The Irish Times no longer allows comments without subscription


And here is the comment I would have liked to make regarding a suggestion “any chance of bringing back John Gibbons’s regular column?”. The context for the first two paragraphs is a Gibbons piece published November 3rd 2017:  Ireland showing reckless disregard for climate justice

I also find that, had the Irish Times still allowed me to comment, I would have run into a length limitation which would only permit a comment half this length. Luckily I restricted myself to nonsense in the first six minutes of the Trocaire video, and by Gibbons alone rather than by any of his fellow participants!

If the editor must continue to waste readers money on bombast from your commentator John Gibbons, at least try to get him to stick to the same story, rather than pulling figures out of the air, or some other dark spot. Actual fact checking would be a bonus.

Take “The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3 million-5 million years ago. Then, global average temperatures were 2-3 degrees warmer than today and sea level was 10m-20m higher.”

At least this has pulled back a little from his Trocaire video (“Drop in the Ocean?”” version): “three million years ago, when there was that much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, global sea levels were 20 metres higher than they are today”, and a lot from his tweet of April 14th last year: “The last time global CO2 levels were this high, sea level was c. 50 metres higher than today”

That Trocaire video provides further evidence, all within the first 5 minutes, that this “environmental writer and commentator” does not understand what he is talking about. Take “The ph of the oceans have risen by, I think it’s about 30% since the 1950s.” A rising pH value would correspond to the oceans becoming more alkaline (the litmus paper turns blue rather than read for those of us who studied science to at least intermediate or junior cert level), rather than less alkaline, which is presumably what he means. At least he prefixes his “about 30%” by “I think”, rather than asserting 30% in his usual style. His 30%, even corrected to “fallen”, is again of course divorced from reality – but hey, isn’t he entitled to his own facts as well as his own opinions in accordance with the general dispensation accorded by the Church of Alarmism. Fidelity to facts as sacred is only to be expected of the rest of us.

What John Gibbons is mangling here is presumably from IPCC AR5 WG1: “”The pH of surface seawater has decreased by 0.1 since
the beginning of the industrial era, corresponding to a 26% increase
in hydrogen ion concentration” (page 259). A decrease of 0.1 is not a rise of 30%. That 30% is presumably the 26% increase in hydrogen ion concentration,exaggerated by only a modest 15% for good measure. Even though he failed to understand what he was briefed to say, and mangled it, he still presents this nonsense convincingly. And no one else associated with this production either spotted the nonsense, or more disturbingly, if they did spot it, felt it useful to leave it uncorrected.

Move on to six minutes, and John claims “Now if we get sea level rises as projected by the IPCC by mid century to late century, we are looking at 1, 2 and in some cases several metres of sea level rise – that means we are going to lose this infrastructure”. The IPCC however does not project one,two or several metres sea level rise, even with John Gibbons customary cherry-picking of RCP 8.5 as if this was “the” IPCC projection. Consult Table SPM.2 in the Summary for Policymakers, to find that the actual IPCC projection even with RCP 8.5 is 0.30 metres, with a likely range 0.22 to 0.38 metres by mid-century, 0.63 metres, with likely range 0.45 to 0.82 metres by late century. John may believe his 1, 2 and in some cases several metres, but claiming that the IPCC projects this is simply untrue, and a misrepresentation which he is not entitled to make. Sea level rise has been going on for centuries, and can be presumed will continue, just not at the nonsensical rate John claims. John listens to a cherry-picked handful of alarmists who are way outside his famous 97% consensus.

No editor, ask for your money back and ignore suggestions that you bring back his regular column.

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