Hoax-Watch: The Competitive Enterprise Institute

So there I was, cruising Youtube for weird videos, and I find an ad with the tagline "They call it pollution, we call it life", and while the ad is so incredibly proud of its ignorance and lack of forward thinking that it was hilarious (and scary), I figured it was a little too similar to the last (and first) video I hoax-watched.

Which is why I'm so freakin' happy to find that the Competitive Enterprise Institute (a name so bland I struggle to remember it two seconds after I read it, apparently) did another really similar ad. Joy! The glaciers are actually doin' fine, y'all!

My first reaction was being a little amazed at the production values - this is no run of the mill youtube video. This video has been edited. And has a voice-over without having that persistant hum in the background.

So I dug a little. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (please click that link so their webmaster knows that I was the one who sent you, even if you close the tab a second later) is a large, influential anti-regulatory think tank with over 30 staff members.

Now, obviously, I can't really match that in terms of, you know, funds, or influence, or, like, number of interns or whatever - but doesn't that just make it embarrassing that they're so incredibly wrong about everything?

I'll start at the end and work backwards. First, yes, carbon dioxide can be good. Right now it's bad. We've covered this before. Yes, fossil fuels have accomplished a lot, but they've done a lot of damage, too - and isn't it a darned good thing we have alternate forms of energy we didn't know about a hundred years ago? Gosh, maybe that soccer mom should ditch the mini-van and look into a plug-in hybrid (she's only driving two kids anyway, I mean really?).

So, lots of rhetoric. A calming female voice. The sun setting behind what I can only assume is a petroleum refinery (and even that doesn't make it look any less sinister).

And now, rewinding, we get to the point. The glaciers and ice sheets. Are we being lied to by the mainstream media?

To answer that question, I looked up the papers they flash clips from. I managed to find a copy of the second one - the one about the East Antarctic snow-fall thickening the ice - and found that it references the other paper, too. And I found something really funny. Check out this line:

"Our results show that the East Antarctic ice-sheet interior increased in overall thickness [...] and that this increase is probably the result of increased snowfall. Both of these observations are consistent with the latest IPCC prediction for Antarctica's likely response to a warming global climate."

The IPCC? As in, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? The ones who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for their work on researching and confirming the threat of climate change?


And check out what the paper has to say next:

"However, the IPCC prediction does not consider possible dynamic changes in coastal areas of the ice sheet."

Scientists remove the poetry from things. When they say "possible dynamic changes in coastal areas of the ice sheet", what they really mean is billions of tons of ice being undermined, breaking apart, and melting. You know, what happened to the Larson B ice shelf. Warmer ocean waters can get under ice sheets - especially the ones anchored to bed rock - and break them apart real quick (geologically speaking - a couple months for us). It's a hugely possible huge problem.

To put it another way, the scientists who wrote the paper that the CEI is quoting in their ad think that the IPCC was playing it safe with their predictions.

Good job, Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Here are the facts of the matter - listen up, CEI, ye who get paid in ExxonMobil dollars to lie to people. In some places - high altitude areas of Greenland, the interior of the Antarctic continent - ice is thickening because of increased snowfall. The cause of the increase? Higher sea levels. It says so in the paper you quoted.

It also says that the thickening of the ice is enough to offset less than a tenth of yearly sea-level rises.

It's all about the big picture, guys. Is ice melting all around the world? No. Has the Pacific Northwest (my backyard) been having the weirdest, coldest, snowiest weather in more than 30 years? Sure. Does that mean climate change isn't a threat? Absolutely not.

Now wake up and use your brains to get people to help with fixing this mess.

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