Dear EarthTalk: Is Antarctica really melting?

Dear EarthTalk: To what extent is Antarctica really melting and what impact might it have on coastlines around the world?     — Andrea Hutchinson, Cary, NC

The Antarctic continent, roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined, is composed of rock covered by glaciers some 16,000 feet thick. The glaciers form from fallen snow compacting into successive layers of ice, and they eventually move downhill toward the coasts and “calve” into the ocean as icebergs and eventually melt out into the sea. Antarctica and Greenland combined hold about 99 percent of the globe’s freshwater ice.


According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center, the result of the entire Antarctic continent melting out completely would be sea level rise of about 200 feet around the world, which could in turn lead to untold devastation. While no one can be sure how hot things will get as a result of global warming, most climate models don’t forecast conditions hot enough to cause the wholesale melt-out of Antarctica.

In fact, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reports that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which constitutes about two-thirds of the world’s southernmost and iciest continent, is remaining relatively stable, with some slight melting that is balanced out by new winter snows. Because East Antarctica rests on rock that is higher than sea level, it is unlikely to collapse. In fact, East Antarctica’s ice cover may thicken moving forward due to predicted increases in snowfall amounts over the coming decades.

But on the west side of Antarctica, ice across an area roughly the size of Texas called the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) is already thinning rapidly in large part as a result of surrounding waters warming up due to changing ocean circulation patterns.  Many scientists believe that these ocean changes are happening as a result of human-induced global warming as well as thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer.

“This is an area that has always caused glaciologists concern, because here the bedrock beneath the ice is a long way below sea-level and the ice is only kept in place because it is thick enough to rest on the bed,” reports BAS. “Thinning of the ice around the coast could lead to glacier acceleration and further thinning of the ice sheet. Essentially, the ice sheet may be unstable, and the recent pattern of thinning could be a precursor to wholesale loss of the ASE ice sheet.”

Meanwhile, researchers from NASA and UC Irvine studying the ASE ice sheet report a “continuous and rapid retreat” of glaciers there and think that there is “no [major] obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat.” They worry that within a millennium and perhaps as soon as two centuries, the ASE could melt out entirely—leading to between four and 10 feet of sea level rise around the world—if moderate warming models prove to be correct.

Of course, we can all play a role in preventing such scenarios by reducing our carbon footprints. Take fewer airplane trips. Buy organic food. Walk, bike or take public transit to work. If you must drive, get a hybrid or electric car. Wear a sweater instead of turning up the heat. And urge legislators to push new laws that limit greenhouse gas emissions by industry, utilities and other big polluters. It may be now or never.

CONTACTS: National Snow & Ice Data Center,; British Antarctic Survey,

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to:


EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to:


      Actually, Antarctica ice volume has been increasing at a small but steady pace for the last 30 years, almost balancing the loss of Arctic sea ice for global ice volume. Losing the ice stored on land on Antarctica and Greenland would of course be catastrophic, but is impossible for hundreds if not thousands of years at the current rate of loss. Infinitely more likely than that is a recurrence of glaciation, as in The Little Ice Age documented by painters in the late Renaissance. Or even, much more catastrophically, a return to a REAL ice age as seen 20,000 years ago when London was covered by a mile-thick ice sheet. For the “uncontested facts” on global warming, see the NewYorker’s Antarctica blog (google NewYorker blog antarctica ice sheet melting) or the interview with German physicist Klaus-Eckart Puls (google Puls NoTricksZone)

      • ReduceGHGs

        NoTricksZone? What tha? As if that was a reliable source of scientific information? Here’s a little something from the author of that site from it’s creator. He’s certainly no climate scientist and he’s NOT a credible source.

        “I’m a US citizen, received an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering at Vermont Technical College and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Now I live in Europe and help my wife, the owner, run a small business that provides communication services for business and industry who deliver cutting-edge products, technology and services to market and thus make our lives immensely better.”

        If you look hard enough you can always find a contrarian like Puls. But rather than digging through multiple layers of credible, well respected experts to find someone that says what you want to hear, I recommend reading about the overwhelming evidence. All the studies completed indicate anthropogenic warming and not one respected scientific body says otherwise.

        The fossil fuel industry has created a web of disinformation to inject public doubt where there’s no reasonable scientific doubt. Honest sources are preferable.


          Klaus-Eckhart Puls is not the creator of the site.
          He is a meteorologist and physicist at the European Institute for Climate and Energy*. But even if you could cast aspersions on the source, you still – as usual – wouldn’t be addressing the data and the conclusions. Try that, if it’s not beyond you. Ad hominem is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but you don’t even do that right. But don’t be scared. The truth will set you free.
          Did you happen to take a look at the uncontested facts on the NewYorker Antarctic blog?

          * Europäisches Institut für Klima und Energie (EIKE), the European Institute for Climate and Energy in English, is a German group of climate change skeptics founded in February 2007 in Hanover. Skepticism is of course the default starting point for all science.

