Well, I sat through it, much to my disgust. It wasn’t easy. I don’t really know where to begin with the dissection of this truly awful climate change documentary from the BBC, so I guess I’ll just fire off this initial post picking up on one of the more obvious and egregious attempts to misinform the public.
The Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. It’s been largely submerged beneath the sea over the last 6 decades. The program gives the definite impression that the main reason for this inundation is sea level rise due to melting ice and thermal expansion of the oceans – driven by man-made climate change. Attenborough does mention oil extraction as a cause but his narrative is lost to the general tone of the messaging that this is a “climate catastrophe” and that the families driven from their homes in this part of Louisiana are some of the world’s first “climate refugees”. This is palpable bullshit.
Much has been written lately of the devastating coastal land loss that is dragging southern Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico. Erosion of the wetlands—in large part a result of activities by oil and gas companies—is causing the state to lose a football field of land every hour. This makes the region the fastest-disappearing landmass on earth. Isle de Jean Charles, a narrow strip of land in Terrebone Parish that is home to 25 families, is one of the communities in this region that is sinking into the sea.
So what’s causing this alarming rate of land loss? Simply put, a lot of things, and most of them are man made. The dredging of canals through the bayous to lay oil and gas pipelines has significantly contributed to erosion – by removing trees and plants that hold the wetlands together, by allowing salt water to course into fresh water marshes and by the invariable leaks that come from these pipelines. Additionally, sea level rise, logging, construction work and continued hurricanes have added to the land loss.
But the fact that natural climate change would occur with or without any type of human activity isn’t as a compelling story. It’s not until later in the article that the New York Times gets to one of the real reasons Isle de Jean Charles is disappearing:
“Channels cut by loggers and oil companies eroded much of the island, and decades of flood control efforts have kept once free-flowing rivers from replenishing the wetlands’ sediments.”
There’s quite a difference between man-caused coastal erosion and man-caused global warming.
I’ve started a transcript here:
Will probably be out and about for much of the weekend but will keep updating it as and when.
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The only way to make the case that we are in a “climate catastrophe” is to deceive.
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Thanks Alex, a transcript would be very useful. The program is on Youtube now.
So, is this dire piece of propaganda the current best-shot of those who seek their gratification, and their remuneration, from promoting panic about our impact on the climate system? The more widely, it is promoted, the more ‘sceptics’ will be produced, the more opportunities there will be to shred the hyperbolic claims and expose the gross irresponsibility of those making them.
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How soon they forget. The submergence of Louisiana’s barrier islands are a well known phenomenon, described and understood in basic geomorphological textbooks even when Attenborough was an undergraduate at Cambridge reading geology.
Rivers bring down sediment which, in the case of Mississippi type deltas are dumped when the river reaches the sea as advancing delta lobes. These enormous masses of sediment weigh down the crust causing subsidence. So long as the river keeps supplying sediment, the delta lobe makes up for any subsidence and continues to advance seawards. However as soon as the river switches course, supplying sediment to a different part of the delta, the now abandoned delta lobe ceases to grow and subsidence is not offset by new sediment supply. When the top of the delta lobe falls to sea level, storms sweep across it concentrating sand and forming it into linear barrier islands that become the only parts of the formerly emergent delta lobe above sealevel. With no additional sediment supply and continued subsidence the barrier islands come under continued attack from storms and eventually disappear- the sand that made them swept onto the now submergent parts of the delta lobe. All this is well known and has been documented in historical records. The Îsle Dernière was largely destroyed in the 1850s, converting into a chain of smaller islands, each of which grew smaller and eventually disappeared. This disappearance occurred without the aid of any man made global warming or any accelerating sea level rise.
David Attenborough should have known all this, smelt a rat and called a halt to any attempt to brand climate change a culprit.
Disturbance by oil companies cannot have helped any, but the demise of Isle de Jean Charles is inevitable and if promoted by human induced climate change, that would be indiscernable from other natural causes.
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Alex’s transcription takes us up to 10′ 35”. Here’s a continuation, taking us up to 21 minutes, while Alex takes a break. Transcribing is fascinating, since cutting out the visuals reveals just how little factual material there is. Apart from Prof. Shepherd telling us what temperature the ocean ought to be, no scientist gets more than ten consecutive seconds, while the Biltons get two whole minutes describing what it’s like driving through a forest fire. What made their forest fire different from any other forest fire in the past hundreds of millions of years is the fact that they had a video camera attached to the windscreen.
David Attenborough: I’ve seen for myself that in addition to the many other threats they face, animals of all kinds are now struggling to adapt to rapidly changing conditions.
Professor Catherine Mitchell (Energy Policy, University of Exeter): Think of the equator. As climate change occurs, that kind of central part of the world becomes increasingly uninhabitable
James Hansen: If climate change is too fast, we’re pushing them off the planet in effect. We’re causing extinction of species already, and that’s irreversible.
