Just in case you thought any climate contrarian remains sane . . .

Which of these would be accurate in showing the insanity, but not so sharp as to raise the hackles of the climate contrarians?

  • “Contrarians think Antarctic unworthy of protection”
  • “Denialists criticize efforts to keep Antarctic clean”
  • “Climate change critics’ brains have left the building”

Read these stories, and tell me.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted the delicate condition of the Antarctic with regard to its two main industries, fishing and tourism.  IPCC AR4 noted that the tourism industry takes steps to protect Antarctic environments made more vulnerable by melting.  (Footnote here; actual flyer here, assessment document here in Microsoft Word .doc format)

Contrarians come unglued, here at ClimateQuotes.com, and here at Air Vent.

It’s clear that the contrarians don’t have much experience in heavy documentation.  If you follow the links they provide, you quickly get to the paper provided by the tourist industry noting their precautions to prevent contamination, provided to meet a request by scientists from the Australian team, and based on information well vetted to the point that it includes substantial excerpts from what appears to be a peer-reviewed journal on the types of solutions suitable for decontaminating foreign boots in the Antarctic (Polar Record, vol. 41, no. 216, Jan. 2005, p. 39-45; it is actually the official journal of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge, UK).  There is astounding and commendable attention to detail, much more than the contrarians can grok, it appears.

More troubling to the Boy Scout in me is the contrarians’ contempt for what is, really, Leave No Trace Camping carried to an Antarctic tourist stop.  This is part of the environment protection credo of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and it is sound policy that everyone should be teaching their children.

What is wrong with that?  Why do the contrarians mock wise policies?  Why do they make false claims against what amounts to good Scouting?

Leave No Trace logo

Contratians disapprove of the ethics of environmental stewardship?

One implicit complaint is that the footnote does not provide evidence of damage from climate change, in the Antarctic.  It’s clear that the critics have not followed the footnote path to see why the boot cleaning poster and directive were issued, nor to see what is the research or official government action that prompted the tourist companies to implement the procedure.

It appears in a section of the IPCC reports on effects of warming on industries in affected areas.  Only two industries are noted in the Antarctic, fishing and tourism.  After establishing the increased chance of problem organisms, including micro-organisms, showing up in Arctic and Antarctic areas as the areas warm, and after noting two plagues that killed penguins recently, from micro-organisms, the IPCC paper notes that concern to prevent such tragedies have so far required only boot decontamination, and it offers a link to the flyer provided by an Antarctic tour operators group.

Got that?  To show that the tour operators are affected, IPCC cited the flyer put out by the tour operators showing how and why they were changing their operations.  It’s a minor, almost trivial point.

At no point did IPCC’s report claim this procedure as evidence of warming, or the effects of warming.  So the claims of the contrarians and denialists are completely off base, as they’d recognize except for their own shouting for the lynching of science to proceed.

Criticism of IPCC for noting the good stewardship techniques used in the Antarctic comprises more political smear than scientific enlightenment, by a huge factor.  Voodoo science from the contrarians begets voodoo criticism.

Contrarians lack wisdom in posing this complaint of theirs.  This is one more point IPCC got right, factually and ethically.  IPCC should be commended for that.

Wall of Shame (update added on February 7)

Outlets that cite the boot reference, falsely or stupidly, as some sort of flaw in the IPCC report, and thereby demonstrate malevolent intentions, and not scientific (“malice” for you Times v. Sullivan fans):

4 Responses to Just in case you thought any climate contrarian remains sane . . .

  1. george.w says:

    There’s a scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex is being interviewed by a psychiatrist. She shows him a slide of a woman handing bird eggs to a man, and says; “You can do whatever you like with these”. He replies; “Eggieweggs! I’d smash them!”

    Sometimes I think that’s the essence of conservatism now. Which pains me, because there was once some relationship between the word and the action. My very conservative father, who’s been gone a long time now, raised me with the mantra “take only pictures, leave only footprints”. Now Carl Sagan’s question is more fitting: “What are conservatives conserving?”

    The only answer I can come up with is “profits”, but even that doesn’t make sense. What’s going to happen to the business climate after global environmental collapse? And the behavior of top conservative leaders certainly doesn’t remind me of anything moral or compassionate, so I really can’t figure out WHAT they’re on about.


  2. Prospector says:

    Replying to your own column? Really lame Darrell.

    Good by forever.


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Further note: At Air Vent, after several comments noting how stupid I am for not condemning a paper on prevention of contamination from boots in the Antarctic, since “everyone knows” AR4 is intended solely to defend the claim that warming occurs, regardless the names of the chapters, the nature of the report of the IPCC, and the mission and charges given to the IPCC, I noted:

    Did you notice the chapter that was in?
    “Working Group II: Impacts, Adaption and Vulnerability”

    More detail from the table of contents:

    15.7 Conclusions: implications for sustainable development

    15.7.1 Economic activity, infrastructure and sustainability in the Arctic
    15.7.2 Economic activity and sustainability in the Antarctic

    Do you think tourism might be economic activity? Do you think it might be affected?

    IPCC’s reports cover a broad range of issues surrounding climate. It’s not the case that the entire book is trying to make a case that warming occurs.

    If you’re really interested in the boot issue, be sure to read through the footnotes and the documents readily available there from the IPCC report:

    1. Climate in Antarctic is warming:

    2. Boots: “IAATO, 2005: Update on boot and clothing decontamination guidelines and the introduction and detection of diseases in Antarctic wildlife: IAATO’s perspective. Paper submitted by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) [emphasis added] to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) XXVIII. IAATO, 10 pp. http://www.iaato.org/info.html. ”

    3. The boots poster (actually from a 2007 meeting in Delhi): http://image.zenn.net/REPLACE/CLIENT/1000037/1000115/application/pdf/IAATOBootandClothingDecontaminationPoster.pdf

    4. Stockholm meeting 2005, section on boots and decontamination: http://image.zenn.net/REPLACE/CLIENT/1000037/1000115/application/msword/ATCMXXVIIIIAATODecontamination.doc

    Appendix C of that document includes a long excerpt from the paper published in Polar Record.

    So, in the chapter discussing effects of warming on industries in the area, two industries are discussed, fishing and tourism. The paper on boots goes directly to the effects of warming on tourism.

    It was never intended as evidence of warming, and I cannot imagine how anyone could mistake it for such a paper, coming as it does in the section of the report on effects.

    As evidence of impact on tourists and tourism the paper is spot on. For IPCC purposes, it is backed by papers in polar research journals.

    No, the chapter, with its notes, does not vouch for the veracity of the Shroud of Turin, nor does it make any claims about the location of Judge Crater nor Amelia Earhart. That’s not what that chapter was intended to do, nor is it reasonable to assume it should.

    Neither is it reasonable to assume that all footnotes in the chapter should prove global warming. That’s not the intent, scope or content of the chapter.


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    And, just by the way, read the IPCC report. It doesn’t attribute any claim of global warming to the report on contaminated boots. What it says is that the Antarctic is under stress, from both climate change, and from tourism. For example, it offers, look at this exercise we go through to decontaminate the boots of tourists.

    The evidence of stress to the area probably isn’t up front as some would like — you have to read a footnote to a footnote — but it’s there, in a peer-reviewed journal.


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