In an otherwise fascinating story on the growing “icebreaker gap” in the rapidly defrosting Arctic Ocean, NYT reporter Andy Revkin writes:
“Even with the increasing summer retreats of sea ice, which many polar scientists say probably are being driven in part by global warming caused by humans, there will always be enough ice in certain parts of the Arctic to require icebreakers.”
I do not view a quadruple-hedged climate impact attribution as acceptable for a major media outlet: “many” and “polar” and “probably” and “in part”!!!!
It isn’t just “many polar scientists” who say this, it is pretty much “the overwhelming majority of climate scientists” — especially because he threw in two more hedges “probably are being driven in part.” Heck, with those two hedges, you could probably just drop “many polar” and say “which scientists say probably are being driven in part by global warming caused by humans.”
Second, “always” is forever, but ice isn’t, especially since on our current greenhouse gas emissions path, we may see more than 5°C global warming this century (see “Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 0: The alternative is humanity’s self-destruction“). Had Revkin said “there will always be enough ice in certain parts of the Arctic during some parts of the year,” that I think would be something many polar scientists would probably agree with [in part]. But as is now written, I think not.
NOTE TO MEDIA ON HEDGING CLIMATE SCIENCE