DA: Scientists believe that 8% of species are now at threat of extinction solely due to climate change. This isn’t just about losing wonders of nature. With the loss of even the smallest organisms, we destabilise and ultimately risk collapsing the world’s eco-systems, the networks that support the whole of life on earth.
Peter Stott: What’s been happening in recent years is really showing us what one degree Celsius really means, not just for wildlife but for people, for their safety, for their livelihoods and for their futures.
DA: As temperatures rise, the threats we face multiply. Last year saw record-breaking wildfires take hold across the globe.
(voice over mix): …firefighters are working around the clock … to be seen to be believed… Australia is seeing some of its worst fires in years…
Michael Mann: We’ve seen wildfires break out in Greece, and even in the Arctic,
…wildfire sweeping across some of the coldest countries on earth..
MM: We’ve seen a tripling in the extent of wildfires in the Western US, in California…
DA: The fires that swept through California last year caused 24 billion dollars worth of damage. 106 people lost their lives.
Naomi Orestes: We’re not just talking about an inconvenience, we’re talking about people’s lives, their livelihoods and their communities being damaged
PS: Wildfires need an ignition source
..what?… Oooh … big…
PS: Maybe ?? or lightning, and then you need the weather conditions that are conducive to that fire and that fire spreading.
..oooh… Do I go? Don’t wanna be trapped…
PS: Research has shown that the chances of having these very hot dry conditions has increased as a result of climate change.
…oh my God! Keep going, don’t stop… Easy, easy…
Justin Bilton: That was a dead end road so we knew that our only option was to drive forward, and all sides of the road were just completely engulfed in flame.
..??.. is going to explode..
Charles Bilton: He’s going: Dad! Dad! We’re gonna die, we’re gonna die, and I said: “No, we’re gonna be fine, y’know..”
…Oh Jesus God impossible…
CB: I stayed calm. I think being a father you’re trying to keep your son calm too at that point.
..we’re good, we’re good..
JB: We could hear the trees literally exploding and falling all around us
..Please God help us…
CB: A large branch went right over the top of the car, and the whole top of the roof was burning, and we didn’t realise it, and there was a tree down
JB: That was the moment when I really thought that we might die
…Oh God…Pop, pop.. Back it up… Back it up, yeah..
JB: I said, put the car into reverse, and I had to drive backwards through everything we had already passed through to the lake shore.
CB: And this one little boat was down there watching the fire. And we were able to wave them in to help us get out of there. That to me was just a miracle.
DA: But it’s not just through extreme heat events that climate change is having an effect. It’s changing our weather systems in other ways.
PS: This is a basic result of physics . With a degree Celcius of warming, there’s more moisture evaporating off the oceans
?: When there’s more moisture in the air, you’re gonna get more rain, you’re gonna get super storms and force flooding
MM: We are seeing the impacts of climate change now, play out in real time. They’re no longer subtle
Sunita Narain (Director General, Centre for Science and Environment):
You’ve had the worst rain in China, in Japan, you’ve had a deluge in Kerala
… the crisis deepens for hundreds of thousands in Kerala…
DA: Whilst they can’t all be attributed to climate change, last year’s extreme weather events meant that millions of people needed humanitarian aid.
Sunita Narain: Join the dots. It’s happening. It’s happening in your world, it’s happening in my world. And, let’s be very clear about this. It is going to get much worse.
DA: Climate change goes far beyond the weather. Thousands of miles away, and out of sight of most of us, another threat is building. Earth’s ice, frozen for millennia, is melting.
Prof. Andrew Shepherd (Climate Scientist, University of Leeds):
Earth’s temperature has risen by what most people would think is a small amount over the past century, by about a degree centigrade, and that’s too much for earth’s ice to withstand. In the last year we’ve had a global assessment of ice losses from Antarctica and from Greenland, and they tell us that things are worse than we’d expected. The Greenland ices sheet is melting. It’s lost four trillion tons of ice, and it’s losing five times as much ice today as it was twenty five years ago. If you go to the Southern hemisphere, in the past, most of the models predicted that Antarctica would grow. That’s not the case. Antarctica is losing three times as much ice today as it was twenty five years ago. In Antarctica, really small changes in ocean temperature in particular can melt a lot of ice. The ocean is only about half a degree centigrade warmer than it should be, but that’s melting colossal amounts of ice from enormous glaciers. The water that melts from the ice sheets ends up in one place, and that’s the oceans, and that’s when it starts to affect people around the rest of the planet.
JH: Sea level has been stable for several thousand years. But if the ice sheets lose icebergs, faster and faster to the ocean, the sea level goes up.
