“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin

2014: Let's Change the Climate

Clarices PiecesWatching both ObamaCare and the good ship Akademik Shokalskiy crash on the shoals of reality, I think it would take a heart of stone not to laugh at the misadventures of Australian climate scientist Chris Turney, who headed that misbegotten adventure in Antarctica, and Barack Obama, whose signature legislation is proving a rolling, unending debacle. Two luftmenschen brought down to earth with a crash.

Just as we are forced by federal law to give up incandescent bulbs for lesser alternatives to save carbon, fifty-two adventurers set off on a doomed expedition to prove a falsity: that the ice cap in the Antarctic is melting because of greenhouse gases.

Professor Turney, like many climate hucksters, has a financial stake in proving carbon fuels are frying the globe. As he describes himself:

"Professor of Climate Change at the University of University of New South Wales where my team and I are focussing our efforts on using the past to better understand the changes we are seeing today. To do something positive about climate change, I helped set up a carbon refining company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels."

Unfortunately for Turney, his family, two BBC reporters and a host of tourists who paid 8 grand each for the adventure, the icecap in the Antarctic is growing, not shrinking, and the Russian ship they chartered, the Akademik Shokalskiy,got stuck in it:

GRAINY film footage from Douglas Mawson's epic Antarctic survey and expedition provides lasting proof that when the adventurer's team reached Commonwealth Bay exactly 100 years ago, it was free of sea ice.

It is a historical fact that some people argue can only add to acute embarrassment for Australian climate scientist Chris Turney, the carbon entrepreneur and head of climate science at the University of NSW, whose Antarctic mission has come to a frozen dead stop.

Two icebreakers set out to rescue them and they, too, got stuck. Finally, the passengers were helicoptered out 12 at a time by a Chinese aircraft which presumably wasn't relying on green energy from Carbonscape or any other source on which we and other governments around the world have blown billions, if not trillions, of dollars.

NYT blogger Revkin was dismayed that the entire fiasco would "disrupt serious climate change studies."

Adrian O, State College, Pa., responds with a needed bit of reason:

Right now (Dec 31st) a French vessel couldn't approach them.

The Chinese ice breaker which carries a helicopter got stuck trying to approach them.

An Australian ice breaker had to give up too. Moreover its deck is too weak to carry the Chinese helicopter.

However the ice is so thick and fused that it is stronger than the icebreaker's deck, so the helicopter would land on ice.

Two big ice breakers, a Russian and an American, are crossing the equator, coming from the Arctic.

******

As this is going on, the expedition organizer, Climate Change professor Turney, speaks out

"Turney also responded to speculation from climate sceptics who have taken to social media sites in recent days to attack the scientific consensus on climate change, pointing out the apparent incongruity of there being so much sea ice around the Shokalskiy in the middle of the Antarctic summer.

"we are not trapped in new ice that's been created because its cold," said Turney. "This is very old, thick ice that's been remobilized."

That's the ice which is more solidly fused together than an ice breaker.

******

The Guardian counters with a big story

"Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn

New climate model taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations"

An attempt to link the two stories, as in the innocent question:

"Does that mean that we'll ALL have to vacation in the Antarctic?"

is met with an immediate lifetime ban.

The rescue was fortunate because this didn't seem to be a particularly hardy band of explorers. Andrew Bolt compared them with an earlier Antarctic explorer, Douglas Mawson, who ran into difficulties with ice:

Guardian journalist Laurence Topham on the "Spirit of Mawson" now demonstrates how that spirit lives on in this ship of warmists, awaiting rescue by helicopter after a week trapped in ice they'd assumed was melting away:

It is quite stressful... I miss banana and peanut butter milkshakes... I've got this really thin, small bed... I've hurt my back... I jammed my leg in the door last night... And it's only going to get worse... Stranded in ice. Oh, God I'm going mad.

As Tom Gelsthorpe observes, this batch of Antarctic watchers don't come near the intrepid and hardy men of the doomed Endurance:

Ninety-nine years ago, Ernest Shackleton, a dauntless son of County Kildare, set out on an Antarctic expedition that has become one of the most highly praised failures in history. His ship Endurance got stuck in summer pack ice in the Weddell Sea, was gradually crushed and had to be abandoned. Shackleton recruited his crew of 28 with the most famous classified ad ever written, titled "Men wanted for hazardous journey." The text did not sugarcoat the dangers. The success of the ad was proven when recruits endured one of the harshest ordeals ever documented.

