We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Climate horror show at the RI

Someone who well deserves to be high up on the climate usual-suspects list is Bill McGuire, who is Professor of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at University College, London. He’s giving a lecture at the Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, on 21 February. The blurb for this on the RI website reads as follows:

Tuesday 21 February 2012
7.00pm to 8.30pm – Good availability
Lecturers: Prof Bill McGuire

Twenty thousand years ago our planet was an icehouse. Temperatures were down six degrees; ice sheets kilometres thick buried much of Europe and North America and sea levels were 130m lower. The following 15 millennia saw an astonishing transformation as our planet metamorphosed into the temperate world upon which our civilisation has grown and thrived.

One of the most dynamic periods in Earth history saw rocketing temperatures melt the great ice sheets like butter on a hot summer’s day; feeding torrents of freshwater into ocean basins that rapidly filled to present levels. The removal of the enormous weight of ice at high latitudes caused the crust to bounce back triggering earthquakes in Europe and North America and provoking an unprecedented volcanic outburst in Iceland. A giant submarine landslide off the coast of Norway sent a tsunami crashing onto the Scottish coast while around the margins of the continents the massive load exerted on the crust by soaring sea levels encouraged a widespread seismic and volcanic rejoinder.

In many ways, this post-glacial world mirrors that projected to arise as a consequence of unmitigated climate change driven by human activities. Already there are signs that the effects of climbing global temperatures are causing the sleeping giant to stir once again. Could it be that we are on track to bequeath to our children and their children not only a far hotter world, but also a more geologically fractious one?

In this talk, Bill McGuire argues that climate change is once more setting the scene for the giant to reawaken, and we can already see the signs.

Tickets: £10 standard, £7 concessions and £5 Members

Make a night of it! Come for a cocktail or something delicious, modern and British to eat in the bar. The bar and café at the Ri has the perfect atmosphere for a night out.

…Seeing this prompted me to send an email to Prof. McGuire:

Dear Professor McGuire

My eye was caught by the description of your forthcoming lecture at the RI on the 21st. It sounds fascinating: I hope I can get there.

But I think somebody at the RI has let you down. According to the blurb at http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayContent&id=00000005647:

>> Twenty thousand years ago our planet was an icehouse. Temperatures were down six degrees; ice sheets kilometres thick buried much of Europe and North America and sea levels were 130m lower. The following 15 millennia saw an astonishing transformation …

– and then:

>> In many ways, this post-glacial world mirrors that projected to arise as a consequence of unmitigated climate change driven by human activities. Already there are signs that the effects of climbing global temperatures are causing the sleeping giant to stir once again. Could it be that we are on track to bequeath to our children and their children not only a far hotter world, but also a more geologically fractious one?

I assume some air-headed press officer at the RI thought it would be a good marketing ploy to bracket a serious scientific account of the effects of a sea rise of the order of 100 metres with the effects of the rise projected by the IPCC for the lifetimes of our grandchildren.

Makes those Daily Mail climate-change deniers look sober by comparison!

I know it might be hard for you to inject some sanity at this late stage, but can you do anything to get the RI Web page corrected?

Best,

Chris Cooper

______________________________

Chris Cooper
Science writer and editor

[… & full contact details]
______________________________

I suppose this could be classified as a troll, if person-to-person emails can be trolls. Certainly, it was meant to be provocative. And it was a tiny bit deceptive in that I was pretending to believe that BM wasn’t personally responsible for his own publicity, whereas I don’t doubt for a moment that he drafted it himself, judging by his past output (for example, “ ‘Tiny’ climate changes may trigger quakes“.)

But one man’s troll is another man’s well-aimed rapier thrust – and I had one, small, precisely defined target for my challenge: “bracketing a serious scientific account of the effects of a sea rise of the order of 100 metres with the effects of the rise projected by the IPCC for the lifetimes of our grandchildren.”

Anyway, Prof. McGuire didn’t rise to the bait, and didn’t reply. His self-publicizing climate-alarmist hype on the RI site is unchanged. I don’t know whether I can bear to be at the event.

11 comments to Climate horror show at the RI

  • Russ

    Bring popcorn, sit in the back, smirk a lot?
    Clearly serious conversation is inappropriate here, so why not present it as Comedy Gold?

  • Hmm

    For such a ‘hazardous’ talk …don’t go alone… take along a blow up polar bear.., and when the bull gets too great to bear, just let some air out of it to make farting noises.

  • RAB

    And the winning words are, fumbles to open envelope…

    Could it be?

    And the Eric Von Daniken Award for Credulous Speculation without a scrap of Evidence, goes this year to…

    Prof Bill McGuire

  • So just what was it that transformed the earth from an icehouse to a temperate planet? Perhaps you can ask the good Professor to enlighten us on that point.

  • Grant Freeman

    Better take your scuba-diving kit if you’re going, just in case of a sudden tsumani.

  • Hmm

    RAB, Brilliant! I like it….

    the Eric Von Daniken Award for Credulous Speculation without a scrap of Evidence

    … that really deserves to become a blog of its own – with truly credulous awards :)

  • RAB

    Ta Hmm, much appreciated ;-)

  • An excellent post. I thought that this alarmism was on the wane, especially since the Himalayan Glaciers fiasco of two years ago. In the last week a study has shown that the Glaciers are not disappearing at all – let alone at an accelerating rate.
    Has anyone noticed that climatology treats “evidence” the exact opposite to a common law criminal trail? The hearsay evidence (“this body agrees with…”) is at the forefront, along with weak, circumstantial evidence often only tangential to the main argument. What is lacking is direct evidence, or strong circumstantial evidence like DNA or fingerprints.

  • Stonyground

    I like to visit various ‘sciency’ blogs and notice that they are still more or less universal on the whole CAGW being real and calling anyone who disagrees a denier. Having tried to look at the argument from both sides and keep an open mind, it seems to me that soon the game will be up. There are already dire predictions that are failing to happen and these failures are likely to become more frequent. I am wondering how much contrition there will eventually be from those who were so absulutely certain that they were right?

  • Tom

    I remember meeting Bill McGuire on several occasions a long, long time ago before he was a professor and before he became “famous”. Overall he seemed a fairly dull sort of person locked into a specialised area of study.

    I’m not going to cast doubt on his knowledge of volcanoes but I’ve often wondered what his peers really think of him as it seems to me that he’s become an “expert” on the back of some clever self promotion over the years. As a specialist in volcanology, he’s certainly not qualified to speak on climate change, man-made or otherwise but it wouldn’t be the first time he’s made extravagant and exaggerated claims outside of his area of expertise.

  • Jack Savage

    The non-reply.
    The favourite tactic of the scientifically challenged.