?: We know that sea level has already risen by about twenty centimetres in the last hundred years.
DA: Rising seas are displacing hundreds of thousands of people from already vulnerable coastal areas in the South Pacific, Indonesia, Bangladesh.
Colette Pichon Battle (Executive Director, Gulf Coast Centre for Law and Policy):
The impact on families is going to be something that I don’t think we could ever prepare for. In the United States, Louisiana is on the frontline of this climate crisis. It’s losing land at one of the fastest rates on the planet, at about the rate of a football field every forty five minutes.
DA: The Ile de St Charles was once home to 400 people, but subsidence caused by oil and gas extraction, and now, rising seas, means that in the last six decades, much of it has disappeared.
Chief Albert Paquin: Before, this was all land. But due to sea level rise, slowly but surely it’s washing away. What we’re looking at here is where I was born and raised, in 1946. Sad, very very sad to see what happened to my mum and dad’s home, and where they raised us at. I want to finish my life as well over here.
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Apologies to John whose comment went into moderation for some strange reason. The ways of WordPress are indeed mysterious.
I nominate Alan to narrate the next ‘climate change – the facts’ documentary for the BBC! We might actually get some facts.
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Brilliant – many thanks, Geoff, I’ll be adding this material as soon as I can.
Also just realised that Craig at the Is the BBC Biased blog has done a full transcript:
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“Sea level has been stable for several thousand years” – and still is. It wasn’t stable during the early Holocene when sea levels rose rapidly due to the melting of massive ice sheets formed during the last glacial. Sea level has been relatively stable for the last six or seven thousand years, but it does go up and down slightly as the world gets warmer and cooler. It’s been increasing slightly since the end of the LIA and there is no evidence of a sustained and rapid acceleration due to modern warming since 1950. Greenland and the Antarctic are not melting away. Catastrophic SLR is a projection of what will happen if the world continues to warm rapidly, by several degrees above pre-industrial. We’ve warmed 1C and there is no sign of an acceleration.
Jaime. Thanks for the vote of confidence but it would never do – I worked for evil fossil fuel companies and encouraged/sponsored my innocent students to work for others. I’m beyond the pale.
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As Geoff says, it’s remarkable how few facts there were in the programme. As Delingpole puts it, “even the title was a lie”.
Paul Homewood has a very good blog post which contains far more facts than the BBC’s hour of emotional rhetoric and disaster porn.
Homewood quotes the IPCC three times in support of his claims. Now, how many times was the IPCC cited in “Climate, change the facts”? And by whom? Check the transcript to find out!
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The programme claims that climate is becoming more extreme. One manifestation is more heatwaves.
Following Jaime’s article Canada’s Burning and it’s Mostly Because of Humans Says Federal Government Report, I looked at the underlying data. The results are surprising.
– Winters (with average temperatures well below zero) have warmed by more than the summers.
– The most recent of the top 42 national hot temperature records was in 1962, 1.7°C below the all-time record of 45.0 °C set in 1937
– The most recent of the top 31 national cold temperature records was −49.8 °C on January 11, 2018, 13.2°C above the all-time record of -63.0 °C set in 1947.
– The top 31 national cold temperature records are from locations in 11 of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada. Extreme cold is random over time and widely dispersed geographically in Canada.
Overall, the data suggests that climate is changing for the better in Canada.
Josh was not overly impressed with the programme.
As Paul Matthews almost points out above (check the transcript for the answer to his question) none of the alarmists in the programme mentioned the IPCC. Other subjects which strangely failed to turn up included: polar bears; ice ages and interglacials; disappearing Arctic ice; intermittency; China; Climategate; satellite temperature measurement; the 106 out of 107 models that got it wrong; increased greening as measured by Boston University (Zhu et al 2016); hockey sticks. There was a hockey stick graph shown (the only ‘scientific” evidence in the whole show) but its elbow comes about 150 years later than in Mann’s graph – at about right now, in fact.
According to Scotese paleomap project equator temperature is remakably stable in a warner world.
Nice job, Jamie
There’s an interesting graph here too:
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So some people are starting to notice the erosion of free speech and discussion we have been discussing here.
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Hunter, I like Godfrey Bloom. Talks a lot of sense. I used to follow him on Twitter.
Thanks to physics, which the climate extremists ignore, energy is removed from the equator quite rapidly. It is moved towards the poles, where thanks to basic physics, it is concentrated (amplified) for ultimate removal from the Earth.
Since part of that energy transfer involves rain, it is safe to say that the academic promoting the idea of a lifeless equator is as credible as the walrus/climate scam Attenborough is pushing.
The climate extremists are an interesting type of superstitious idiocy of a Monty Python level with a veneer of science and the whole smithered in apocalyptic claptrap and deceitfulness.