BPSDB Regulars will know that I have been a huge fan of Potholer54 who has done some excellent climate science videos:
I was not at all pleased with his fourth, “Climate Change — Gore vs. Durkin” where he looks at both “The Swindle” and “An Inconvenient Truth.” Potholer seems to have fallen into a trap of attempting to seem even handed, not favouring one side of the issue or the other, see ‘Very disappointing‘ for the discussion.
I found his most recent one also somewhat disappointing even though it is mostly pretty good. “11. Climate Change — Hurricanes, atolls and coral” was also released as “Climate Change Are we all going to drown?”
You may disagree (and please comment if you do), but I get the impression Potholer is going too far in “debunking sensationalism.” Take the issue of Tuvalu as presented in his video. As far as I know he is pretty much correct in all that he says viz expanding atolls, coral etc, but he leaves you with the impression that Tuvalu and the other South Pacific Islands are therefore in no particular danger.
What’s missing is explicitly pointing out that:
- While coral has so far been able to keep up with the current rate of sea level rise, all indications are that the rate of rise is going to accelerate. How much and how soon are (as far as I know) unknowns, but if you happen to live on these islands that is an important question.
- Even if 1) were not a problem, our current emissions trajectory means the water most certainly is going to warm sufficiently to kill the coral, and/or acidify sufficiently to kill it. Either way the status quo kills the coral, and at that point the islands will begin to succumb to sea level rise.
So it is not really a question of ‘if‘ the South Pacific Islands are at risk, it’s “when“. As things stand the islands are definitely going to be inundated. Granted that is logically implicit from the video, but not the feeling one is left with. I suspect the islanders would appreciate it if it was explicit.
Then there is the alternate posting of Are we all going to drown? That is Straw Man sensationalism on his part since those who warn about the threat of sea level rise are quite clear that the threat is lost land and infrastructure, ground water infiltration, etc. Outside of Hollywood I have not seen anyone suggesting that we are going to drown.
As noted before, Climate Change — Those hacked e-mails is an excellent one on the CRU hack, and I am happy to report that
is also very good (bearing in mind that it was done before the various review panels did their thorough investigations). With the anniversary of the hack it is good to remind everyone that there was nothing to the emails at all.
Number 8 takes on Carter & the ‘Cooling since 1998″ myth and the Michael Andrews solar fraud. While mostly good he suggests that Carter “misunderstood” the technique for determining trends. This is nonsense in my opinion.
We are talking about a sophomoric cherry picking trick being used by someone who trained as a scientist. Further, the correct techniques are simple and freely available, so it is simple incompetence or misconduct not to have used them. I repeat, this is basic.
This was quickly followed by
which nicely debunks the “Phils Jones said” myth(s).
Debunks the alleged credentials of John Coleman, Monckton, Carter, Chapman, and the signatories of the Oregon Petition. It then does a nice job of making a distinction between having the skills as a scientist to have studied and understood a topic area, and whether one ever actually had done so. There is also a delicious evisceration of CV fraud Tim Ball that would make it all worthwhile even if the rest were not worthwhile.
Unfortunately the apparent ongoing need to appear even handed makes him note that Al Gore, Leonard Dicaprio etc are not scientists either. Fair enough, but none of them have ever pretended to have those credentials, something many Deniers are guilty of. While none of those named are climate scientists only the Deniers claim to be; it’s an important and telling distinction.
As if that were not enough credential inflation, let’s not forget that in the Denialosphere there are only “Top Scientists”, no average working lab & field stiffs, just the creme de la creme (according to them). Well, I guess if you are going to lie about your credentials you may as well go the whole way.
Potholer then quite correctly emphasizes that what matters is the data and the research, but in my opinion then undermines it by then putting too much emphasis on having the credential of being a climatologist.
If you have done the work to understand the science and the scientific method, have mastered them, then I don’t care if you never formally finished grade 6, you are an authority. On the other hand, if you have all of the credentials, but by by malice or incompetence do fraudulent cherry picking and go around misrepresenting the real science at every turn, then you are not.
This one is about the reported possible collapse of the Gulf stream and the possibility of triggering an ice age. Although not about the Denier meme about a 1970s ice age scare, it is actually an excellent resource demonstrating how the popular media create a myth of scientific consensus about something that has no basis in the scientific community itself.
So all in all Potholer54 continues to be good, but unfortunately with some caveats. Maybe I am being unfair and would definitely appreciate feedback on that. Thanks.
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