Ice Capades: Greenpeace recants polar ice claim, but "emotionalizing" is OK

Well it is that time of year again, the Arctic ice begins to melt, as it does every year, and all sorts of crazy talk starts coming out. This time from Greenpeace. I am encouraged though, as they have come around to the idea that maybe they are doing more harm than good by overselling the alarmism.

NSIDC also has taken a more moderate tone, announcing that there will “likely be no record low ice extent in 2009“. This is a sharp contrast to last year’s ridiculous press statement from NSIDC’s Dr. Mark Serreze about an “ice free north pole”. Now that Greenpeace has come clean on their statement, maybe Dr. Serreze will finally admit his statement was “a mistake”. – Anthony

From Not Evil Just Wrong:

The outgoing leader of Greenpeace has admitted his organization’s recent claim that the Arctic Ice will disappear by 2030 was “a mistake.”

Greenpeace made the claim in a July 15 press release entitled “Urgent Action Needed As Arctic Ice Melts,” which said there will be an ice-free Arctic by 2030 because of global warming.

Under close questioning by BBC reporter Stephen Sackur on the “Hardtalk” program, Gerd Leipold, the retiring leader of Greenpeace, said the claim was wrong.

“I don’t think it will be melting by 2030. … That may have been a mistake,” he said.

Sackur said the claim was inaccurate on two fronts, pointing out that the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present.

The BBC reporter accused Leipold and Greenpeace of releasing “misleading information” and using “exaggeration and alarmism.”

Leipold’s admission that Greenpeace issued misleading information is a major embarrassment to the organization, which often has been accused of alarmism but has always insisted that it applies full scientific rigor in its global-warming pronouncements.

Although he admitted Greenpeace had released inaccurate but alarming information, Leipold defended the organization’s practice of “emotionalizing issues” in order to bring the public around to its way of thinking and alter public opinion.

Leipold said later in the BBC interview that there is an urgent need for the suppression of economic growth in the United States and around the world. He said annual growth rates of 3 percent to 8 percent cannot continue without serious consequences for the climate.

“We will definitely have to move to a different concept of growth. … The lifestyle of the rich in the world is not a sustainable model,” Leipold said. “If you take the lifestyle, its cost on the environment, and you multiply it with the billions of people and an increasing world population, you come up with numbers which are truly scary.”


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(Watch the full BBC interview with Leipold here.)

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John W.

Did he, perhaps, describe how he proposed to lower his standard of living?

Ron de Haan

Without a scare, any scare, Greenpeace would not exist.
Thanks to Stephen Sackur for is sensible remarks and questions.

George E. Smith

Well that’s a cute trick; compare the July average with the annual average, and report that the summer average is lower than the annual average.
Maybe they think people are dumb enough to belief that the polar ice never changes during the year (if everything is working “properly”.
Then there is also a new letter from Dr Martin Hertzberg, a retired Navy Meteorologist, hitting the NYT between the eyes with the 2 x 4 approach.
“It’s the Clouds, Stupid!”. Which is pretty much what I have been saying ever since I got myself involved in this question.
You can find Dr Hertzberg’s letter over at Marc Morano’s Climate Depot.
George

Tim S.

“Leipold said later in the BBC interview that there is an urgent need for the suppression of economic growth in the United States and around the world.”
Yes, feeding and clothing people = BAD.
Al Gore flying around in jet = GOOD.
Somebody lock these people up before they do damage.

DaveF

I expect Greenpeace meant to say that the Arctic Sea would be ice-free by 2030, which might happen if the world kept on warming like the eighties and nineties, but said “Arctic” instead. Very sloppy for an organisation that considers itself to be “scientific”.

Fred from Canuckistan . . .

Wow ! This guy is bombing the bridges in front of his organization’s Gravy Train. HE is breaking the first and last rules on Environmental Whackoism.
How do they expect to scare people into donating money if they don’t fear monger & use hysterical claims ?

AEGeneral

Leipold said later in the BBC interview that there is an urgent need for the suppression of economic growth in the United States and around the world.
It’s ironic that the very people who openly promote “change” are the ones who are least able to cope with it.
I guess they yearn for a world where advancement doesn’t outpace their intellect. And the music never dies. And the climate never changes.
I feel a country music song coming on…..

Glug

It’s clear from the press release that this claim of “ice free summers” refers specifically to the arctic sea ice. It’s not clear, in this context that this claim is an exaggeration. Of course it would be an exaggeration in the context of the Greenland ice sheet, but it plainly doesn’t. Sakur is either misinformed, has misread the press release or has performed a bait and switch / built a straw man to skewer Liepold. Liepold even admits ignorance about the particular press release, so his mistake is purely conditional upon the veracity of Sakur’s claims, which are false. You should make a correction to reflect this.

