Climate science denier and conspiracy theorist Jim Steele is arguing that a recent outbreak of deadly anthrax in northern Russia was not caused in the way it was caused.
Now, Jim is not a Big Name Celebrity. He’s an occasional blogger at the conspiracy website WattsUpWithThat, and he’s the author of a self-published book describing his personal journey from, oh never mind, it’s boring.
Since Jim isn’t any sort of famous or influential dude, one might ask, why do I care what he’s arguing? The answer is that I try to keep up on climate denialist memes. What we’re doing to the climate matters. People dedicated to making sure we keep doing it also matter. As informed citizens, we need to be aware of the fraudulent arguments they use to keep the damage happening. We need to be aware so we can respond in the public arena.
Why would a climate science denier care about an anthrax outbreak? Where’s the connection? Therein lies a tale.
An outbreak of anthrax in northern Russia, not seen in the Arctic since 1941, has been blamed on thawing due to global warming. Click here for the article. The meat of it is contained in this passage:
Earlier this month, an outbreak of anthrax in northern Russia caused the death of a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother and put 90 people in the hospital. …
Record-high temperatures melted Arctic permafrost and released deadly anthrax spores from a thawing carcass of a caribou that had been infected 75 years ago and had stayed frozen in limbo until now. This all suggests that it may not be easy to predict which populations will be most vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change.
Someone I know read this article and insisted global warming had nothing to do with the outbreak, since the caribou had contracted the disease 75 years ago.
To which we have to respond, “What part of ‘thaw’ didn’t you understand?”
The results of the damage we’re doing to our climate are varied and both more subtle and more pervasive than we imagined. We’d better take decisive and effective action.
I recently had a friend tell me that the number of hot days in the United States has declined over the last eighty years, thus proving that if the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is having an effect on climate, it must be cooling the United States. To prove this claim, he showed me the graphic I include below.
A quick Google image search revealed the graphic was taken from climate science denier Tony Heller, aka “Steve Goddard,” via his conspiracy website ironically titled “RealClimateScience.” (I won’t link to it because I don’t want to increase his income from views to the ads on his site.)
The graphic above isn’t the one my friend showed me. I’ll present that one below, if you want to read more.