Monday, September 21, 2009
Reference: Why the Copenhagen talks offer us one last chance, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2009
Ban Ki-Moon says that he went to the Arctic Ocean and was horrified to see the remains of a glacier that just a few years ago was a majestic mass of ice and that had just collapsed - not slowly melted - just collapsed. He thereby became convinced that the only resolution for the "climate crisis" is a successful emission reduction agreement at the Copenhagen meeting in December (Why the Copenhagen talks offer us one last chance, Bangkok Post, September 21, 2009). This message is incredibly garbled. There are no glaciers in the Arctic Ocean. The glaciers in Greenland that climate scientists had once said were flowing faster into the ocean because of climate change have since slowed down to a normal rate of flow and are no longer retreating. Glaciers don't "collapse".
The Secretary General goes on to say that he traveled by ship to the Polar ice rim and that in just a few years that ship will be able to travel all the way to the North Pole because the polar ice will have been completely melted by our carbon dioxide emissions. Current exaggerated projections by the UN's own climate scientists is that the Arctic will become ice free in summer around 2060 if we do not reduce CO2 emissions. That's 50 years from now, not "just a few years". In any case, it now appears that the minimum summer ice extent in the Arctic is not diminishing but in fact it is making a recovery and so the ice free Arctic forecast may be revised yet again.
He also states that thawing permafrost is even now releasing methane into the atmosphere. He is concerned because methane is a more potent heat trapping gas than carbon dioxide. This statement is completely false. The scenario of thawing permafrost in Siberia releasing methane is a forecast made by climate scientists and not one that has been observed. According the the IPCC, if we don't reduce our carbon emissions, Siberian permafrost may thaw and that thaw may release methane into the atmosphere in quantities sufficient to accelerate global warming. No climate scientist has claimed that these changes are now occurring. Incidentally, these forecasts have been rejected by Russian scientists.