Daily Mail: Global warming is real and deeply worrying

“Greenland appears to be literally cracking up in front of our eyes”

Today’s guest blogger is the UK’s Joss Garman.

The Daily Mail has become the latest previously ‘climate sceptic’ newspaper to shift its editorial line to acknowledge that climate change is “real and deeply worrying”.

Yesterday the paper’s science editor, Michael Hanlon, who could previously be seen as the UK’s most influential ‘sceptic,’ writes:

I have long been something of a climate-change sceptic, but my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the Arctic.”

After describing his trip to see the break up of a glacier in Greenland – somewhere he describes as “Global Warming Ground Zero” – Hanlon says:

“So has this remarkable week changed my mind? I still believe climate change has probably been exaggerated, but after coming here it is impossible to maintain that nothing is going on.

Hanlon already signalled, in the Daily Mail on 24 August 2006, he was changing his position, when he wrote:

“Few scientists now doubt that human activity, the burning of fossil fuels, is having an impact on global temperatures.”

But his latest piece today lies in stark contrast to what he’s previously written.

For example, ten years ago – despite scientists’ then warnings – he wrote in the Spectator,

“As a formula, it is hard to beat – disaster, floods, middle-class greed, dollops of guilt, angst at our shiny cars and our meretricious prosperity, hair-rending guilt that we are raping the planet.

“Like the Romans, we believe the gods will punish us for our naughtiness with thunderbolts and storms, fire and ice.”

In the Daily Mail on January 15 2005, Hanlon mocked:

“Will the activities of a few pesky homo sapiens with their cars and power stations really cause the earth that much bother in the long term?”

Citing the “subtext” of a Michael Crichton novel for one of his sceptical articles, he even managed to infuriate the then president of the Royal Society and former chief scientific advisor to the government, Lord May, who said:

“It demonstrates the flakiness of the Hanlon case that he should need to rely on a sci-fi writer who has previously warned of the dangers of bringing dinosaurs back to life and of nano-robots turning the world into grey goo.

“All entertaining scare stories, all complete nonsense.”

The Mail’s shift in editorial line today follows similar moves by the Washington Post last week and the Canadian conservative National Post newspaper. In turn these followed a series of independent reports exonerating the scientists at the centre of manufactured controversy over so-called ‘climategate,’ and a series of retractions of the articles that formed the basis of that media controversy.

This is reposted from Left Foot

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57 Responses to Daily Mail: Global warming is real and deeply worrying

  1. fj2 says:

    “Momentum grows for federal policy breakthrough that would fast-track bikeway innovations”

    Hard to believe but transportation systems based on cars is this country are quite likely even more corrupt than the financial industry.

    Orwell’s “1984” is alive and well in this country where 24 hours a day in print and media beautiful sleek machines and smiling faces glide down beautiful pristine country roads with not a care in the world.

    Sometimes they even take along bikes for a ride . . .

  2. catman306 says:

    I want my ice cap back! You will too.

  3. Wonhyo says:

    Now that long-time deniers are finally starting to catch up to climate reality, beware of panic reactions. To those of us who have acknowledged the climate science all along, it will come as no surprise that it is too late to reverse or stop the climate changes that are coming for the next thousand years. The best we can hope for is to slow the rate of climate change as much as possible, to buy society more time to adapt to these inevitable changes. We have done our part, by cutting back on our energy use, carpooling, looking into Transition Town organizations, etc. These are all rational responses to an inevitable catastrophe.

    And yet, these are worthwhile responses. Even if cutting oil consumption won’t immediately stop climate change, it will have the more immediate and tangible benefits of reducing dependence on ALL oil (including Mideast oil), as well as protecting our economy from oil price fluctuations. A switch to renewable energy sources will reduce pollution and provide non-exportable domestic jobs. These are all near-term, tangible benefits that make all of the climate restoring policies and practices worthwhile, even if it is too late to “save” the stable and moderate climate we’ve enjoyed in the past. For these reasons, it is just as important as ever to “save the climate”, in the sense of making the remaining years of a (relatively) moderate and stable climate as pleasant and productive as possible.

