What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 10, 2015

The Tribune-Review, The Warming Climate, And That "Death Panels" Lady

From today's Trib:
Among stops on Obama's jet-setting climate-change tour was Exit Glacier in Alaska, where the president blamed mankind's use of fossil fuels for the glacier's steady melting. But the glacier has been shrinking since 1815, long before mankind's industrialization, writes Betsy McCaughey for the New York Post. And according to the Alaska Climate Research Center, there's been almost no evidence of warming trends in Alaska since 1977, Ms. McCaughey reports — that is, aside from climate cluckers' incessant hot air.
Wasn't Betsy McCaughey the "expert" who warned us all about the Obamacare "death panels" and didn't Politifact give her a "Pants on fire" ruling (as in "Liar, Liar Pant's on...") for being so darn wrong?

The answer to the above is yes.

So of course, she's now an expert in climate science.

Here's what she said in the Post:
President Obama hiked to Exit Glacier in Alaska last week, with photographers in tow, to send the world a message: The glacier is melting.

Obama blames it on the increasing use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which he wants to restrict not only in the United States but worldwide. The photo op was designed to build support for an international climate agreement he’s pushing hard to sell, so far with little success.

Trouble is, the president needs to get his facts straight. Exit Glacier has been shrinking for 200 years — since 1815 — long before widespread industrialization and automobiles. As the president ended his trip, he sounded the alarm again: “This state’s climate is changing before our eyes.”
However if you were to actually read the president's remarks (something I doubt the Trib editorial board bothered to do) you'd find this in the very first paragraph:
So you guys have been seeing these signs as we’ve walked that mark where the glacier used to be -- 1917, 1951. This glacier has lost about a mile and a half over the last couple hundred years. But the pace of the reductions of the glacier are accelerating rapidly each and every year. And this is as good of a signpost of what we're dealing with when it comes to climate change as just about anything.[Emphasis added.]
See that?  His facts are straight.  The only thing he didn't do was to give a start date (1815) but everything that the Death Panel lady said (the glacier "has been shrinking for 200 years") is exactly what the president said (the glacier "has lost about a mile and a half over the last couple hundred years.").  And yet to her and the braintrust this is somehow evidence against climate science.

Coincidentally, this story's got a Palin connection.  Take a look at this Politifact deconstruction of Alaska's half-governor's views on glaciers and the science:
[Palin's] claim that some glaciers are growing in Alaska is true, but this isn’t a reason to question human-caused climate change. Regional variations in precipitation patterns may cause some glaciers to grow, but most glaciers around the world are losing ice as the climate warms.

President Obama did indeed point out a receding glacier during his trip to Alaska from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. He visited the Exit Glacier and called it “as good of a signpost as any when it comes to the impacts of climate change.” That glacier has retreated about 1.25 miles over 200 years, according to the National Park Service. Though a single receding glacier also does not provide any proof of climate change, the president talked about the wider trend. During his speech to the GLACIER conference in Anchorage, Obama said that a recent study found Alaska’s glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice every year. That’s accurate.

The study in question was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in July. Researchers from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington in Seattle measured the “mass balance” of 116 glaciers in Alaska — of 616 named and many thousands of unnamed glaciers, representing 41 percent of the total glacial area — and extrapolated the results to the rest of the state. They found that Alaska’s glaciers are losing 75 gigatons of ice every year.

And the part about no warming since 1977?  Here's a chart from the Alaska Climate Research Center:

Notice anything?

And the idea of using such a localized area (Alaska) to generalize on the global climate trends is cherry picking at it's best.

Betsy McCaughey is as wrong about climate science as she was about the death panels.

1 comment:

Jim Moore said...

Nuts! I had hoped for better after they allowed that article to appear. But I've noticed this before on the few occasions I read the Trib or its local derivatives: The news section can be relatively factual and balanced compared to the editorials, which occasionally appear to ignore or discount the reports printed in their own papers.

Keep up the drum beat! Sooner or later ....