Henry Hudson lacked patience.

For the first time in recorded human history, the Northwest Passage is open, thanks to global climate change, making it possible to sail west from northern Europe directly to the Pacific. No more than a season or two will pass until this becomes an accepted fact in the world of shipping, which will no doubt take advantage of this stunning shortcut. This was forecast by climate models, which have long predicted that the increasing rate of emissions from human activity would melt the arctic icecap enough to produce the fabled pathway to the west.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

39 replies on “Henry Hudson lacked patience.”

  1. Canada, the United States and Denmark are also competing for resources as melting Arctic ice reveals potential deposits of oil and gas.

    Satan offers up another apple.

  2. I didn’t see the “human activity” part of that article, though.

    It’s a universally accepted truth among environmental scientists. After a decade or so, there’s just no need to call it up in every press release and industry news article.

  3. Your definition of “universal” is an odd one, since quite a few climatologists and other environmental scientists do not agree with that supposed “truth.” Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT and Fred Singer, professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at UVA are just two that immediately come to mind. I guess they don’t count… or are their credentials unworthy to be included as environmental scientists?

    Bubby finds a cloud behind every single lining. Nicely done.

  4. Hopefully this is just the first of many of the positive effects of “climate change.” We can also look forward to fewer people dying from cold and longer growing seasons.

  5. Signer doesn’t believe that cigarette smoke causes lung cancer and actually argues that the atmosphere has not warmed at all. I hardly need to point out that this sort of talk is batty. The kindest acknowledgment of Singer is to ignore him, as one ignores old men screaming at invisible passengers on the subway.

    Lindzen, in what I can most kindly describe as a remarkable coincidence, likewise believes that there’s no meaning correlation between smoking and lung cancer. Lindzen was called out by Charlottesville’s own Ron Bailey (and recent convert from global warming denialism) in Reason magazine, after Lindzen refused to accept a bet on whether the earth would warm significantly in the next twenty years, despite having made an open offer to participate in just such a wager. Ron concluded that it’s “time to put up or shut up,” and I’m inclined to agree.

  6. Hopefully this is just the first of many of the positive effects of “climate change.” We can also look forward to fewer people dying from cold and longer growing seasons.

    Oh, I don’t doubt that there will be positive effects. The question is whether the negative effects will outweigh the positive effects. And the biggest question is what percentage of the human population will be able to adapt and what percentage will die from its effects.

  7. Pubs:
    Singer is a nutjob. Its obvious to anybody who has read anything he’s ever written. Now he’s being called such by the rest of the scientific community. UVA should dump his ass and avoid further embarassment.

  8. I guess you missed Lindzen’s reply to Bailey’s mischaracterization of their bet offers. Last time I checked, Lindzen made a very reasonable and quite specific offer of degrees of warmth over 20 years, and Bailey has yet to respond.

    There have been a number of UVA profs and officials who I took classes from and/or am well aware of their positions on various subjects whom I and other people thought were crackpots. Of course, being a nutjob or crackpot is all a matter of perspective. If you can’t admit to that much, then you’re more closed-minded than I would’ve believed.

    It is ridiculous to assert that everyone in the sciences thinks Singer or Lindzen are nutjobs. You might consider revising your position to, “I disagree with him.” I don’t expect anyone to do that, since that entails admitting that your “universally accepted facts” aren’t any such thing, but are instead majority opinions.

  9. Yes. Let’s pretend that there’s not an overwhelming consensus within the scientific community on this issue. A couple of deniers REALLY does equal a ‘controversy’. Hey, you know there are some scientists who assert that HIV isn’t the cause of AIDS as well. I think there’s also groups that argue that the earth is flat and there’s another one that argues that it’s fixed. I guess that whole business about the earth being round and rotating on its axis is now ‘controversial’ too. Hey, even gravity is only a theory, right!

  10. Katey, show me a professor at MIT, UVA, or another top university who holds such kooky views, and I’ll cede the point.

  11. “University of California at Berkeley retrovirus expert Peter Duesberg and Nobel Prize winner Walter Gilbert, have been warning for years that there is no proof that HIV causes AIDS.”

    “Dr Charles Thomas, a molecular biologist and former Harvard professor of biochemistry, say it is complete nonsense. “The HIV-causes-AIDS dogma represents the grandest and perhaps the most morally destructive fraud that has ever been perpetrated on the young men and women of the Western world,”

    Phillip Johnson, senior professor of law, University of California at Berkeley, and a former visiting professor at University College London.”

    Dr Lawrence Bradford, a biology professor in Atchison, Kansas,

    Dr Roger Cunningham, a microbiologist and director of the centre for immunology at the State University of New York at Buffalo,

    David Mertz, a philosopher of science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst,

    Professor Hiram Caton, head of the school of applied ethics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

    I could go on a bit more but are you going to cede your point?

