Chris Barton of the New Zealand Herald isn’t happy that a skeptic is corrupting the minds of young geography students. Chris de Freitas, who teaches Geography 101 at the University of Auckland, leaves his students with some wholly undesirable impressions about climate science, such as “I was shocked. I thought there was no more debate about climate change,” and “the last section was most alarming because I left thinking maybe the science isn’t settled.” The horror!
To Barton, the weather is all the proof required in order to ascertain that de Freitas is horribly wrong, referring to floods in China, Pakistan, Columbia, Sri Lanka, the Philipines, Queensland and the Mississippi. He is convinced that these and droughts in Russia, the Amazon, Texas all add up to one unchallengeable conclusion; that it is our fault. Once-in-a-century events, he claims. Really, Chris? By what measure are they considered once-in-a-century? By what measure does he consider all of these events to be unusual? It is the same pointless innuendo and conjecture that made Al Gore’s climate reality project a laughing stock.
Barton claims that the basic science is simple, talking about the increased energy in the atmosphere. This extra energy, he claims will lead to more snow. Warming leads to snow? Who would’ve thunk it? Cyclones too will be on the increase, claims Barton, except this “simple science” is disputed by eminent scientists like Richard Lindzen, Chris Landsea and Bill Gray. Barton’s simple science also ignores the debate amongst scientists over the changes in drought events. De Freitas wouldn’t be so stupid as to dispute this comprehensive coverage of “simple science”, would he? Actually, “in more extreme weather events perhaps? De Freitas doesn’t accept that extreme weather events are linked to human induced climate change.”Hisssss! Denier!
Barton nows steps into the realms of supreme weirdness with a complete denial of the role of nature. “As far as he’s concerned the climate has always changed – naturally.” Excuse me? Is this not the case, as far as Barton is concerned? Does he not think natural factors influence the climate? Barton thinks that correlation equals causation, so to de Freitas’ claim that current extreme weather is not unusual, he makes reference to the 31 billion tonnes (insignificant compared with the sheer size of the atmosphere) of carbon dioxide emitted last year. We’ve released record amounts of greenhouse gas, so that must be the cause of all the bad weather.
Barton seeks the views of Professor Glenn McGregor who comes up with a baffling statement. “There is no debate over the direction of change. Global warming is happening and will continue to happen and it is driven by human activities so the recent warming is not part of a natural cycle.” It would seem to me that the entire article is a debate. It would seem to me that de Freitas questioning the orthodoxy of climate science and other scientists responding, constitutes a debate, not to mention the thousands of other scientists who disagree. Perhaps McGregor is too much wrapped up in the enthralling authority of the IPCC. “If Chris has not mentioned the IPCC, that is regrettable because the IPCC process is very important.” I don’t know if McGregor is a part of this process or not, but he can find out all about the IPCC process in The Delinquent Teenager.
Barton then asks a question that skeptics have long asked. “So are the Geography 101 students being let down by getting only one view on the basics of climate change?”
Such an article wouldn’t be complete without an appeal to authority, and in 3,…2,…1. “To explain de Freitas’ view it’s necessary to acknowledge that he is one of a rare breed of climate scientists who oppose the climate change consensus as declared by the IPCC in 2007.” Barton then fails to question the origins of the arbitrary 90% confidence figure for the IPCC’s sweeping conclusion. “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”