    I encourage climate progressives to transition their (our) narrative from “save the climate” to “make the last days” of our climate as pleasant as possible, because it’s the right thing to do. As the former climate deniers finally acknowledge the severity of the climate change that is already “in the pipeline”, the motivation to “save the climate” will break down. Without a valid, replacement motivation, these former climate deniers are likely to enter a panic response, unlike the climate progressives who have been concerned and taken actions all along. Climate progressives need to stay one step ahead of the inevitable panic response, to prevent discussions of future climate actions from being framed by panicking former climate deniers.

    At the same time, climate progressives need to come out of our own form of (mild) climate change denial. Virtually all of the published academic articles on climate change that we are familiar with (including the IPCC reports) underestimate the severity, consequences, and immediacy of climate change. Many people will suffer. Many people will die. For us climate progressives to be most effective in our role as “progressives” we have to acknowledge this and get ahead of the lagging scientific predictions we’ve cited up to now. Only with this acknowledgement can we serve our society, as progressives, in the most effective manner.

  4. Peter Mizla says:

    The Ice Caps are the central air conditioning of the planet- without them the events in Russia in the future will look benign.

  5. fj2 says:

    “Momentum grows for federal policy breakthrough that would fast-track bikeway innovations”

    Hard to believe but transportation systems based on cars in this country are quite likely even more corrupt than the financial industry.

    Orwell’s “1984” is alive and well in America where 24 hours a day in print and media gorgeous sleek machines and smiling faces glide down beautiful pristine country roads with not a care in the world.

    Sometimes they even take along bikes for a nice ride . . .

  6. Jonah says:

    While it’s nice to have johnny-come-lately folks on the bandwagon, it’s absolutely mind-boggling that a trip to Greenland was required for a _science_editor_ (!!) to understand that the ice shelf is melting! Can’t he just look at the ice mass satellite data? That data is much more compelling than any ground survey could ever hope to be. Why can’t a _science_editor_ at a major newspaper read data?

    More importantly, if a major newspaper’s _science_editor_ doesn’t have the ability to read and evaluate data, what hope do we have that he will communicate anything properly to his readers?

    I’m really appalled.

    On the plus side, if all it takes to convince a “science editor” that AGW is real and dangerous is to send them on a global warming junket and photo op with a melting glacier, maybe we should start a fund?

  7. Axel says:

    Hey. Hey Hanlon. It’s quite little a bit late, but now I am giving you my thumbs up rather than telling you to get your own thumb out.

  8. John McCormick says:

    Russian President Medvedev 2009

    “(global warming is) some kind of tricky campaign made up by some commercial structures to promote their business projects.”

    Russian President Medvedev after July 31, 2010

    “practically everything is burning. The weather is anomalously hot. What’s happening with the planet’s climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, …in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate.

    Will he be making the trip to Cancun in December?

    John McCormick

  9. Chris Winter says:

    I’m repeating myself, but I think it bears repeating:

    Sukath, his eyes uncovered!

  10. Prokaryotes says:


    Extreme climate causes devastating mudslides in NW China: Vice Minister

  11. richard pauli says:

    So the former skeptics are now waking up.

    It will be fun to keep score…. but we also remember the damage their words inflicted… and their promotion of bad policy is still doing harm.

    But simply changing their minds really does not cut it… like all our reactions to AGW, any effort done now needs to be about 10 times greater than effort done a few years ago. The longer we wait, the greater the response required. Or are there skeptical doubts about that too?

  12. fj2 says:

    Hopefully, “all the ducks are being lined up” to make the case for immediate action with “all-stops-out” war-like speed to try to slow the accelerating environmental devastation.

  13. mike roddy says:

    Hanlon may be an important indicator. It’s becoming increasingly ridiculous for journalists to give any credence whatsoever to people like Watts, McIntyre, and Michaels.

    Time to resoundingly humiliate those who still believe them, including Fox reporters and right wing politicians. Then they will have no choice but to finally accept the truth, as Hanlon has done. Who knows- maybe something would actually get done then.