          • ReduceGHGs

            I’ll leave an analysis of the data and conclusions to those that have the necessary education and training. As I said, you can always find a contrarian. But why do you find it necessary to dig through the many layers of studies and respected institutional conclusions to find this guy? Does he disprove all the studies? No. Is he somehow more reliable than NASA, NAS, AGU, AAAS, AIP, MET, and the others? Of course not. But use dig him up. Why? Scared of the truth? Best we face it and deal with it. Denial won’t change the reality.


              Don’t be silly. I don’t look for guys, I look for data. Puls happens to have phrased it in a manner I thought appropriate to the forum. You can find thousands of others if you wish, but Puls’s sources are the data from the measuring sites.
              Thank you for asserting that you are not competent to assess the data or the conclusions. So I guess you’re compelled to look for opinions that are agreeable to you, from plausible people. But you might chew on this, from the NewYorker blog:

              Yes, humans have done a lot to influence the environment. So have beetles. Climate, not so much. You’ve got to have faith.

              You might start reviewing the uncontested scientific data presented a few days ago:

              The observation acknowledged by the experts is this:
              1 During the last century, the earth warmed slightly (less than 1°C).
              2 The earth has generally cooled over the last 12,000 years. We are currently at the cold end of the Holocene (the period since the end of the last Ice Age.) See the Greenland and Vostok ice records.
              3 The earth has generally warmed since the depths of the Little Ice Age around 1650, at a rate somewhere around a half a degree Celsius per century. See Akasufo, the Central England Temperature (CET), and the Armagh records.
              4 The largest warming in any instrumental record occurred around 1680 – 1730. See the CET and Armagh records.
              5 The earth was either stable or cooled slightly from about 1945 to 1975.
              6 The earth warmed slightly from about 1975 to 1998.
              7 There has been no statistically significant warming from 1995 to the present (Feb. 2010).
              The experts include Phil Jones.

              Antarctic ice has been growing steadily for the last 30 years. Is it surprising that pieces are going to fall off the periphery?

              1/ Is global warming happening?
              2/ Is it a bad thing?
              3/ Are we causing it?
              4/ Is there anything we can do about it?
              Answers seem to be:
              1/ A little bit
              2/ Not necessarily – there are benefits as well as potential problems.
              3/ Doesn’t seem so – CO2 is not a major factor, and even if it is, mankind is a very small contributor to CO2.
              4/ Because we are a very tiny contributor to CO2, which is a very teeny contributor to GW, then our actions to reduce this will have virtually no effect.

              Water vapor is responsible for 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect, an effect which is vital to keep the world warm (15C instead of -18C)
              The other greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, and various others including CFCs, contribute only five per cent of the effect, carbon dioxide being by far the greatest contributor at 3.6 per cent.
              Carbon dioxide as a result of man’s activities is only 3.2 per cent of that, hence only 0.12 per cent of the greenhouse gases in total.
              By far the greatest source of manmade CO2 is cement manufacture, and by far the greatest contributor is China.

              The only factors that control the effect of CO2 on climate are the amount of thermal radiation from the Earth in the 13.5 to 15micron band and the saturation of this band at the concentration levels of CO2.
              At our current concentration of 385ppmv the band is 85% – 90% saturated. At 770ppmv it will be about 88% – 92% saturated.
              A doubling of CO2 from our current level of 385ppmv to 770ppmv will only increase the global temperature by something less than 0.3°C not the 3°C of the climate models that use a relationship based on 100ppmv increase from preindustrial 280 to 380ppmv resulting in the entire 0.6°C of warming in the IPCC 2001 report.
              If nothing else, since the MBH98 temperature proxy was discredited, the IPCC can no longer use the 0.6°C value but have to reduce this by the observed natural warming that occurred since the little ice age of 0.5°C/century.
              This leaves only 0.1°C of warming possibly due to CO2 and when this is factored in the IPCC models will yield results of no more than .5°C for a doubling of CO2.

              Roger Pielke, PhD says:
              In regard to CO2, examine the evidence and find that:
              1) Human contributions will never add enough CO2 to come even remotely close to historic levels of CO2. We would run out of hydrocarbons to burn long before we ever came close.
              2) Historically, 8,000ppm (give or take) did not cause a climate catastrophe.
              3) The last time the planet was as cold as it has been for the last 5 million years was during the Ordovician Ice Age (460 million years ago). At that time, CO2 was about 4,500ppm (give or take).
              4) So, when the IPCC suggests a worst case scenario of less than 800ppm by 2100, I can’t get too excited.
              5) It is (MAYBE) theoretically possible that volcanoes could reverse a 600 million year trend and add enough CO2 to create a risk (at least in the eyes of OSHA) to human health. But even OSHA says anything under 5,000ppm is safe.

