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Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice

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The trouble with all the hype about global warming is that it isn’t true. I wish it were.

Why would anyone living at Headingley’s latitude complain about a little less time in the deep freeze each winter?

But every year it’s the same old, same old. The pond is usually frozen over by Nov. 15 and the snow is seldom completely gone by April 15.

And we should be able to recognize climate change when we see it. We get it twice annually. It’s called fall and spring.

What’s harder to understand is why anyone still pays attention to the apocalypse-now crowd, when they’ve been shouting wolf for the last three or four decades and nothing’s happened.

It seems these folks have a sort of Monty-Python-Doomsday-Club gene in their systems that makes them unable to resist the impulse to issue dire warnings about the end of the world.

Doesn’t seem to matter by what means: mad cow disease, Y2K, errant comets, global cooling, global warming, sin…

In any event, don’t expect them to throw in the towel anytime soon.

Last spring, for example, Paul Beckwith of Sierra Club Canada confidently told the world that the Arctic seas would be ice-free this past summer (2013). The BBC made the same prediction.

That drew boat owners of every description eager to make it through the fabled Northwest Passage. They came in yachts, sailboats, rowboats, kayaks — even a few on jet-ski personal watercraft.

The fun didn’t last long. It turned out to be one of the coldest summers on record. By late August, ice blockages were forming on some channels. By September, ice had sealed the passage and locked at least a dozen craft in its fearsome embrace.

Losses will be extensive. Some of the boats were luxurious, costly vessels. All will be write-offs.
Although the media constantly bombards us with reports of retreating ice in the Arctic, it’s been revealed that as of the end of September the net ice coverage on northern waters was 73% greater than at the same time last year.

The adventurers should have known better. Our planet’s overall temperature has not wavered much for the last 17 years. In 2007, NASA predicted cooler winters until 2030.

Even a better acquaintance with the historical record might have helped. In the mid-18th century British scientists and explorers were dumbstruck by the dramatic disappearance of Arctic ice. Imminent open-water travel through the Northwest Passage was forecast. Then, like Doc Williams’ cat, the ice came back.

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