  14. Lou Grinzo says:


    You beat me to the post. This is one of those things I find absolutely mind boggling, the need for so many people to actually see ice melting before they believe it’s melting. And let us be perfectly clear about one detail here (as Jonah alludes to): If someone flies to Greenland and stands on the ice and sees a small river of water roaring into a moulin IT PROVES NOTHING. They’re looking at a very tiny fraction of the massive ice mass that is the Greenland ice sheet. Yet that’s what convinces so many instead of countless reports from NASA and the NOAA and institutions in other countries showing very significant ice mass loss over the last 30 years.

    Honestly, there are times when I wonder if we’re smart enough to save ourselves.

    And speaking of Greenland:

    Greenland ice sheet faces ‘tipping point in 10 years’

  15. John Mason says:

    Some bonkers comments after the article in the Mail, mind. The readership are not impressed. However, let nobody be surprised by that!

    Cheers – John

  16. fj2 says:

    Just like big oil pressures the media so can administrations.

    Hopefully this is what’s happening.

    The media has essentially been lying by downgrading the extremely dangerous and accelerating crisis caused by climate change.

    We will have to go into survival mode as soon as possible.

    Will “The Atlantic” be next?

  17. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    The disaster in Pakistan is beyond all previous disasters yet so much bad stuff is happening it barely rates a mention. Not even a post from Joe.

    The future is here and I do not like it.

  18. John Mason says:

    It’s hard to assess the overall severity of the Pakistan disaster because of the sheer unprecedented scale of it.

    Cheers – John

  19. Chad says:

    Rabid: You mean the disasters in Pakistan, Russia, and China, all in recent weeks. It’s gotta be coincidence.

  20. UK residents will know that The Daily Mail, along with The Telegraph and The Express, is a bastion of climate change denial. Its columnists in particular buy into the paranoid notion that the crisis is a hoax concocted by liberals to subvert capitalism – or something like that. Even if the science editor of the Mail has had his ‘oh shit’ moment, that doesn’t mean that columnists like Peter Hitchens or Melanie Phillips are going to follow suit. It will, I fear, take a weather disaster of Russian proportions in the UK before the many, many commentators in our media who deny reality start to acknowledge it. As it happens, the coverage even in our non-partisan media has worsened in the past couple of years, with the BBC notably timorous about calling a spade a spade… for fear of upsetting the ideologues of false equivalence. So, a (late) start from one rightwing hack, but a long way to go before the truth is properly disseminated.

  21. Prokaryotes says:

    Gregory Norminton, #20 “the many, many commentators”

    Are partly paid to do so. It’s an orchestrated campaign and there are people with internet access working for dirty energy.

  22. Michael Tucker says:

    Hanlon may have moved from thinking that the science is a con to “…something worrying is going on…” but he can’t bring himself to embrace the science. He DID call it global warming (a big deal these days) but that was only in the title. Nowhere does he mention greenhouse gasses and he says, “The big question is: is this a temporary blip, a short- term warming that will correct itself in a few years? Or is something far more sinister and long-term going on?
    Well, it is possible that the dramatic melting we are seeing will stabilise, that the Greenland icesheet will shrink a bit, and then stop shrinking as it adjusts to a slightly warmer world.”

    So the warming may just stop all on its own. Hanlon is still confused and he is not convinced that rising CO2 has anything to do with temperature.

    However, I think the most interesting part of the article are the comments from Dr Hubbard of Aberystwyth University, described as “Britain’s leading glaciologist studying Greenland” who says, “I used to be a sceptic about Greenland melting but now I’m keeping an open mind.” Never mind the “[meltwater] lakes and moulins right on the centre of the [ice sheet that persist] well into August.” The good professor says Greenland will take a millennium to melt and “we will know for sure what is happening in Greenland soon, certainly within a decade.”

    So the best that Britain’s leading glaciologist studying Greenland can say is that he is open minded as to whether the Greenland ice sheet is melting and we will know for sure in about 10 years. Compaired to that Hanlon should get the “Alpha Dog of the Week” award.

  23. Doug Bostrom says:

    Rabid Doomsayer says: August 11, 2010 at 11:44 am

    The disaster in Pakistan is beyond all previous disasters yet so much bad stuff is happening it barely rates a mention. Not even a post from Joe.

