Thursday, August 02, 2012

I won, we lost -- an interview with Michael E. Mann

Paul Dechene from Planet S Magazine in Saskatoon Sask made a bet two years ago with a local talk show host that climate change would be proven within the next decade.
So following the extreme weather across the continent this summer, Dechene interviewed climate scientist Michael E. Mann last week about whether he has won the bet already.
And the bad news is -- yes, Mann says he has.
About this summer, Mann says
... the data is coming in. It’s showing exactly what the models predicted: increases in certain types of weather extremes, warming of the globe, warming of the oceans, warming of the land, the dramatic retreat of arctic sea ice, a loss of ice from the major ice sheets, increase in sea levels.
. . . the day before yesterday, a large piece of the Petermann Glacier broke off of Greenland, a piece larger than Manhattan. [Twice the size, in fact.] A major chunk of ice.
I could point to the most recent June measurements that showed the largest retreat of sea ice as of June in the history of records. Or I could point to the fact that, thus far this summer, all-time records for warmth in the U.S. are running at a ratio of more than 10 times what we’d expect from chance alone. Or I could talk about the fact that just in the last week NOAA [the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration] announced that basically we have now achieved a new record for the magnitude and extent of drought in the U.S. — and that’s including the Dust Bowl.
So are the climate change deniers willing to change their views and admit they were wrong? Well, not so much.  Mann describes their reaction:
Well, it’s usually just a recycling of some previously discredited talking point. They’re very good at that. It’s the zombie approach to climate change denial. Some of these myths don’t die no matter how many times you strike them down.
Frankly, they’re on the ropes right now with the events that are unfolding. They appear very shrill and completely without credibility when they’re denying the reality of climate change when we’re literally seeing it out our windows and on our TV screens. What you’re seeing now is climate change deniers on the defensive. Rather than being on the offense and attacking the science, they’re crying out in their shrill voices, “No, there’s no relationship at all between what you’re seeing; don’t believe those extreme weather events. Listen to the talking head denying climate change rather than your lying eyes.”
Zombie denialists -- what a great image!
Posted also at Daily Kos.

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