Glug

George, try looking at volume not area and this inconsistency is removed.

F. Ross

How nice of them to admit the error.
“Sackur said the claim was inaccurate on two fronts, pointing out that the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present.”
Never heard this figure [3km] before. Misprint? Error? Correct?
Anybody have a credible figure and source?

Pieter F

Will we now see Scott Pelley at 60 Minutes do a piece about this recantation?
Doubt it.

Douglas DC

Greenpiece (as in piece ‘o the money pie) really lost me back in the late 80’s.My wife and I lived in Port Orford,Or. We were walking along Orford Head, which is a bit of land and rock sticking out into the pacific.We were stinng looking at the nice day,rock and ocean-the place is a lot like the coast of Wales and Scotland’s west coast,when we hear
the awful racket- a big,noisy motorsailer chugging into port.I said “Look at that piece
of junk!””It was leaving a good cloud of smoke from the ‘D’-sail exhaust.
It was the Rainbow Warrior, in port for a little protest of mining the ocean.They threw up the Mains, shut the ‘D’ sail down and sailed into port-for the media and their admirers.That coupled with a picture I had of their old PBY Catalina that they had dripping oil on the ramp in Athens Greece,with no drip pans or cat litter,that was the final straw…

Sandy

He’s referring to to the Greenland ice-cap which is ice and is in the Arctic. So that’s alright then.

Sam the Skeptic

I think you’ll find that Leipold, like most of the Greenies, believes that as long as the proles do their bit the elite can carry on pretty much as they like.
I didn’t watch this interview first time round (my blood pressure’s not what it was and I thought Sackur was too much of a devotee) but was delighted when the Beeb repeated it, and pretty pleased with the result.
Last night’s interview with Lovelock didn’t pull any punches either. Maybe someone in the BBC has at last cottoned on to the idea that there is another point of view?
At least Lovelock is credible though at 90 it shouldn’t be too difficult for the Moonbats to convince themselves he’s lost his marbles.
Here’s the link:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/8206892.stm

Douglas DC

“were sitting looking…” dang it…

Denny

Nothing new here! Did you notice how hard he tried to get around the question being asked? Alarmists love to scare, exemplifiy their articles to get the public reading their statements. It was great to see the interviewer pushing! It’s about time and more and more the Wall of BS starts to fall.
Now it’s time to take Climate Change in it’s Scientific view, not Political, and research what really makes Climate Change tick! To realize that Science is constantly in Flux, so to say. Theories constantly change, constantly can be challenged with one little fact and change the whole hypothesis, and so on and so on! That’s Real Science. You have to remember, Climate Change is Abnormal in it’s workings, normal is always short term IMO. Extremes in Weather is the norm and unpreditable at the present beyond 3-5days. Meteorology is always changing their predictions to the latest Climate Change! For this is what the Public demands!
Alarmists need a new agenda, like watching out for large Meteor’s, Asteroids and Comets ready to hit the Earth. Of course, we have to thank the Alarmists on one note, and that is the awareness they brought upon Mother Earth. But only that!!

Robinson

My eyes, they must need checking. Did I just see a BBC presenter giving a warmist a very hard time live on air? It cannot be true.

Indiana Bones

Tim S. (10:06:14) :
Somebody lock these people up before they do damage.

Pick up a newspaper Tim. They trumpet the damage daily.

When the day is over there are going to be quite a few people (global warming alarmists) with egg on their face.
It will be interesting to see how they try to wiggle out of it.

Denny

Robinson
Yes, it is true and I hope you were sitting down! LOL! 🙂

h.oldeboom

They are loosing members.

Sam the Skeptic

DouglasDC
Didin’t Greenpeace scuttle Rainbow Warrior after the French turned it into a heap of useless metal in NZ?
Claimed it would provide a nice comfy home for the cuddly fish.
Then screamed foul and made great political capital out of Shell trying to do the same thing with Brent Spar?
Eventually they admitted they’d got their facts wrong but said it didn’t matter because they’d been right “in principle”.
“Towards the end of the campaign, in the absence of official figures, Greenpeace released its own estimate of the amount of oil left on the Brent Spar. However, we quickly realised that our improvised measurements had been taken from the wrong part of the Spar, resulting in a significant overestimation of the amount of oil left in the storage tanks. As soon as it became aware of the error, Greenpeace proactively apologised. Although almost unreported at the time, the estimate subsequently became notorious and a persistent media myth was born – that Greenpeace had ‘got it wrong’ over the entire Brent Spar issue.” That quote from their own web site – http://www.greenpeace.org/international/about/history/the-brent-spar
I love that concept of “proactive apology”!

Jeremy

“Leipold said later in the BBC interview that there is an urgent need for the suppression of economic growth in the United States and around the world.”
This is a religious belief or point of view. I have nothing against religious people provided they don’t shove their religion down other people’s throats or use a paternalistic agenda in order to control and/or abuse women (as is done in many parts of the world). If these people have their way then they will deprive all rapidly industrializing developing countries of any future or escape from subsitence living and in many cases abject poverty.
The fact that almost NONE of these Greens remotely practice what they preach (a la Al Gore) is the very height of hypocrisy. To these folks, I say, “Go live like the old order Amish. Practice what you preach and reduce your own industrial footprint before you tell everyone else what to do! It can easily be done – what are you waiting for?”

Big City Lib aka Michael J. Murphy of Toronto has been permanently banned from participation at WUWT.
Despite my treating him fairly here, he has decided to reveal the true childish person he is and start resorting to 4 letter f-word attacks in his own blog because he disagrees with stories posted here. Given his behavior, I don’t see any value to welcoming his participation here any longer. – Anthony
===========================
Well, the claim in the presser is that the arctic ocean might be ice free in summer by 2030, which is not an outlandlish claim at all. He does NOT say that the Greenland ice sheet will melt by 2030–as the interviewer suggests– so if anything the video merely shows that the BBC reporter is semi-literate.

Jack Barnes

Douglas DC said…”Greenpiece (as in piece ‘o the money pie) really lost me back in the late 80’s.My wife and I lived in Port Orford,Or. We were walking along Orford Head, which is a bit of land and rock sticking out into the pacific…”
I am currently packing up our valley house for a move to Nesika Beach area. My wife is the new City Manager/Admin for Gold Beach. The beach house we found, as no Cell, No Cable, No Internet. It does have a lot of view… I call it the End of the World.

Tom in Florida

“Although he admitted Greenpeace had released inaccurate but alarming information, Leipold defended the organization’s practice of “emotionalizing issues” in order to bring the public around to its way of thinking and alter public opinion.”
Translation: “It’s OK for us to lie because we are in the right and we need for the rest of you to see it our way for your own good.”
Apparently Leipold is in training for a government position.

AnonyMoose

DaveF (10:13:00) :
I expect Greenpeace meant to say that the Arctic Sea would be ice-free by 2030…

The Arctic Sea is ice-free, and pirate-free now. It’s presently several hundred miles off the NW coast of Africa. On the other hand, the Arctic Ocean seems to have trapped a motley crewe in ice.

Eric Anderson

Good to hear some tough questioning from the press, which I definitely applaud.
However, the headline to this post goes beyond the mark. Greenpeace as an organization hasn’t recanted anything. Also, the admission made by Leipold depends somewhat on the definition of what they meant by “Arctic.” Personally I find it highly unlikely that the Arctic Ocean/Sea will be ice free in the summer by 2030, but that is certainly less of a stretch than including the Greenland ice sheet in one’s definition of the Arctic, which it is not clear they intended to do. Finally, Leipold did not say, as the above story states, that it was a mistake, he said it “may have been a mistake,” based on a press release he didn’t specifically remember. Certainly a welcome admission, but hardly earth shattering.
I think the more salient point here is that they acknowledge, even proclaim, that they are engaging in emotionalizing the issues (surprise, surprise), meaning that they are openly engaged in advocacy, more than an objective presentation of the facts.

redneck

“F. Ross (10:32:15) :
How nice of them to admit the error.
“Sackur said the claim was inaccurate on two fronts, pointing out that the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present.”
Never heard this figure [3km] before. Misprint? Error? Correct?
Anybody have a credible figure and source”
F Ross – Sorry no hard data but I would guess they may have meant 3 metres not 3 kilometers. What is just is bad is the BBC reporter Stephen Sackur mentioning “Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers ” when in a previous post NSIDC reports the Sea Ice Extent for August 17 2009 was “6.26 million square kilometers”. Not only does the hard hitting BBC reporter get both the thickness and, is that mass or is that extent/area, incorrect but the outgoing Green Peace Leader doesn’t even question it. This is such a comedy of errors it makes my sides hurt from laughing.

Steve M.

“Sackur said the claim was inaccurate on two fronts, pointing out that the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present.”
I thought that CO2 from fossil fuels brought on unprecedented warming…and now I find out that there were warmer periods???

geo

I think it is pretty clear that Greenpeace meant the sea ice in the Arctic, and just flat out didn’t think about Greenland. That’s what he should have said –“oops, we could have worded that better”.
Not that I am prepared to believe that the arctic sea ice will be gone in summer by 2030 either, but that is certainly a more defensible position from a prediction point of view. At least as of July 15, 2009. And certainly a vast improvement in reasonability compared to NSIDC predicting that maybe 2008 would see that!

ClimateFanBoy

Two recruiters from greenpeace sometimes hang out in front of the supermarket. I had a chat with one of them a few weeks ago. It’s amazing how far they will go to try to get some money from you, it really feels like harrassment.
I do agree with them in principle that modern society can be very wasteful and irresponsible, and efforts should be made to curb the waste and minimize our impact. Carbon taxes are not definitely not what I had in mind.

Steven Hill

What? Is the Arctic not ice free this year? Woops, the climate has thrown them a curve ball and they swung right through it and missed.

Tim S.

I have changed my earlier negative opinion of Greenpeace’s and Leipold’s climate change scare-mongering tactics. We all need to be scared.
After all, the 2009 Arctic ice melt is the third worst since 2007, so it appears that ice in the Arctic Sea is increasing. At this rate, by 2030 the entire Arctic Sea will be frozen solid and water-free, killing many fishes and causing polar bears to proliferate to the point where they starve from lack of baby seal prey.
And I have the most sophisticated computer climate model yet that indicates this. Sorry, but I can’t share the computer model with any of you anti-ice deniers because it is proprietary and I don’t want to be proven wrong.

Richard

Leipold defended the organization’s practice of “emotionalizing issues” in order to bring the public around to its way of thinking and alter public opinion.
“emotionalizing issues”? You meaning telling an untruth? Or in other words lying.
In science, you cannot lie because you think your cause is just. Pachauri of IPCC used the same argument to justify Al Gore’s “exaggerations”.
The next step is to alter your data to give the story you think is true.
In science the data tells you the story and the truth, you do not alter data to tell the story you think is the truth, which is what is happening now with the AGW hypothesis.

redneck

Oops should have checked the video. Sakur is referring specificically to the Greenland Ice Sheet and not more general Arctic Ice.

Andrew P

Robinson (10:55:02) :
My eyes, they must need checking. Did I just see a BBC presenter giving a warmist a very hard time live on air? It cannot be true.

Yes it is unusual. But Sackur is a cut above the usual BBC journalist/reporters – he is smart and does some research before interviews. He was not long back from Greenland when he interviewed Leipold. Sackur is the exception though – most of the science / environment reporters are under the spell of the warmists – e.g. the appallingly uncritical coverage of the Catlin expedition by David Shukman – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8047862.stm . Shukman’s worst Catlin report, where he actually filmed someone jumping ito a recently refrozen lead (only a few inches thick) and then commented that that this was evidence of global warming, appears to have been removed from the BBC wesbite. I suspect the higher-ups in Channel 4 News are more circumspect also, I remember watching a C4 news programme in April/May this year, where the presenter (Alex Thomson) seriously suggested that “the Arctic could well be ice free in a year or two”. But this news report did not subsequently appear on the website, presumeably because even a drunk news editor could see it was complete b@lls.

Meanwhile…I wonder if the Arctic icecap melted way long ago into an iceless summer
Study: Global Warming Sparked by Ancient Farming Methods
(CNN) — Ancient man may have started global warming through massive deforestation and burning that could have permanently altered the Earth’s climate, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/08/18/ancient.global.warming/index.html
Geez! Who pays for these studies?

Richard

redneck (11:37:38) :
“F. Ross (10:32:15) :
“Sackur said the claim was inaccurate on two fronts, pointing out that the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present.”
Never heard this figure [3km] before. Misprint? Error? Correct?
Anybody have a credible figure and source”

“The Greenland ice sheet is a vast body of ice covering 1.71 million km², roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. ..The thickness is generally more than 2 km (see picture) and over 3 km at its thickest point.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet

Bryan

[url]http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003593/[/url]
I believe the 3km ice thickness for perrineal ice should actually be 3 meters per this report from 2008

Bryan

http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003593/
Per this report from 2008, I believe the 3km thickness should be 3 meters

The ends always justify the means for the environmentalists. If ya ain’t cheating, ya ain’t trying.