    Begging the question, do we include losing an expensive, decade-long war and having a few handfuls of nuclear weapons fall into the hands of religious extremists in “adaptation costs?”

    Where exactly do these “adaptation costs” end, anyway?

    Adaptation: “Will you raise my credit limit, please? I can’t tell you how much, just make it open-ended, ok?”

  24. DavidCOG says:


    > …it’s absolutely mind-boggling that a trip to Greenland was required for a _science_editor_ (!!) to understand that the ice shelf is melting!

    I puzzled on that when I read about this a couple of days ago. Perhaps he was stuck on a boat for a few hours with a real scientist who calmly gave him education he failed to achieve on his own by using Google like the rest of us.

    Maybe we need to chip in, hire a boat and send all the ‘major league’ deniers on a trip to the Arctic – where they will be a captive audience for many hours? And the ones who don’t concede to reality can be left up there. ;)

  25. Some European says:

    I know many of us are angry at the damage these people have caused but let’s focus on the positive side:
    It’s grest news that influential skeptics are changing their views!
    Let’s cooperate and set aside our differences in the face of the common threat.
    I propose we massively write encouraging comments to these editors.

    (In 15 years time they’ll be sued anyway. But what’s the point in a collapsing world?)

  26. Mark says:

    eye opening tips aside, let’s give a big heap of credit for these changes in the media (national post a week ago) to the relentless, logical, humorous, entertaining, attack on all of these paranoid, uninformed climate skeptics that populate the mainstream media,

    being delivered by

    Joe Romm,

    Thanks Joe.

  27. Mark says:


  28. Paulm says:

    Massive ice chunk threatens oil platforms, shipping lanes

    It’s been a summer of near biblical climatic havoc across the planet, with wildfires, heat and smog in Russia and killer floods in Asia. But the moment the Petermann glacier cracked last week — creating the biggest Arctic ice island in half a century — may symbolize a warming world like no other

  29. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate change, Pakistani floods, and causality

    We report in today’s newspaper that the floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Russia and landslides in China are “proof” of global warming, according to the IPCC.

    The story, with a less dramatic headline, is online here. The angle there is the more modest “global warming could be the cause” of the various disasters. Dr Stott makes the point best “If we have these type of extreme weather patterns, then climate change has loaded the dice so there is more risk of bad things happening.” Loaded dice is a perfect metaphor.

    Not sure if the author knows the origin of that metaphor – anyway.

  30. Paulm says:

    Not one but two article on GW on front page of US Today This being the main headline…

    Think this summer is hot? Get used to it

  31. NeilT says:

    I have a lot of experience with the DM and their reporting techniques. I was invited up to London for the pre launch of their new message board. It was clear then that the paper was making a real sea change. Sensationalism, trivia and any garbage that makes money and sells papers. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not so long as someone believes it and can be relied on to corroborate it.

    The DM estimated that their new website would be worth about £12 per year. Especially the OMG….. section.

    Says it all really. Don’t expect anything solid from them. Russia is burning and in the grip of a heatwave never recorded before. Pakistan is drowning and China is having part of the country washed away. So the DM hedges it’s bets with an article which says:

    “Well I went to Greenland and, hey, those scientist types are right, there’s rivers up there rushing down through the Ice. Seems important and might be a problem but I’m not convinced. Give me a decade or so for the world to fall apart and I’ll have enough sensation to be able to feed it to you one inch at a time for loads of cash”!

    I never expected anything else……

  32. NeilT says:

    It seems they have pulled the comments for this article. Maybe they got too many people who actually know what they are talking about commenting which drowned out the crazies…..

  33. Michael Tucker says:

    Russia Fires, Pakistan Floods Linked?

    It is a very informative article and this quote stood out:

    “The key message is that it’s not just natural variability and not just global warming” but a combination of both, Trenberth said.

  34. Prokaryotes says:


    Chicago Tribune: To stop climate change crisis, remove GOP,0,7179435.story

  35. Prokaryotes says:

    More Metaphor

    Iceberg as a Metaphor for Inaction
    On Saturday, Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachussets, and chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, used the unusual event to fire a salvo at Republican opponents of climate change legislation in the Senate.

