ABC: alarmist business as usual

Not science, but alarmism

I suppose we should have expected the green-left brigade at the ABC to go into alarmist overdrive in response to the government’s dropping of the ETS, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. The flagship TV science programme, Catalyst, opened last night with a hysterical piece on the melting Antarctic. Yes, the Antarctic. Note how, without dropping a beat, the ABC switches its attention to the South pole, since as we all know, ice levels in the Arctic are the highest they have been for years.

The segment played out like a disaster movie: scary voiceovers, scary music, dramatic footage of, er, melting ice, scary “what ifs”, and, to suck away any last vestige of credibility, quotes from James Hansen. Here are a few choice extracts, starting with the creepy opening:

NARRATION: The seas are rising [Yes, at the same rate they have been for thousands of years – Ed]. How fast and how high they will go is the big unknown. But one thing is certain. What happens in Antarctica will be critical. Around 90 percent of the planet’s snow and ice is found here. Is the sleeping giant stirring?

NARRATION: The Wilkins Ice shelf is the latest of seven ice shelves on the Peninsula to start collapsing, and it’s the furthest south. Ice shelves are already floating, so they can’t contribute to sea level rise. It’s what’s behind them that’s the big concern. But now it is all too familiar. Seven shelves on the Antarctic peninsula have collapsed in the past two decades. This is a region of the huge Wilkins ice shelf which collapsed in 2008.

Dr Ian Allison: If you take that barrier away, the big glaciers behind it will flow more quickly.

NARRATION: Glaciers that drained into the Larsen B ice shelf have sped up by a factor of seven.

Neal Young: That does contribute to sea level rise. The quantity of ice in the Antarctic Peninsula region though is small. The key message is what would happen in the east and to the major glaciers in the West Antarctic if such changes were to occur there? That would be a consistent, persistent and very ominous I think change in the scenario.

NARRATION: And there’s strong evidence that change is already occurring. In the Amundsen Sea region, glaciologists have found the major glaciers are speeding up and losing mass, thinning by up to nine metres a year. What’s remarkable is the thinning extends hundreds of kilometres into the grounded ice sheet.

Mark Horstman: It’s the middle of summer here in East Antarctica, and right now the air temperature is minus four degrees and dropping. There’s no way that air temperatures like this are going to melt any ice. And In fact, until just recently, it was thought that the ice sheet on this side of the continent was actually growing in size.

NARRATION: But alarming new evidence indicates this trend has reversed.

Mark Horstman: What we’ve revealed here is a complex story about Antarctica under changing climates. And the take home message, like the continent itself, comes in two parts. Here in the East, it appears that it’s a warming ocean that;s driving the changes in the ice sheet.

Dr Paul Willis: Whereas here in the West the ice is melting from above and below. When it comes to sea level rise, Antarctica the sleeping giant is waking up.

Business as usual at Their Alarmist Broadcasting Corporation.

Read it (and watch it) here.

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