TOM Smitheringale wanted to prove the world was warming. Now he’s another alarmist with frostbite. The 40-year-old from Perth planned to be the first Australian to trek unassisted to the North Pole, but announced he’d raise some consciousness along the way.
As he wrote on his website: “Part of the reason Tom’s One Man Epic is taking place now is because of the effect that global warming is having on the polar ice caps.” Indeed, he wanted to see the North Pole while it was still there: “Some scientists have even estimated that the polar ice cap will have entirely melted away by 2014!”
But Antarctica isn’t melting away, and Arctic ice has slowly increased since its big low in 1997. But no one seems to have told Tom, who soon found his extremities freezing.Two weeks ago he nearly called off his trek after suffering excruciating pain in his fingers and thumbs, forcing him to call in emergency help.
And last week he had to be rescued by Canadian soldiers after falling through the ice sheet. “(I) came very close to the grave,” he said, on being flown out. This is actually now the fourth year running that warming alarmists have had to be rescued from expeditions to prove the Arctic is warmer than it actually is. It’s a metaphor.
Last year it was British eco-explorer Pen Hadow and his two-person team who had to be flown out mid-stunt, after battling brutal sub-zero weather conditions that gave the team’s photographer frostbite.
The year before, eco-adventurer Lewis Gordon Pugh was similarly thwarted. He’d planned to kayak 1200km to the North Pole to raise awareness of how global warming had allegedly melted the ice sheet so badly that scientists warned the North Pole that summer could be ice-free.
No such luck. Pugh had to pull out, still 1000km from the finish, when a great barrier of sea ice blocked his route. The year before gave even more farcical entertainment. “Explorers and educators” Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen said they were off on what reporters described as “a historic 75-day expedition to the North Pole and beyond to raise awareness of global warming’s impact on the fragile Arctic”.
It turned out that what was fragile was not the Arctic but the alarmists, who had to call off their big trip not long after it started, when Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold drained their batteries.
Explained a spokesman: “They were experiencing temperatures that weren’t expected with global warming.” Like the globe, really. The fact is that when Arctic rescuers must save more people from global warming stunts than from global warming itself, it’s time to heed again the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” So if alarmists settled down, they might just live longer, and keep their toes. And the rest of us might not be put to so much needless expense. Like rescues, for instance.