    PS. I particularly love the quote:

    “The HIV-causes-AIDS dogma represents the grandest and perhaps the most morally destructive fraud that has ever been perpetrated on the young men and women of the Western world.”

    hmmmmm, where have I heard that before . . . . hmmmmmmm.

  12. I guess “dissent” as the highest form of patriotism only extends to situations where one can bash one’s own country’s military, leadership, society, etc.

  13. Judge, thats so 2004 of you. Dont you know Dick Cheney style arguments to persuade anymore.

    See i find the striking similarities between the global warming “skeptics” and the HIV “skeptics” fascinating.

  14. Judge, thats so 2004 of you. Don’t you know Dick Cheney style arguments don’t persuade anymore.

    See i find the striking similarities between the global warming “skeptics” and the HIV “skeptics” fascinating.

  15. I don’t think Waldo was suggesting that dissent in this context is unpatriotic. I’d guess that very few people would suggest that dissent in a scientific context could possibly be patriotic, but I do see your point.

    I personally make no claims of universal acceptance, but the simple fact that dissent occurs is an important facet of the scientific process. That doesn’t mean you have to give any credence to the dissenters, provided a reasonable basis for disagreeing. For lay people without sufficient training in the subject matter, this often amounts to appealing to the majority.

    The way society, without training in a scientific subject, can reach a consensus and act on politically-charged scientific theory is actually a rather interesting subject to me, and one without an obvious answer. Often times, we use common sense, but common sense and science don’t always mix. God help us if we ever happen upon a politically relevant and charged claim based on quantum theory.

  16. Ben,

    Dissent in Science is what makes it work. But surely you are not suggesting that all dissent is equal.

    If the dissenters claims keep getting knocked down (sun spot theory to explain why the climate is changing) or is constantly changing (Lindzen will imply in certain settings that climate change is not happening but in others says that it is minor or that there is some other natural cause), or make selective arguments (Lomborg, compares Gore’s 20-ft sea rise to the IPCC’s 2-10-ft sea rise, when everyone knows the two scenarios’ are apples to orange: Gore is talking about what happens IF Iceland or the Antarctic shelf goes, IPCC does not address this because there are still unknowns and they are making hard predictions.)

    I would also be suspect of scientists using over the top language in their dissents, hoax this and hoax that, etcetera and so on.

    I think that is generally a good red light that the arguments being perpetuated have more to do with ego, politics and a strange curmudgeonliness–a me versus the world sort of mentality.

  17. The actual shipping is only the beginning of the fun. Then you have the question of all of these previously unknown islands that appear as the ice melts. Islands which command control of the new shipping route. Islands which, with the ordinary extension of oceanic territorial rights off of their shores, will mean effective ownership of the Northwest Passage.

    Who owns these islands and who owns the NW Passage? Whoever manages to put together the most effective polar squadron first, most likely. This is going to be one of the most interesting international issues of the post-Bush era (which has actually already begun).

  18. I’m calling IP. You have an accountability moment here Mr. Grumpy.

    Jon delivered the goods. You have a habit of slinking off every time you get corrected – hoping no one will notice your feet of clay.

  19. Dissent in Science is what makes it work. But surely you are not suggesting that all dissent is equal.

    If you thought I was saying that all dissent is equally valid, I must’ve seriously miscommunicated. My mistake.

    I pretty much agree with everything you just said in that post. I was mostly just musing that how scientific knowledge is disseminated is actually a difficult and interesting problem facing society. I never meant to claim then that we cannot know who’s right, or that every kook should be treated with respect.

  20. The “kooky” views I was referring to were those about the flat earth, and similar Ptolomeic opinions. I anxiously await the link to a prestigious university professor who believes such.

    Bubby, you need a new hobby. Blog-stalking makes you look silly.

  21. You thinking that little goal-post moving will do the trick IP?

    If you weren’t trying to pontificate on a subject outside of your area of knowledge you wouldn’t be such an easy target. Why don’t you just leave climate change to those that know what they are talking about? That shouldn’t be so hard for someone so fond of toeing the line.

  22. I don’t think a naked attempt to squelch debate is really in keeping with the spirit over here. Although it does serve to lend credence to the notion that a lot of people advocating for radical regulation in the name of the environment are really just watermelons.

  23. Welcome to the rough-n-tumble world of Science JS. You have to have legitimate credentials to play, ALL of your hypotheses will be tested, and peer-reviewed consensus always has an uncertainty >0 – which is not the same as “debatable”. Unlike politics, a lie twice repeated never equals the truth, and who pays for your research always figures into the scrutiny of your findings.

