Polar Tragedy Politicized, Attacked

Sad news from the Arctic Circle – Cold Facts polar explorers Marc Cornelissen (46) and Philip de Roo (30) fell through thinning pack ice after setting out from Resolute Bay to Bathurst Island. Cornelissen’s remains have been located, de Roo remains missing and presumed dead. Their sled dog survived and has been returned to a safe location. The pair were traveling through the Canadian High Arctic and conducting scientific research on summer sea ice. The area is considered unique by many, a “Last Ice Area” that may be one of the last areas to resist the melting forces of global climate change.

Last Ice Survey 2015 map

It didn’t take long for those in the so-called Climate Skeptic movement to pile on.

Personally I think the expedition smacks more of a piss-poorly judged publicity stunt by activists, and much less a scientific expedition to explore the unknown. This looks to be highly dim-witted and reckless adventurism in servitude of sensationalist science. There needs to be an independent inquiry into this accident. (NoTrickZone.com)
And this as well:

Questions are now being raised over why the two men were on the expedition at all. Neither of the participants were climate scientists; Mr Cornelissen held a degree in architecture and seemed to have been drawn to the Arctic as an amateur adventurer…  What is certain is that climate change advocates are already using the men’s deaths to push the climate change agenda. (Breitbart.com)

Even for the climate change skeptic movement, this is a new low. But allow me a moment to separate the serious from the silly. Yes, any tragedy of this nature deserves a hard look and an independent investigation of the techniques, training, planning and available rescue options. I am of the opinion that loss of life must be unacceptable on expeditions. Life is too precious to dismiss these rare tragedies as inevitable.

But “piss-poor… publicity stunt by activists?” “Dim-witted and reckless adventurism?” “Sensationalist science?” What complete and total nonsense. These men volunteered their time and skills not for personal aggrandizement, but to study a well-established phenomenon. By all accounts, they were experienced polar trekkers doing their part to further on-the-ground study of arctic ice loss. We need more of this, not less, especially with the increasing political threats posed to NASA satellite-based climate study.

arctic-scientistsYou want a real piss-poor publicity stunt? Throw a snowball in the senate. You want to talk about sensationalist, nonsense “science?” Look no further than those purporting the environmental benefits of carbon dioxide. And if you want to talk about dim-witted and reckless adventurism, let’s have a conversation about the largest uncontrolled chemical experiment ever conceived–the one we’re currently conducting on our atmosphere.

ExpeditionWriter salutes Marc and Philip. My sincerest condolences to the family, and I hope the climate change skeptics take a hard look at themselves and refrain from further tasteless mudslinging.

Taylor Zajonc | Author, Historian & Shipwreck Expert

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