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EDITORIAL: No more dead parrots

Global-warming fans spend a frozen Christmas in Antarctica

- - Thursday, January 2, 2014

Australian global-warming enthusiasts, enthralled by their own hype, expected their summertime trip to the South Pole to be a breeze. They've been insisting for years that man is overheating the planet, the polar ice caps are melting, and penguins in the south and polar bears in the north would soon die of heat prostration. What a Christmas Eve surprise for the 52 passengers aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy. Their ship became trapped by ice that clearly wasn't melting. The ship remains stuck, perhaps permanently, but a rescue helicopter carried the researchers to safety.

Chris Turney, a professor at the University of New South Wales, organized this Antarctic excursion to "investigate the impact of changing climate." The group set sail, but never got close to the South Pole. Two weeks into what was supposed to be a five-week journey, the ship entered a thick patch of ice that didn't just show up overnight. "The thick chaotic surface we see around the Shokalskiy," Mr. Turney explained on his blog, "is consistent with the idea that this ice is several years old and is considerably more difficult to break through by icebreaker than single-year ice." Large Chinese and French icebreakers gave up early rescue attempts when they were unable to get within several miles of the frozen boat.

A look at readily available satellite imagery would have prevented the fiasco; they show an abundance of ice in the Antarctic. "Climate scientists" don't want anything to disturb their denial. They called their voyage the "Spirit of Mawson" in honor of Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, whose 1912 expedition to the South Pole ended in disaster as well. One of the 1912 survivors wrote a memoir called "The Worst Journey in the World." The journey hasn't improved in the century since. Despite all the carbon dioxide emitted since, there still aren't any sunny beaches or sweltering jungles in Antarctica.

Mr. Turney expected something better than a frozen wasteland, since he and Al Gore argue that man-made global warming is real and has been melting the polar ice caps. Mr. Turney insists his frozen ship is further evidence of global warming — that's his story, and he's sticking to it. According to the professor, the field of ice that trapped his ship was created by an iceberg that broke apart three years ago because of global warming. (The dog ate the paperwork.) His employer, the University of New South Wales, is doubling down, too, with another "study" concluding that the earth's temperature will rise by 4 degrees by 2100 because man insists on electric lights and the internal-combustion engine.

Some people are born disconnected from reality and never learn any better. You could call the affliction the Dead Parrot Syndrome. Monty Python, the British comedy troupe, illustrated this 40 years ago in a sketch about a pet shop owner who tries to persuade a customer that a dead parrot he had just bought was actually alive. Punched or poked, the stiff and lifeless parrot wouldn't move. The shopkeeper insisted the bird was just "stunned" and "pining for the fjords." Global-warming fanatics are equally disconnected from reality. After a generation of scare tactics, dire warnings and apocalyptic predictions, the global-warming movement has become a caricature of itself. They're learning just how difficult it is to sell a dead parrot.