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HomeClimate WatchThe climate scaremongers: Greenland’s non-existent meltdown

The climate scaremongers: Greenland’s non-existent meltdown


EVERY year the media comes up with a ridiculous story of how Greenland’s ice cap is rapidly disappearing before our very eyes.

In August it was the turn of the Daily Mail to run a story titled ‘The impact of “global boiling”: Shocking before and after photos reveal just how much the Greenland Ice Sheet melted during the “hottest month ever recorded on Earth”.’ It compared two satellite images of the Frederikshaab glacier, the first taken on June 14, the second on July 24.

The wide-eyed journalist breathlessly reported: ‘The first image snapped by a US satellite shows the Greenland Ice Sheet just before baking summer temperatures took hold. Meanwhile, the second image from July 24 shows the same region with substantially less snow cover and patches of ‘dirty’ ice where impurities have become exposed.’

Maybe someone should have told him that snow melts every summer in Greenland, and is replaced every winter. If it did not melt, the ice cap would get bigger and bigger.

Now summer has ended, we can see that less ice has melted this summer than average, not more. In fact five of the last seven years have seen below average melt.

Greenland Surface Mass Balance (SMB)

Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI)

The SMB does not include ice lost through calving, which the DMI calculate separately. When this is factored in, there is a small net loss of ice each year. But this loss has been taking place since the end of the 19th  century following the end of the Little Ice Age, the coldest era in Greenland since the Ice Age.

As can be seen in the chart below, the current rate of loss in recent years is not dissimilar to most of the period between 1900 and 1970. During the 1970s and 80s, Greenland’s climate became much colder, and the ice mass loss almost stopped completely.

Significantly the rate of loss now is not accelerating, as you may have assumed from what the media have told you. On the contrary, the rate of loss has been slowing down since 2012.

The average annual loss between 2013 and 2022 was 184 Gt, which equates to 0.51mm sea level rise a year, about 2 inches a century. At the current rate, it would take 25,000 years for Greenland’s ice to disappear.

In short, you can forget about all the stories of meltdown and flooded cities. There is nothing alarming or unprecedented about the tiny amount of ice melt taking place in Greenland, which is no more than a return to pre-Little Ice Age conditions.

The BBC seminar that banned discussion of climate change

HARDLY a week goes by without yet another glaring example of BBC bias, misinformation or outright lies on climate issues.

Arguably the roots of this lie in a notorious seminar organised by the BBC in 2006. Some of us may remember this, others may not have been aware of it. Either way, it’s worth re-telling the story.

The seminar was held on January 26, 2006 for the purpose of deciding how the BBC should report and discuss climate change in the future. According to a BBC Trust report (P40) on impartiality the following year: ‘The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus.’

This policy has been followed ever since, with the virtual exclusion of anybody not signed up the BBC’s idea of a consensus, no matter how highly qualified they might be or how valid their opinions.

However, some began to be suspicious about who these ‘best scientific experts’ were. After all, science should never be about consensus, and proper scientists should always welcome debate.

It was a blogger named Tony Newberry who filed a Freedom on Information request for the names of those who attended. He ended up in court in 2012, still trying to force the BBC to release the information. With the help of a team of lawyers, the BBC won the case. But it was a hollow victory, because just days later another blogger, Mauricio Morabito, found the list of attendees anyway with the help of the Wayback Machine.

This is the list he published at the time:


Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director,
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED [International Institute for Environment and Development]
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT [International Broadcasting Trust]
Anita Neville, E3G [a climate change think tank]
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, chair, AsRia [Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia]

BBC attendees:
Jana Bennett, Director of Television
Sacha Baveystock, Executive Producer, Science
Helen Boaden, Director of News
Andrew Lane, Manager, Weather, TV News
Anne Gilchrist, Executive Editor Indies & Events, CBBC
Dominic Vallely, Executive Editor, Entertainment
Eleanor Moran, Development Executive, Drama Commissioning
Elizabeth McKay, Project Executive, Education
Emma Swain, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual
Fergal Keane, (Chair), Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Fran Unsworth, Head of Newsgathering
George Entwistle, Head of TV Current Affairs
Glenwyn Benson, Controller, Factual TV
John Lynch, Creative Director, Specialist Factual
Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy
Jon Williams, TV Editor Newsgathering
Karen O’Connor, Editor, This World, Current Affairs
Catriona McKenzie, Tightrope Pictures

Liz Molyneux, Editorial Executive, Factual Commissioning
Matt Morris, Head of News, Radio Five Live
Neil Nightingale, Head of Natural History Unit
Paul Brannan, Deputy Head of News Interactive
Peter Horrocks, Head of Television News
Peter Rippon, Duty Editor, World at One/PM/The World this Weekend
Phil Harding, Director, English Networks & Nations
Steve Mitchell, Head of Radio News
Sue Inglish, Head of Political Programmes
Frances Weil, Editor of News Special Events

The army of BBC bosses who attended tells us just how significant the seminar was to them. It clearly was not just a talking shop, but a major milestone in their editorial policy.

But more important was the list of ‘best scientific experts’. They included two Greenpeace campaigners, several other environmentalist activists, representatives of business, charities, the Church of England, BP and Npower Renewables, economists, media people and politicians.

As for climate scientists, they were very thin on the ground.

There clearly could have been very little, if any, debate on the actual science, given the make-up of the meeting.

The very real suspicion is that the event was deliberately designed from the very outset to come up with the result that it did: that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’.

Agnes – not a storm but a whimper

STORM Agnes, the first storm with a silly name of the season, arrived last week with yellow warnings and bloodcurdling forecasts of 80mph winds across the country. It passed through with barely a whimper.

As usual, the Met Office managed to find an exposed location with 80mph gusts, this time at Capel Curig, halfway up a mountain in Snowdonia. Down at sea level a few miles away at Conwy, sustained wind speeds were only a breezy 14mph. Despite the storm, both Dublin and Belfast airports remained open, which certainly would not have been the case if the wind had been blowing at 80mph.

Rainfall was hardly excessive either. The wettest place was Ballypatrick Forest in Northern Ireland, another high-altitude site, which saw 44mm of rain (2.2in). The daily record rainfall in Northern Ireland is 159mm (6.3in).

The reality is that Agnes was a common or garden autumn depression, the sort we see several times every year. But that won’t stop the Met Office from putting it in its list of ‘extreme weather events’ at the end of the year.

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Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood is a former accountant who blogs about climate change at Not a Lot of People Know That

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