Written by SPPI
August 14, 2008
Science and Public Policy Institute
The scare: An article in the New York Times in late July 2008 by an author promoting a forthcoming book about "global warming" calls the Greenland ice-sheet "one of 'global warming's' most disturbing threats".
The article continues that ocean warming eats the ice sheet from beneath, causing glaciers to calve and melt faster, changing patterns of migration and hence of hunting, which, it says, has a positive effect: warm-water cod have returned, and shops can now offer locally-grown vegetables. Recession of ice along the shore has exposed pockets of lead, zinc, and bauxite. More than 30 billion barrels of oil may also be reachable if there is further melting. Yet the thrust of the article is Apocalyptic.
The truth: The "Greenland is melting" scare is an old one, and long discredited. It was first given widespread currency by Al Gore, not a climatologist, in his sci-fi comedy horror movie about the climate - a movie that is now an international joke for serious, serial, scientific inaccuracy. In October 2007, a UK High Court Judge ordered the Department of Education to issue a disclaimer about several inaccuracies in the movie before innocent schoolchildren could be exposed to it. The learned Judge's finding about Gore's claim that sea level would imminently rise by 20 ft was blunt:
"This is distinctly alarmist and part of Mr. Gore's ‘wake-up call'. It is common ground that if Greenland melted it would release this amount of water, but only after, and over, millennia, so that the Armageddon scenario he depicts is not based on any scientific view."
The UN's climate panel, the IPCC, also fueled the scare when its bureaucrats, after the scientists had submitted the final draft of its 2007 report, inserted a table that had not been in the scientists' draft, in which they had ingeniously right-shifted four decimal points so as to exaggerate tenfold the supposed contribution of melting ice-sheets and glaciers to sea-level rise: