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9 Sep 2009

James Balog on Time Lapse Proof of Extreme Ice Loss. Stunning

As more of this year’s Oxford TED talks go up online, I will be sharing with you the ones that made the strongest impression on me. James Balog‘s talk was in an extra evening session, which I expected to be lighter than the rest of it, but James’s presentation was stunning. Ever imagined ice sheets as living, breathing systems?  This is a talk to sit climate deniers down in front of, not to win over with arguments, just to experience at a gut level what is happening in the Arctic, and what is revealed by Balog’s extraordinary time-lapse photography.  The irony of this video being sponsored by BMW is palpable.  I couldn’t get to sleep that night.

Categories: General

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9 Sep 9:44pm

This is absolutely amazing work. I have always found this particular vein of environmental activism interesting. Art and science are so separated, and not because they are that way naturally, but because that is how we learn them.

Rachel Carson and her predecessors provide good examples of artists/environmentalists.

Excellent post – I have been using the video to prove climate change to the last remaining doubters in my circle.

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erik Wesselius. Erik Wesselius said: Just watched fascinating speech about ice loss of glaciers. Found via A shame that this is sponsored by BMW car company. […]

10 Sep 2:10pm

I didn’t think that even “deniers” deny glaciers in the northern hemisphere are melting. I think they deny the link that anthropogenic CO2 causes much of the warming. To that end, and leaving emotional reaction to this video aside, how does this further advance the AGW argument?

What you don’t see in the press is that arctic sea ice over the last 2 years has actually grown, in contradiction to the current models:

Indeed some climate predictions are of a few decades of cooling:

Anyway, I think the Transition Town movement is such a good idea that we don’t need to emotionalise any of the issues – we simply need to present all of the information and let people make their own minds up. It can be a broad church – and be inclusive of AGW deniers too!

10 Sep 2:27pm

I havnt watched this clip yet (no broad band!) but recently viewed the three episodes of Ian Stewarts’ brilliant BBC series “Earth- the Climate Wars”:
These programmes are highly recommended and do the best job yet of really explaining the science and looking closely at the deniers claims; even includes footage of the channel 4 film The Great Global Warming Swindle.
The last episode showed something similar, possibly from Balog’s work,of melting ice sheets, and I have to say it had the exact same effect on me as yourself Rob. Of course I am aware of the possibility of sudden abrupt climate change but this suddenly brought it home to me in a much more direct way.
The awesome, terrifying possibility is that we could be on the brink of an abrupt climate flip; the signs are already there. It may still be relatively unlikely to change as fast as it has in the past- in just a couple of years, say, but the odds are a lot shorter than winning the lotto.

14 Sep 7:57am

Regarding “arctic sea ice over the last 2 years has actually grown” that Tom mentions, the same organisation that he refers to has a series of graphs that show that Arctic sea ice has diminished, see Because the area of ice has been falling so much recently, from 8 million sq. km. to about 5.5 M sq. km.,it’s not surprising that on some days 2 years apart, the ice is not disappearing at the same rate – it’s due to the weather.
See also Statement related to Daily Tech article of January 1, 2009 on sea ice cover

15 Sep 4:50pm

The BMW sponsorship of TED has always bothered me, too, much as I love the TED concept.

Look up James Howard Kunstler’s fantastic talk on suburbia. He mentions at one point that he’s specifically been asked not to bang on at length about peak oil. By whom? He never says. To avoid making whom uncomfortable?