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May 02, 2004

So Spake Sir David

Hot dog, Calliope sent me a link to this total lunacy in the British press!

Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.

This is the Government's chief scientist. Boy, if I was British I'd be far more concerned about dying from the interventions of government scientists, who are obviously so stupid you'd think they'd be issuing travel warnings about falling off the edge of the flat earth.

He said the Earth was entering the "first hot period" for 60 million years, when there was no ice on the planet and "the rest of the globe could not sustain human life".

And he knows this how? NONE of the remotely believable predictions of global warming show an uninhabital planet either 100 years or a thousand years from now. Iraq hits highs over 120F, and the people are still doing fine, even without any air conditioners. To get much of Europe that hot you'd have to increase the planet's temperature by 50 degrees. And if humans couldn't survive a hot period 60 million years ago then how'd all the other mammals manage to make it through? I guess they were all hiding out at the poles, eh? It must've gotten pretty crowded up there at Santa's workshop. It makes the Paleocene radiation of the mammals 60 million years ago hard to explain, doesn't it.

The warning - one of the starkest delivered by a top scientist - comes as ministers decide next week whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate change, even though Tony Blair last week described the situation as "very, very critical indeed".

That's not a stark warning, that's stark raving lunacy. The worst of the global warming models don’t even show the Antartic ice cap melting, which would make farming a bit difficult, wouldn't you think? Especially considering that reliable observations have to date detected zero, zip, nada for an air increase over the poles, which ALL the global warming models predict, because CO2 is only an efficient greenhouse gas for long wavelength infrared, which comes from cold surfaces. If there was going to be any warming, it would be starting at the poles.

The Prime Minister - who was launching a new alliance of governments, businesses and pressure groups to tackle global warming - added that he could not think of "any bigger long-term question facing the world community".

Actually I can think of a few, such as what the fall fashions will look like. But maybe the British will leap off the precipice and all start riding donkeys to work, because any country whose chief scientist spouts such laughable idiocy is certainly going to be challenged by things like keeping bicycles oiled.

Yet the Government is considering relaxing limits on emissions by industry under an EU scheme on Tuesday.

Well no wonder Chicken Little is squawking, he thinks the sky is about to fall.

Sir David said that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - the main "green- house gas" causing climate change - were already 50 per cent higher than at any time in the past 420,000 years. The last time they were at this level - 379 parts per million - was 60 million years ago during a rapid period of global warming, he said. Levels soared to 1,000 parts per million, causing a massive reduction of life.

Catch all that stupidity. He said that they're now the highest they've been in the past 420,000 years, a level that they haven't been in the past 60 million years, except I guess for that time 420,000 years ago. There we have it ladies and gentlemen, the finest product of modern British science - the self-refuting sentence. And it's an amazing discovery indeed. What he's trying to blather on about is the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum, detailed here.

Oceanic and climate changes of the LPTM may have peaked in 10,000 years, a mere heartbeat on the geologic time scale.
Boy, that was quick, wasn't it? And what drove it?
Methane (CH4), like carbon dioxide, is a rather potent greenhouse gas. Per molecule, it can absorb 10 to 20 times more heat radiation than CO2, trapping that warmth in the air.

It seems he's going after the wrong culprit, doesn't it? And on top of all this, it was during this peak heating, which the British "scientist" says would wipe out all human life that our kind radiated forth.

When the heat peaked on land, for example, the group of modern mammals that now dominate Earth -- including primates that later would give rise to our own species -- suddenly made their first appearances on at least two continents.

Well darn it, if it means we're going to thrive then I'm all for it, except for the part about having to sit around for 10,000 years waiting for it to happen.

"No ice was left on Earth. Antarctica was the best place for mammals to live, and the rest of the world would not sustain human life," he said.

And he is flatly refuted by the fossil record, so maybe it's time for the British to retire their paranoid babbling fossil.

Sir David warned that if the world did not curb its burning of fossil fuels "we will reach that level by 2100".

So spake Sir David, blithering loon and barking moonbat extraordinaire.

May 2, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Tracked on Jul 4, 2005 5:26:49 PM


What strikes me most amusing about that is that humans weren't around 60 million years ago, when the last of these "hot periods" occurred (if I'm understanding this guy's take on the situation).

