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The Skeptics Tea Party

The Skeptics Tea Party

February 2010: Good news for climate skeptics. Membership to the Flat Earth Society, with whose members they share a penchant for delinquent denial, is still open. This might be particularly fortuitous for those who were drowning in the rising ocean of evidence that climate change is real and human-triggered.


Such individuals were in a disarray and licking their wounds, but were handed a convenient straw by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which made the mistake of quoting a precise date, 2035, instead of a time-range for Himalayan glacial melt in their path-breaking report.


The Gangotri glacier, the birthplace of Bhagirathi, one of the main tributaries of the Ganga, has lost several kilometres of ice sheet in the past 200 years, with the rate of retreat being three times more in the last three decades – Dr. Anish AndheriaThe IPCC issued an immediate apology, pointing out that while the date was wrongly quoted and strict cross-check protocols were not followed in this one case, the science was right –Hiimalayan glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. The acknowledgement did not stop a conglomerate of climate skeptics who were straining at the leash from taking out their long knives. The third editorial in Mumbai’s DNA newspaper exemplified the frantic haste with which those uncomfortable with the reality of climate changes reacted: “the Earth goes through periodic climatic changes and we are now approaching one of them. This may seem cataclysmic to us now, but humans and other life forms have survived several so far.”


The dirty tricks departments in the oil industry will surely seek to add fuel to this latest climate fire. But India would do well to pause before throwing climate concerns out of the window. Fortunately, Jairam Ramesh, India’s savvy Minister for Environment and Forests who had pilloried the IPCC for its mistake, wisely acknowledged  simultaneously that Himalayan glacial melt was a real  and major concern for India.


Nevertheless, we can expect this new handle that climate skeptics have been gifted to be used by developers to push their business-as-usual carbon agenda – particularly the large dam lobby, which worries about losing mega-sum contracts if river flows from glaciers dwindle, as they must. Ironically, Ramesh is currently grappling with a legacy of officials and technocrats in his ministry who had in the past shut a blind eye to (really) bad science used to obtain clearances for projects through doctored Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Reports.


The bottom line? The ice IS melting. Of that there can be no doubt.


Exactly WHEN Himalayan glaciers might vanish is something only time will tell. But with Copenhagen having failed to win global action, we can expect the melt to come sooner rather than later. Hopefully, therefore extremist developers in India will be disabused of the notion that the subcontinent’s depleted carbon stocks are up for grabs.


For more information on the Flat Earth Society whose members are fighting the “conspiracy” of those who insist that the Earth is round check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society. Here are some choice headlines from the Flat Earth News: “Sun is a Light 32 Miles Across” “Galileo Was a Liar” “The Earth Is Not a Ball; Gravity Does Not Exist” “The Earth Has No Motion” and the most precious one of all: “Science Insults Your Intelligence”.


For more information on climate skepticism check out Barun Mitra’s views:  http://indefenceofliberty.org/story.aspx?id=2933&pubid=2859. “Droughts no longer trigger food shortages.” “Globally, decarbonisation of the economy has been going on for the past 400 years.” “Reducing carbon emissions to reduce the intensity of cyclones is like saying that you are going to switch off the sun as you deem required.” “That is to me completely impractical and completely unnecessary, and will not even achieve the results.”


Sadly Sanctuary readers will no longer be able to marvel at the bizarre views of the now discredited Global Climate Coalition. They were forced to shut down thanks to irrefutable evidence that exposed their motivated and self-serving positions on global climate change. Wikipedia tells us that: The Global Climate Coalition was: “a group of mainly United States businesses opposing immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The group formed in 1989 as a response to several reports from the IPCC. A major scientific report on the severity of global warming  by the IPCC in 2001 led to large-scale membership loss. Since 2002 the GCC has been defunct, or in its own words, “deactivated”.


Its most prominent members have been DuPont, Exxon/Esso, Ford, Shell Oil, USA, Texaco, British Petroleum,General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and the Aluminum  Association.


Today invitees to the Skeptics' Tea Party are celebrating the lack of climate action that emerged from Copenhagen. Hopefully, the scheduled December climate meeting in Mexico will poop their party.


By Bittu Sahgal


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