudden about the decades it is taking to submerge these islands, especially since Lohachara island has already been gone for 20 years.
Of course, these people are losing real estate and, yes, it will not be easy to move and start over. It never is easy to move and start over no matter what is causing the move. But, they will move and they will carry on. And they have many years to figure out how to do it.
And the last bit about being "in danger of being submerged". More emotionalism that. There is no "danger"; there is just plain fact. And it is a fact that must be dealt with by leaving the area affected. "In danger of" implies that something can be done to stop it and there is not one much humans can economically do to stop these islands from being submerged or even global warming, if it is happening, from happening.
Now, whether global warming is, indeed happening or not is immaterial to the fate of these islands. They are absolutely submerging beneath the waves and will soon be but a memory. This kind of erosion is happening all the time all across the world and always has. Many islands have come and gone in man's recorded history alone.
Worse, these scaremongers also fail to inform their acolytes that, if it is global warming, it is something that has happened many other times in Earth's past -- and in all those other times there WAS no man around to cause it. Man has not caused global warming. Man can do nothing to stop it.
Still, there is plenty of doubt that Global Warming is the cause. Dr. E. Calvin Beisner has written to me recently giving good reason to doubt that water levels have risen due to man's interference in the environment. "Averaged over century-long periods, sea level has been rising on Earth ever since the end of the last Ice Age, and according to the International Union for Quaternary Research's Sea Level Commission--the world's most authoritative body of scientific work on the subject--there is no significant change in the rate of rise through the period when, according to global warming theory, human activity is supposed to have contributed significantly to the warming."
But, in the end, I'd say that if people don't have the sense God gave a rock to move off an island that has been slowly submerging for 8 years or more, then global warming is the least of their worries.
Globaloney hysteria strikes again.