President Obama kicked off his three-day tour of Alaska to highlight global warming by commending the work of GLACIER on Monday, saying world leaders weren’t doing enough to “stop global warming.” Obama is visiting carefully choreographed areas that appear to show the negative consequences of a warming world. This apocalyptic doom and gloom has been the hallmark of his second term, even as much more tangible threats such as ISIS and Iran are considered far more pressing than climate change.
What he didn’t discuss was that each of the sites he is visiting was carefully chosen ahead of time to show the apparent effects of global warming. As Steven Goddard of the popular science blog Real Science noted, Alaskan glaciers had lost half their mass before 1950, long before the Industrial revolution took off around the world.
In fact, Obama is the 44th president to witness glacier melting in Alaska. During George Washington’s presidency, Glacier Bay was retreating eight feet per day. And according to the Alaska Climate Research Center, “Alaska temperatures have declined 0.1 degrees since Jimmy Carter was president—during the ice age scare.”
The president will also highlight the so-called increase in Alaskan forest fires, except during 1972, 1974 and 1977, they all had much larger burns than the average of the last ten years. Obama warned that the effects of global warming were “submerging entire countries, annihilating cities and leaving fields barren” unless more is done to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. He told the GLACIER (Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience) meeting at least four times in a 24-minute speech that “we’re not acting fast enough.”
All of this rhetorical stagecraft is part of the administration’s plan to show carefully selected “receding glaciers, eroded shorelines and rising seas” to drum up support for an international treaty to limit CO2 emissions at the upcoming Paris Climate Talks in December.
As previously reported here, Obama has pledged that the United States will cut emissions by 26 percent by 2025, even though the largest emitter of CO2, China, will get a free pass until 2030, and will only comply if it chooses to abide by the new rules.
It should also be noted that according to the satellite record dataset, there has been no statistical warming in 18 years and 7 months. This is contrary to the highly controversial dataset used by NOAA and NASA which relies on land- and sea-based temperatures and are “adjusted” regularly as many measuring sites are located near heat sinks such as airports and concrete structures. Starting in 1979, orbiting satellites have been measuring the atmosphere five miles up and are accurate to within .001 degrees Celsius.
Also reported here is that Arctic sea ice volume has increased by a third in 2013 and that this growth continued into last year. Compared to the average of the period between 2010 and 2012, a 33 percent increase in sea ice volume was found in 2013 and and in 2014 there was still a quarter more ice than during that period. As Jim Lakely, director of communications at the Heartland Institute, writes today: “The fact is, current [sea] ice extent on the North Pole is within the normal range of what satellites have accurately measured” since 1979.
Still, while Obama laments the so-called decline of all that sea ice, he is not opposed to more drilling in the very state he’s using as a backdrop to cement his climate legacy. Maybe that’s why protesters have “criticized his support for offshore oil drilling in Alaska” by allowing Royal Dutch Shell to begin expanded exploration for oil off Alaska’s northwest coast.
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