    “An iceberg four times the size of Manhattan has broken off Greenland, creating plenty of room for global warming deniers to start their own country,” Mr. Markey said in a statement. “So far, 2010 has been the hottest year on record, and scientists agree Arctic ice is a canary in a coal mine that provides clear warnings on climate.”

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    Alarming, but that’s what happening mostly due to inaction

    Killer heat waves and retreating icesheets raise climate alarm

    Scientists warn Congress that melting Greenland icesheet could lead to sea level rises of seven metres

    While people are now busy checking their home elevation level, it is importent to know that the sea level rise is not constant. This means some areas see lower sea level rise – others much more. And than there are other ice bodys in the process to melt …

  37. Prokaryotes says:

    then / important …

  38. 2010 is becoming a catastrophic year from a climatic standpoint and this has served to convert some of the fence sitters away from their skepticism. That’s a positive thing but it is important to keep in mind that when the masses — that is, the millions of Americans and Chinese and Indians — finally recognize that political action is necessary in order to avoid the consequences of pollution, it is going to be well past the tipping point for the planet and at the onset of an ecological apocalypse of such vast scale as to make the book of Revelation (and similar end-time prophecies from other religions) seem like a picnic.

    What is happening on the Earth right now isn’t an indication that the climate change is actually happening. What is happening is evidence that the worst case scenario has already begun. This is really bad news considering that humankind hasn’t made even the slightest effort to reduce pollution and there is no evidence for global political will to address the issue in a substantial in the years ahead.

    Combined with all of the catastrophes occurring worldwide it is important to also keep in mind that an economic tipping point is also quickly approaching. 10% unemployment, the stock market threatening to collapse, China’s economy under great stress, and the governments of the world running out of money to prop up the capitalist ponzi scheme any longer.

    So in 2010 humankind is caught between a rock and a hard place without any means of escape. Things are going to get really bad in the years ahead and then this civilization will die horrendously. There is actually no happy ending to the human story.

    Humankind is in a very bad place.

  39. Prokaryotes says:

    “Humankind is in a very bad place.”

    Yes, and only truth, transparency, clean technologies and global action can solve the mess. But we need to start right now, right here and the US should lead.

  40. MikeB says:

    The DM will continue to be the DM, alas. If the science editor can still hedge his bets in his latest article, then there is no hope that Melenie Philips, etc will. However, perhaps we should never underestimate the ability of the DM to say something one day, and then be equally shrill about the exact opposite the next day. Or actually both at the same time…

  41. paulm says:

    “The world’s newest ice island already is being used as a powerful emblem in the global warming debate, with U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts suggesting it could serve as a home for climate change skeptics.”

    US Today also had a ref to Ed & the Skeptics.

    Good to see the GOP getting some heat. As the GW temp rises we see them melting.

    The inconvenient truth is the Al is going to have the last laugh, unfortunately.

  42. Deborah Stark says:

    Somewhere in the mid-70’s I had a fleeting premonition of sitting with a grandchild on my lap and showing her photographs of animals and plants that no longer existed. It made an indelible impression. Just thinking about it now it seems like yesterday.

    I have two granddaughters now, ages four and one.

    Here we are.

  43. dbmetzger says:

    Here’s a story from sky news, as usual hedging its bets. Yet, if this extreme weather keeps up maybe even Fox news will come around.
    Extreme Weather Causes Global Chaos
    Climate change experts says the environmental disasters killing hundreds of thousands of people across the world could be a sign that global warming has well and truly arrived.

  44. Nick says:

    Having to wait for these laggard ‘journalists’ to get their education in public is absolutely infuriating. It’s so fascinating to read of Hanlon’s long and personal journey of discovery..yawn.

  45. ozajh says:

    #34 Prokaryotes,

    In case you don’t know the ins and outs of the Australian print media, the Herald Sun is the Murdoch tabloid in Melbourne (2nd largest Australian city, 15% of the population of the entire country if you include the suburbs/exurbs).

    We’re talking knee-jerk right-wing journalism.

    A Herald Sun article referring to a climate change crisis is a BIG turnaround from their normal posture.

  46. jorleh says:

    Ice melting in Greenland happens mostly down below 1000 meters. On the level 1000 meters above the sea temperature is 5C lower.