Endurance sank, then the crew hauled three tiny lifeboats and what provisions they could manage across ice and rough water. For over a year they endured frostbite, blizzards and grueling labor, yet eventually reached Elephant Island, a Godforsaken scrap of land on the edge of the Southern Ocean. Defying death from hunger and exposure, one group stayed on Elephant while Shackleton and a chosen handful sailed one lifeboat through the dead of winter, across 800 miles of raging ocean to South Georgia, a remote, mountainous island the size of Long Island. They landed on the uninhabited south coast and hiked over the glacier-cloaked spine to the whaling station on the other side. When the explorers arrived, the station staff didn't believe their story at first because they'd been given up for dead long before.

A rescue party returned to Elephant Island and found every man still alive. Through the two-year ordeal, not one soul was lost. Bob Dylan's line, "There's no success like failure," could have been inspired by Shackleton's heroics.

Newsbusters notes that 98 percent of media stories simply ignored the fact that the ship was in the Antarctic to prove Turney's point that the Antarctic ice was melting.

And I found only one article, from National Review Online, by Greg Pollowitz cited above, that even mentioned Turney had an entrepreneurial interest in proving the Antarctic ice was melting.

Aside from the loss of face and perhaps future business, the crew had to make a humiliating appeal to climate warming sceptic Anthony Watts for more up-to-date weather data to aid the rescuers.

The truth is Turney and his pals could have saved a lot of time, money and embarrassment if they had acknowledged the truth ahead of this disaster.

"Basically, according to Turner et al. (2013), the current generation of climate models cannot simulate the annual seasonal cycle in Antarctic sea ice extent, and the climate models show a decrease in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, while satellite-based observations show an increase in sea ice extent there.

The closing clause of Turner et al. (2013) is worth repeating and expanding: "...the processes responsible for the observed increase [in Antarctic sea ice extent] over the last 30 years are not being simulated correctly [by the current generation of climate models]."

Obviously, all of the model-based predictions of gloom and doom about sea ice have no basis in the real world."

Climate modeling is not the only modeling that continues to prove out of whack with the real world: From estimates of use of emergency room facilities to the number of signups by healthier, younger citizens, every assumption of the ObamaCare authors and regulators seems to fail when tested against the real world. The administration keeps lying and obfuscating about the number and nature of the enrollments, but it is clear to any sentient, careful observer that this is a shipwreck for the president and his party. What remains is only for the ship to be smashed into even smaller pieces.

Many have offered up suggestions on how to end this now before even more suffering and diminution of medical services occur. None has offered up a better suggestion than Dr. Charles Krauthammer who says as soon as Congress returns it should pass a "No Bailout for Insurance Companies Act of 2014".

This would be no 2,000-plus pages piece of legislation.

Make it one line long: "Sections 1341 and 1342 of the Affordable Care Act are hereby repealed. "End of bill. End of bailout. End of story.

[snip]

First, Section 1341, the "reinsurance" fund collected from insurers and self-insuring employers at a nifty $63 a head. (Who do you think the cost is passed on to?) This yields about $20 billion over three years to cover losses.

Then there is Section 1342, the "risk corridor" provision that mandates a major taxpayer payout covering up to 80 percent of insurance-company losses.

[snip]

Without viable insurance companies doing the work, it falls apart. No bailout, no Obamacare.

Such a bill would be overwhelmingly popular because Americans hate fat-cat bailouts of any kind. Why should their tax dollars be spent not only saving giant insurers but also rescuing this unworkable, unbalanced, unstable, unpopular money-pit of a health-care scheme?

The GOP House should pass it and send it to Harry Reid's Democratic Senate. Democrats know it could be fatal for Obamacare. The only alternative would be single-payer. And try selling that to the country after the spectacularly incompetent launch of -- and subsequent widespread disaffection with -- mere semi-nationalization.

Do you really think vulnerable Democrats up for reelection will vote for a bailout? And who better to slay Obamacare than a Democratic Senate -- liberalism repudiating its most important creation of the last 50 years.

Well, there's that, or we could just stay stranded, missing our milkshakes, blaming "thick ice that's been remobilized" and waiting for a Chinese helicopter to get us out of this morass. 

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