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Antarctic ice shelf melt 'lowest EVER recorded, global warming is NOT eroding it'

Human CO2 just not a big deal at Pine Island Glacier

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The usual suspects will no doubt choose to play the man rather than the ball here and complain that this article is an example of cherry-picking by an evil climate "denier", probably funded by the Koch brothers and unqualified to write on climate matters - and also that we never point out other research suggesting that in fact the Antarctic sheet will shortly slide off into sea inundating us all in movie-plot menace style.

Some notes on that:

1) We here on The Register climate desk actually do offer plenty of standard doom coverage - knock yourselves out, green readers. At the moment it is mostly not nearly as much read as the sceptical stuff. That latter may serve to illustrate the fact that reputable research from top boffins like this, suggesting that the human race is perhaps not imminently menaced by carbon emissions, is news - whereas the idea that it is imminently menaced is rather old hat.

2) Your correspondent "denies" nothing. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, plain and simple, and massive releases of it will obviously warm the atmosphere up to some degree. How much remains pretty uncertain: and the consequences of this uncertain warming in terms of sea levels, crop yields etc are very uncertain indeed. But it could be true that carbopocalypse is upon us - just as it could be true that we face species extinction or global disaster in the coming century from an asteroid or comet strike, or global pandemic, or some other threat.

3) What is really a lot more certain - and this is admitted by hardline greens - is that a shift to all or mostly renewable power means incredibly expensive energy and abandonment of economic growth. That means that the great majority of the human race, including many rich westerners who today live in reasonable comfort, must henceforth descend into/remain in miserable poverty under such a plan. Expensive luxuries such as welfare states and pensioners, proper healthcare (watch out for that pandemic), reasonable public services, affordable manufactured goods and transport, decent personal hygiene, space programmes (watch out for the meteor!) etc etc will all have to go if there is to be no economic growth. It won't be a painless matter of buying a G-Wiz, insulating the loft and getting rid of some small, cheap government departments like the nuclear weapons programme.

4) It is very likely, then, that the suggested climate cure will cause more misery than the disease. Sea defences capable of dealing with a 1m rise would be very, very cheap by comparison and a lot of farmers would actually be better off under global warming.

5) As to the ad hominem criticism. Your humble correspondent today, it is true, holds no PhD in climatology, pays only occasional visits to the climate beat over relatively recent times, and - horror - for a long time was not even a journalist (!). However the idea that this means I must not report on climate-related matters while normal environment or "science" correspondents can would seem pretty silly. Many such normal correspondents visibly don't even understand what a Watt is, how windfarms are paid for, etc etc. Frankly, if my climate/energy reporting is ignorant or activist, it is much less so than most.

6) The more general idea that The Register must not report on climate matters (unless, presumably, we do so in a politically correct way) falls under the eternal "where's the IT angle?" complaint and will not be given a lot of sympathy. We've always been "Sci/Tech news for the World", remember.

7) Koch brothers/oil industry funding. The only money we at The Reg have ever had that you could put even close to this are a couple of minor ad deals with the Norwegian government petro firm, Statoil. Those ads sought to suggest that Blighty might like to buy more relatively clean and reliable natural gas to help fund Norway's social miracles - as opposed to turning to coal or buying unreliable supplies from the Kremlin to fund weapons programmes and oppression. That ad money was not enough to be important to The Register commercially and involved no influence whatsoever on editorial stance - none was so much as hinted at. Your correspondent personally has never received a penny from writing about climate/energy issues other than as part of a Register salary.

8) Given all the above, comments on this site which just say "Lewis is evil" or "you know this is all utter guff" or in particular which show signs of being astroturf are, yes, liable to be suppressed. Play nice, commentards - especially new commentards.

Note from your friendly Mods

We've shut down the comments thread due to moderation burden... But before you cry foul, please be advised that moderators will never nix a comment merely because they find your argument "unacceptable" or "can't handle the truth" or don't agree with you. Hogwash. We love to hear your opinions, are keen to see you "show your work" in terms of what you've read to reach them, are happy to see you engage in reasoned arguments, rebuttals, extensions et cetera. However, there will be no name-calling, and no calling each other liars or idiots or brain-damaged and the like. For pity's sake, address the argument, not the man (or woman). Our comments section is lively and it is visited by many bright individuals, so while I understand the topic is emotive, I put it to you that even the cleverest of put-downs is not as good as a killer argument.

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