    Would it be possible to cover Greenland´s ice below 1000 meters with insulation, to avoid melting? It would be some kind of geoengineering. How many billion dollars?

  47. Prokaryotes says:

    jorleh, #48 “Would it be possible to cover Greenland´s ice below 1000 meters with insulation, to avoid melting? It would be some kind of geoengineering. How many billion dollars?”

    Maybe satellite can point out areas with soot cover – and here i see a potential to do something. But overall it makes more sense to lower the temperature with removing Co2 from the carbon cycle – unloading the dice.

    A new study in Nature Communications finds that the world could, in theory, sustainably offset a whopping 12 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions by producing biochar.

  48. Prokaryotes says:

    Huge rise in sea levels forecast if global warming ignored

    Sea levels could rise by up to seven metres if greenhouse gas emissions were not scaled back, a panel of leading geoscientists has told the US Congress.

    A leading Australian sea level rise researcher, Dr John Church, broadly agreed with the US assessment. ”We are seeing something significant, and it’s something our coastal cities have not experienced before,” said Dr Church, a lead author of the most recent global assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. ”We’re beginning to move outside the range of what we have become used to seeing as normal variability, and see an acceleration of both greenhouse gas levels and sea level rise.”

    The Australian government is currently planning for a sea level rise of 90 centimetres by the end of the century.

    The SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia – published by Fairfax Media.

  49. Prokaryotes says:

    Russians fight to keep wildfires away from top secret nuke plants

    No climate change connection in this DM article.

  50. Prokaryotes says:

    We have to weather a storm of denial

    Sadly, the likely lesson of Pakistan, China and Russia is that we can’t adapt our way out of climate change. When will we run out of excuses to act?

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    ‘Blocked’ jetstream to blame for freak weather in Russia and Pakistan, say scientists

    according to a report in New Scientist.

  52. Prokaryotes says:

    Extreme weather caused by jet stream flows halt – scientists

    In an article in the New Scientist magazine, their explained that the past few weeks have seen a change in the jet stream’s normal pattern. Its waves normally shift east, dragging weather systems along with it. But in mid-July, they came to a halt, creating the perfect conditions for extreme weather.
    The statement flies in the face of previous caveats which cited climate change as something that added significantly to extreme weather events in China, Pakistan and Russia.

  53. Prokaryotes says:

    Fact check

    According to meteorologists monitoring the atmosphere above the northern hemisphere, unusual holding patterns in the jet stream are to blame. So what is the root cause of all of this? Meteorologists are unsure.

    The Daily Maggle is back to cherry picking. And the University of Reading seems to think they are climate scientist or maybe it is because they are desperate and in search for big money?

    From wipi
    “In recent years the university has been beset by controversy, with closing departments and job losses among staff. The university will lose 7.7% of its HEFCE funding in fiscal year 2010-2011.”

  54. Paul says:

    Sooner or later these newspapers need to stop drinking the ‘cool-aid’ of the deny & delay skeptic fools. In light of the evidence this summer, they were beginning to look stupid.

    Being a Canadian I often look at the National Post:

    The National Post on August 12 publishes on it’s main online page a Photo Gallery “Gallery: Water and Fire” with the statement: “Flooding in Europe and Asia coupled with heat waves leading to wildfires in Russia and even British Columbia have shown us our vulnerability to the planet’s weather patterns”

    This is a step in the right direction. But the National Post has to:

    1) acknowledge the CO2 emissions is why humanity is” our vulnerability to the planet’s weather patterns” ie: climate change; and

    2) Proactively Support National & International Solutions!: Clean Energy such as wind, solar; carbon pricing; cap & trade etc…

    Together we can save the planet! But time is of the essence; We do NOT get a second chance!

  55. Prokaryotes says:

    After reading this I have the impression that New Scientist author Michael Marshall is twisting the article to his liking.

  56. Prokaryotes says:

    A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance indicates that governments gave $46 billion of support to renewable energy last year through tax credits, feed-in tariffs, and alternative energy credits. In contrast, the International Energy Agency stated that $557 billion was spent to subsidize fossil fuels in 2008.