Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lewis Gordon Pugh - unable to kayak to Santa's workshop

Around the beginning of the summer, an explorer named Lewis Gordon Pugh announced that he was going to paddle a kayak all the way to the North Pole. Pugh apparently believed that there would be little or no ice blocking his way.
The internet was jammed with posts about the Arctic being melted by September.
I made the offer of a $50 wager against anyone willing to put up $10 that this guy would have to turn around before reaching the North Pole. The great Dr. Ralph took me up on it.
Well, not only did the guy turn around before reaching Santa's workshop, the objective of the publicity stunt/journey changed. It began as a trip to the North Pole in a kayak to show that there wasn't any ice left. Unfortunately for Pugh, by the time the kayak left The Mother Ship it was obvious that the only way to get him and his kayak to the North Pole would be to hook them both to Balto the mighty sled dog and start saying "mush".
The purpose of the trip had to change, since it was obvious to everyone that there was a shitload of ice between Lewis Pugh and the North Pole.
Therefore, they turned it into something about posting the flags of every nation in the Arctic, to show how we all need the Arctic. Never mind that there wasn't room in the freakin' kayak for 192 flags, and the flags had to ride in the support boat. We're talking symbolism, not substance here.
Dr Ralph can drop an extra $10 in the offering plate at Broadway Baptist Church (all loose offerings go to the homeless), and we'll be even. (I'm tempted to ask him to contribute it to Sarah Palin, but he would probably implode. And if I were to lose a bet with him one day....I can't even think about it.)
Plus, Dr. Ralph only made the bet out of tribal loyalty.
In general, my gambling M.O. works like this: Find people who are illogically loyal to the home team, catch them in a weak moment, and make a statement against all that they consider holy. Then put it in the form of a wager. For instance, when dealing with a large gathering of Dallas Cowboys fanatics, state that the Cowboys are ok this year, but not good enough to beat Cleveland by 21 points. They will crawl all over each other to disagree. Present a wager. Wait. Collect money.
So now that I've laid it out for everyone, let's try another Global Warming Climate Change wager....
I think that the idea that we cause Climate Change is totally nuts. It happens with us or without us. There used to be farms all over Greenland, but the climate went through a cyclical change and now that entire area is covered with ice and snow. SUV's had nothing to do with it.
We keep getting Chicken Little alarms that the sky is falling, the seas are rising, the poles are melting, and they're not going to stop until Gore gets enough government funding and subsidies to get his alternative energy start-ups off the ground. Then he's going to work on requiring us to purchase whatever snake oil he's selling.
The Spectator has an article stating that:
The Northwest Passage has been a focal point for both environmentalists and shipping companies for years. The sea route along the North American coast has been blocked for hundreds of years by a pack of Arctic ice. But through climate change the pack is melting away and the waters may soon be available for maritime use in 2009. This new route could chop thousands of nautical miles off journeys from Europe to Asia.
But the melting of the ice pack shows worrying trends in global warming. The ice pack blocking the route has reached its smallest size since records began. The pack’s disappearance has been exacerbated by its melting rate speeding up during its usual cooling season. The event serves as a prescient reminder to politicians that climate change is an ever burning issue – credit crunch or no credit crunch.
Thanks to Chris at Counting Cats for bringing this article to my attention.
Note the need for speed in the last sentence of the article. Gore ain't getting any younger, and wants your money now.
So do I. I'll bet $50 against your $10 that the Northwest Passage isn't clear enough for ships by 2009.
Any takers?


Dr Ralph said...

WS - of course I'll take your bet!

It's as easy for me to drop $20 in the collection plate as $10. You honor our mutual admiration by *not* asking me to donate to Sarah the Barracuda.

The way I figure it, with this being an election year, surely enough hot air will be generated all around to thaw both ice caps.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Doctor, doctor, doctor,

I appreciate your defense of all things warming. I really do.

But I'd much rather lift it from someone new. Surely there is someone else in the tribe of True Believers willing to come forth and wager that the Emperor really is wearing clothes?

Dr Ralph said...

I don't want to steal all the fun. If you can find a new champion, I will defer and yield. Otherwise, I'm your man. Where are Pete and Cedric when we need them?

Seriously though, as you pointed out, Lewis Pugh's quest was about raising awareness as much as anything else.

Half-assed? Maybe. But let's face it, you and me (and others) are talking about it, so on that level it succeeded.

Is global warming a fact? To tell the truth, I honestly don't know with 100% certainty. But I'd rather err on the side of caution.

The downside to assuming that global warming/climate change is a reality seems to be economic rather than environmental. And quite frankly, moving towards renewable, non-fossil fuel energy sources seems to have the potential to create a sizable number of jobs. For any number of reasons, following this course of action seems to be a lot less risky than not.

I'll grant you however that differences of opinion about things like this is why people bet on football games.

So next Sunday, sit next to me and watch me throw that ten spot in the collection basket. I'll even buy you an adult beverage of your choice later just so you get something personally out of the deal.

If you can't find a new champion for this latest bet, I'll be glad to cover it. Because to tell the truth, I hope I lose it, too.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Ok, we'll see.
BTW, I'm still working on the Cedric thing from way back when.

I've found references to a guy who researched peer reviewed Climate Change projects from the 1970's. Out of 87 researchers, 27 said we'd have cooling or no change at all. 40 said warming.

I just have to get to the TCU library to track it down. Should be interesting. I suspect Cedric will respond with "so what's your point?"

Dick Stanley said...

You should be ashamed, taking the suckers' money like this.

Anonymous said...

"Should be interesting. I suspect Cedric will respond with "so what's your point?"

Considering that I'm the guy that's been bugging you to do the research, that would be unfair of me.

By looking at what the scientific community actually said and the number of papers they published back in the 70's, is easy to figure out that there was no scientific consensus or mass hysteria or anything like that on a coming Ice Age.

It's just a global warming denier canard.
I look forward to your assessment after you've finished hunting.

(I really expected you to quietly drop it. Had you done so, I would have been disappointed but not surprised. Since you haven't dropped it, I'll stick around to find out what you've discovered.)