There are serious debates to be had about climate change, and what we should do about it. Whether or not the Arctic ice is retreating is not one of them.
This is going to be a brief post, because other people – notably Phil Plait, the “Bad Astronomy” science blogger, and Martin Robbins, at Vice – have written about it at length, pointing out the fundamental nonsense of the “sea ice is recovering” brigade, and doing it better than I can. I just thought it was worth making it clear here, as well.
But here, in one graph, is why it’s utter testicles:
The bit in red is the “recovery” of this year. If you think that means that things are getting better, you genuinely must be an idiot. It’s not. The overwhelming long-term trend is still towards much less ice.
And yet reportedly intelligent people believe otherwise, including Members of Parliament. This is exactly the same as thinking a mild day in November means that winter has been averted. These people are either stupid or duplicitous.
But it’s a common trick. The same thing goes on with the “no warming since 1997” business: it’s true, 1998 was a record year, and it has stayed around that level since then. But the graph since 1880 puts that into context:
There is an ongoing debate over whether climate sensitivity is genuinely less than previously thought, or whether the slowing since 1998 is purely random. There is genuine debate to be had over whether adaptation might be more sensible in many cases than mitigation. But there is no serious debate over whether or not the world is warming, and will continue to warm, and whether people are causing it. And there is certainly no sensible way you can claim that Arctic sea ice is on the mend, without being an idiot.