Bryan

Richard said
“redneck (11:37:38) :
“F. Ross (10:32:15) :
“Sackur said the claim was inaccurate on two fronts, pointing out that the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present.”
Never heard this figure [3km] before. Misprint? Error? Correct?
Anybody have a credible figure and source”
“The Greenland ice sheet is a vast body of ice covering 1.71 million km², roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. ..The thickness is generally more than 2 km (see picture) and over 3 km at its thickest point.”
Greenland’s ice mass sits above sea level though with a central ice sheet elevation of over 10400′, The Arctic Ice Sheet is paper thin by comparison at only 2 meters for annual ice and 3 meters for perrineal ice

Sam the Skeptic

I’m not sure to what extent Greenpeace or the other advocates of AGW (or vegetarianism or animal rights or any of the single interest pressure groups) care all that much about the precise accuracy of their press releases.
I’ve written enough of them in my time to know that the aim is to create an impression. In 99% of cases you can do that without resort to fabrication or outright lying but there are certainly ways of getting Joe Public to believe that ALL the Arctic ice is melting without saying so.
If he spots the error and cares to pick you up on it then you apologise for the bad phraseology or the typist who picked up the wrong draft from the PRO’s office or whatever excuse is the most convincing at the time.
Or you come right out an apologise for getting it wrong (see my link above with the Greenpeace re Brent Spar). How many people with even the slightest of greenish-tinged credentials (which is quite a lot of us these days, one way and another) believe you when you tell them Greenpeace dumped their ship in the ocean and then admitted to getting their facts wrong about Brent Spar? Not one in ten, I’ll bet you.

D. King

From the previous post.
“Rescue Me! Another polar expedition trapped in ice”
I believe most have lost the ability to discern reality
from their own lies.
Greenpeace training video.
Repeat after me: The ice is melting, the ice is……

F. Ross (10:32:15) :
How nice of them to admit the error.
“Sackur said the claim was inaccurate on two fronts, pointing out that the Arctic ice is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle, and that it had survived much warmer periods in history than the present.”
Never heard this figure [3km] before. Misprint? Error? Correct?
Anybody have a credible figure and source?

I believe the figure is correct, it was referring to the thickness of the Greenland ice cap.
http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2000/EmmanuelleStJean.shtml

George E. Smith

“”” Glug (10:32:09) :
George, try looking at volume not area and this inconsistency is removed. “””
You are probably correct Glug; unfortunately I haven’t any idea about what; such as what inconsistency ?
When you have a pretty much single valued function like the ice graph Anthony puts over on the left, and the summer melt back in May,June, July leads to the minimums of Sept; you don’t expect it to be the same as the annual average. Likewise I would expect to find the January maximum to always be above the annual average.
Remember half of all the people on earth are of below average intelligence; well below median intelligence anyway, and for such a population, I would expect mean and median to be pretty much the same thing.

George E. Smith

“”” Sam the Skeptic (11:12:18) :
DouglasDC
Didin’t Greenpeace scuttle Rainbow Warrior after the French turned it into a heap of useless metal in NZ? “””
And considering just how many young Kiwi men gave their lives trying to save those Frenchies from their own self made mess (twice); and then they go and attack up in a cowardly unprovoked attack.
So next time you Frenchies get your panties in a bunch; fix it yourselves, and don’t ask us for any help.
George; lest we forget.

David Corcoran

Most AGW claims are emotionalizing rather than science, like the 25 m rise in sea level Hansen predicts by 2100.

Thomas J. Arnold.

From what I gleaned from the clip, Mr. Sackur was referring to the Greenland ice-cap, not the Arctic Basin sea ice. On sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, particularly the Arctic Basin, there is little/no chance that it will disappear by 2030. According to the National snow and ice data centre (check this blog), the retreat is slowing and still at 2.4 million sq’ miles – that’s a lot of ice!!
I regularly watch Mr. Sackur, he is a sapient, investigative journalist not given to suffering fools lightly. He is a cut above the ‘camera cutie’ normally seen news-reading, they ‘buy’ the AGW guff hook line and sinker, Sackur, he possesses a certain gravitas.
However, he is not a climatologist/meteorologist/geographer/geologist etc and I think he slightly had his wires crossed, one guy talking about sea ice and the other referring to ice-cap. Mr. Sackur made a recent programme on/for the beeb about Greenland, which I watched ( by the by, I do not work for or even like the beeb!), here;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8167209.stm
Green peace? I used to hold a certain sympathy for their whale conservation stuff, then they got politics, very much like the WWF, good once, then political shenanigans abounded – another waste of time, all about money and power not truth or integrity.