Nafeez Ahmed writes in a blog post at the Guardian
About a week ago, climate scientist Michael Tobis wrote a critique of my ‘Seven facts about the Arctic methane time bomb’ following a twitter exchange with him and Chris Colose, author of an article at Skeptical Science arguing that the core scenario of a new Nature paper by Gail Whiteman et. al on the economic costs of Arctic climate change is extremely unlikely.
There follows a great deal of counter-spin, but essentially zero recognition that his seven points are beside the point that he is trying to defend. I appreciate that he writes “there’s not enough research justifying conclusions that we are definitely on the brink of a catastrophe”, but that follows after saying “there’s simply not enough research to justify dismissing the possibility of a catastrophe”.
Of course it is not possible to prove a negative. The claim is only that there is nothing in Shakhova’s work that actually indicates the likelihood of the specific catastrophe that she alludes to in informal communication. There is no evidence of that catastrophe. There is no reason to factor it into our calculations.
Ahmed’s counter-counter-arguments to my counter-arguments amount to repeating and defending his original red herrings.
I showed that he offered nothing in support of Wadhams’ claims which amount to credulity in Shakhova’s coy speculations. For Ahmed to bolster his seven points does nothing further, because the points are simply not germane.
He does not seem to understand that they are red herrings. That was my complaint, and my complaint stands.
There’s not much point in arguing nuance on his seven points, because they are still beside the point, and he still doesn’t seem to see how or why.
Maybe I can defer to Gavin Schmidt for a summary:
“The scenario they used is so unlikely as to be completely pointless talking about,”
“There is still no evidence of actual shallow hydrates on ESAS.”
Until somebody says something to the contrary worth discussing, the only thing we have to discuss is how much discussion there has been about nothing.
At least we have a concession from Ahmed that
The Nature paper by Whiteman et. al went too far in stating the Shakhova et. al scenario as “likely”.
I’ll go along with that much. Let’s count it as progress.
UPDATE: Nafeez has withdrawn his support for the Shakhova scenario, below. I have verified that it is him via his Twitter account.