How can he say the planet wouldn't have been hospitable to human life under such conditions if humans didn't even exist the last time those conditions were met?

Posted by: Don at May 2, 2004 11:48:48 PM

Ask this jerk if it is going to rain next saturday. If he is wrong, beat the crap out of him, with special attention to his mouth.

Posted by: Walter Wallis at May 3, 2004 12:41:41 AM

The late John Martin, a marine biologist at the Moss Landing (Cailf.) Marine Laboratories once quipped that he could create an ice age with half a tanker full of iron. His theories (now proven) were that the introduction of trace metals (particularly iron) into the ocean will cause "blooms" of algae. The phytoplankton (algae) suck the CO2 out of the atmosphere. We have in our grasp the ability to reverse so-called global warming.

Posted by: Steve Lambert at May 3, 2004 12:41:59 AM

Snicker. Antarctica is the only place that will be habitable by the end of this century! Cripes we got a forking emergency on our hands.

Of course, if that were true there would be no point in bothering to do anything anyway because its too late.

What gets me (well one of the things that gets me) about these guys is their stuff is so ridiculous its embarrassing. Aren't they embarrassed to show up at conferences and whatnot after saying something like this? I would be.

How can anyone take them seriously?

BTW good catch on the self conflicting sentence George. I love those the best of all and I had missed it.

Posted by: Calliope at May 3, 2004 6:57:04 AM

Wait...all the mammals were living in Antartica? Then what is up with all the fossils in China, Africa, Europe, and North America from that time period?

His map must be messed up, labelling ALL the continents 'Antartica' or something like that.


Posted by: Phoenix at May 3, 2004 6:59:05 AM

my hazy memory includes a map of a "Pangea", a one-world landmass from the geological ages past....plate-tectonics had been run backwards to see what the world looked like in the age of the Dinosaurs, or some such time.

Which has Antarctica halfway between the geographic South Pole and the Tropic of Capticorn.

Roughly where South Africa is now, give or take 10 degrees of lattitude. Needless to say, the geographic South Pole (and probably North as well) were ocean.

Can anyone help me with this one? Where do the geologists have Antarctica (and the rest of the continents) 60 million years ago?

Posted by: steve h at May 3, 2004 12:46:18 PM

Excuse my ignorance; I have a fuzzy recollection of reading somewhere that we are still technically in the last ice age, since not all the glaciers have retreated, and glaciers are not a normal feature of Earth. Is this obsolete information?

Posted by: lauraw at May 3, 2004 3:16:51 PM

"Sir David said that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere...were already 50 per cent higher than at any time in the past 420,000 years. The last time they were at this level...was 60 million years ago"

On careful reading of this sentence, Sir David is not saying that 420,000 years ago the levels were the same as today. He's saying that the levels today are 50% higher than the highest levels within the last 420,000 years. So, compared to, say, 430,000 years ago the levels might only be 25% higher, but the fact that today's CO2 is 1.5 times greater than anything in the last 420K years is not contradictory to the statement that the levels haven't been this high for 60 million years.

Otherwise a fine fisking. If you haven't seen the transcript of Michael Crichton's speech to the Commonwealth Club (titled "The Religion of Environmentalism") that made its rounds through the blogosphere a few months ago, it's definitely worth the read: http://mitosyfraudes.8k.com/Polit/Enviro.html

Posted by: GMO at May 4, 2004 1:42:46 AM

I doubt the Prof said anything like it (surely). Remember, this is the work of a reporter and likely careless, uninformed, and sensitive only to scandal.

Posted by: Sean at May 4, 2004 4:23:37 AM

"The warning - one of the starkest delivered by a top scientist - comes as ministers decide next week whether to weaken measures to cut the pollution that causes climate change, ..."

Does he mean water vapor?

And I'm STILL WAITING for these guys to explain how the Martians get gas-guzzling pollution-spewing SUV's shipped. Or the populations of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Things do seem to be warming all across the solar system: we humans may be exacerbating it locally, but for all our egocentric arrogance we are NOT causing it.

Posted by: John Anderson at May 4, 2004 11:47:00 AM