    If climate change was only about the environment we wouldn’t have an argument. But its about war,peace,economics,and the stability of civilization – things we always regulate.

  24. There is no attempt to squelch debate here Smails. Have any of your posts disappeared? Been edited? Have you been banned?
    You must be confusing this with Redstate…where maintenance of the ‘thin patina’ is Job One!

    I have said it before and will say again, Smails, IP, etc.. will change their minds when they are told to do so. The day their party issues a new talking point accepting ‘mans hamfisted acceleration’ of climate change, they will follow suit. Until that time, you would have more luck convincing an Oreo to commit suicide by dunking itself in a glass of icy cold milk.

    Great, now I want a cookie!

  25. Bubby, you’re unwittingly close to the most important truth in this debate: always follow the money – especially when it comes to where scientists get their paycheck. Anyone whose grant money (i.e., their livelihood, career track, prestige) depends on the existence of a coming catastrophy should be viewed with skepticism.

  26. I. Publius,

    To follow that logic, we should all be skeptical of Holocaust historians, because if the holocaust never took place, they’d be out of a job.

  27. IP,

    If I may borrow your logic for just a sec’ :

    Any President who’s administration(domestic spying, patriot act, clandestine/indefinite incarceration, dear God I could go on for ever…) depends on the existence of a coming catastrophe should be viewed with skepticism.

    Now follow the money…..

  28. You’ll never understand Science by viewing it through lawyer glasses I Publius. Research money may draw a scientist to a particular discipline, or subject, but s/he still has to pass peer review for reproducibility, and objectivity of findings through full disclosure.

    There are no procedural maneuvers, privileged communication, favorable judges, sympathetic juries / venues, quashed evidence, plea bargains, coached witnesses, or stare decisis et non quieta movere – in short, there is no hiding from the truth for a scientist (or those that push their beliefs into the arena).

  29. @ tim:

    I’m not familiar with “Red State.” Some sort of conservative blog I suppose? If you frequent it, well then, good for you. You’re providing a service not unlike the one Publius and I attempt to provide in this liberal echo chamber.

    As for changing my stance when directed to by Party HQ, I haven’t received any of the talking points since Karl left the WH. The whole operation’s really gone to hell in a matter of weeks. It’s just me now – all alone.

    Finally, with regard to your theory about the Bush Administration dependent upon a coming catastrophe so they can read your e-mail (which, btw, Karl told me Dick was fascinated with) perhaps a few days after the 9/11 anniversary was not the best time for you to advance that point.

  30. Finally, with regard to your theory about the Bush Administration dependent upon a coming catastrophe so they can read your e-mail (which, btw, Karl told me Dick was fascinated with) perhaps a few days after the 9/11 anniversary was not the best time for you to advance that point.

    It’s not like it’s an entirely unfounded view. And personally, I see no problem in criticizing the government’s response on the anniversary, much less several days after. Criticising the government is not disrespecting those who died, nor is it disrespecting those who’ve worked in the aftermath to make things better, with the exception of the administration itself.

  31. A fair point, Ben, to be sure, but I wasn’t saying one shouldn’t criticize the government’s response – at the anniversary or any other time. I’m merely ridiculing tim’s comparison of a disputed, theoretical, in-the-future environmental catastrophe with the undisputed, factual, clear and present danger a terrorist threat represents.

  32. “disputed, theoretical, in-the-future environmental catastrophe”


    Hmmmm, Global Warming is not “disputed, or theoretical”, it is an observation. The following diverse and numerous empirical observations lead us to the unequivocal conclusion that the earth is warming:

    CRU temperature trend:


    NASA GISS temperature trend:


    Satellite readings:




    Borehole analysis:


    Glacial melt observations:



    Sea ice melt:


    Sea level rise:


    Proxy Reconstructions:


    Permafrost is thawing:


    All of these completely independent analyses of widely varied aspects of the climate system lead to the same conclusion: the Earth is undergoing a rapid and large warming trend.

    This evidence leads us looking for an answer why? Well there is the undisputed fact that C02 levels are rising. And happen to know exactly where that “new” C02 comes from because of “molecular fingerprinting”.

    And as a result of modern spectral analyses we know exactly what that C02 does in the atmosphere.

    We are looking a spectrum of threats from GW, the easy to understand of them, like drought, could seriously diminish our ability to make food.

    The worst of them are absolute catastrophic, are you really willing to throw the dice?

    By the way do you know that almost 2/3’s of our country is in some form of drought right now?


  33. As an American in the vast majority who agree that Mr. Bush has proven himself incapable of managing the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I’m much more concerned about the his current disaster in Iraq. The cause can await a full investigation and hearings when we end the occupation of Iraq…hmmmmmm.

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