              Klaus-Ekart Puls, physicist and meteorologist was interviewed by the Swiss magazine “factum”:
              factum: In your view, melting Antarctic sea ice and the fracture of a huge iceberg 3 years ago are nothing to worry about?
              Puls: To the contrary, the Antarctic ice cap has grown both in area and volume over the last 30 years, and temperature has declined. This 30-year trend is clear to see. The Amundsen Scott Station of the USA shows that temperature has been declining there since 1957. 90% of the Earth’s ice is stored in Antarctica, which is one and half times larger than Europe.

              factum: Then why do we always read it is getting warmer down there?
              Puls: Here they are only talking about the West Antarctic peninsula, which is where the big chunk of ice broke off in 2008 – from the Wilkins-Shelf. This area is hardly 1% of the entire area of Antarctica, but it is exposed to Southern Hemisphere west wind drift and some of the strongest storms on the planet.

              factum: So we don’t need to do anything against climate change?
              Puls: There’s nothing we can do to stop it. Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob. Many confuse environmental protection with climate protection. It’s impossible to protect the climate, but we can protect the environment and our drinking water. On the debate concerning alternative energies, which is sensible, it is often driven by the irrational climate debate. One has nothing to do with the other.

              And here’s the transcript of the Working Group of the American Physical Society, which reported to the IPCC, which modified the report for the Executive Summary to suit its IPCC politics:

            • ReduceGHGs

              No credit for volume, sorry.
              Looks more like you look to your agenda.

              American Physical Society
              “Human activities are causing an enhancement of the natural
              greenhouse effect by substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. For example, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has already risen by about 30% from its pre-industrial level and methane concentrations are more than double their pre-industrial value.”

              As for Pielke…. “Dr. Pielke’s work on climate change effects has been criticized by Dr. Stephen Schneider, who said that with Pielke “one consistent pattern emerges-he is a self-aggrandizer who sets up straw men, knocks them down, and takes credit for being the honest broker to explain the mess-and in fact usually adds little new social science to his analysis.”

              Still we have all the world’s respected scientific institutions, based on over 40 years of global studies, seeing human-caused climate change as a problem.

              Case closed. If it is indeed your paid agenda to agenda to peddle propaganda, I suggest looking for an honest way to make a living instead.


              *No credit for volume, sorry.*
              That’s OK – you can start with just one – any one – of your choice. I can wait. There’s at least a dozen statements that must discomfit you. Pick one and disprove it. Disprove means with data, not with names and opinions.

              *Looks more like you look to your agenda.*
              What agenda could I possibly have other than accuracy? I’m just highly allergic to bullshit.

              *American Physical Society
              “Human activities are causing an enhancement of the natural
              greenhouse effect by substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. For example, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has already risen by about 30% from its pre-industrial level and methane concentrations are more than double their pre-industrial value.”*

              In 2010, Hal Lewis resigned in disgust at the APS’s misguided climate change policy. His entire letter can be read here: [blogsDOTtelegraphDOTcoDOTuk/news/jamesdelingpole/100058265/us-physics-professor-global-warming-is-the-greatest-and-most-successful-pseudoscientific-fraud-i-have-seen-in-my-long-life/]
              Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety; Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making).
              In Feb 2014, the APS appointed three climate change “deniers” to the review board to determine if that statement needed to be modified: Judy Curry, Richard Lindzen, and John Christy. The full board of six did indeed recommend changes. Up to this point they have been ignored. For “deniers”, please substiture “scientists” and, to allow you to proceed without further embarrassing yourself, please add “Dr.” in front of each name.

              *As for Pielke…. “Dr. Pielke’s work on climate change effects has been criticized by Dr. Stephen Schneider, who said that with Pielke “one consistent pattern emerges-he is a self-aggrandizer who sets up straw men, knocks them down, and takes credit for being the honest broker to explain the mess-and in fact usually adds little new social science to his analysis.”*
              That sounds like the usual response to statements you can’t refute. Kill the messenger.

              *Still we have all the world’s respected scientific institutions, based on over 40 years of global studies, seeing human-caused climate change as a problem.*
              Ah, but it’s hard to say that it’s more of a problem than stupidity and ignorance coupled with greed. What a threesome!

              *Case closed. *
              Right. Excellent strategy. Withdraw and declare victory without ever having drawn your sword. Try not to get cut down by your own men on the way out, since you dropped your sword and your shield before you fled.

              *If it is indeed your paid agenda to agenda to peddle propaganda, I suggest looking for an honest way to make a living instead.*
              Oh, the most unkindest cut of all! Name-calling! I am wounded to the quick.
              Failing your response, I will assume the field. Enjoy your retirement.

            • ReduceGHGs

              Still no credit for volume without substance.

              Judy Curry, Richard Lindzen, and John Christy??? All so very unbiased and respected. lol!

              A pathetic and transparent “argument” but it’s the best you can do.

              Sorry, I’ll stick with NASA, AGU, MET, NAS, AAAS, and the others.
              Maybe it’s time for you to retire. lol!

              How about telling your story, you know, how you got into spreading disinformation about climate change. You can do it anonymously on my web site. Love to hear it. Post a reply there. ExhaustingHabitability(dot)org


              Not a seductive offer at all. But I am surprised you have a web site. I figured you to be a teen-age girl.

            • ReduceGHGs

              Do you need to be paid to tell your story?


              Last question: If “Judy Curry, Richard Lindzen, and John Christy??? All so very unbiased and respected. lol!” then why did the APS appoint them to the 6-member working panel to revise the statement? And why did the six members agree unanimously on the revision? And why hasn’t it been adopted?

            • ReduceGHGs

              You’ll need to do your own research to their motivations. None of them are respected climate scientists and none of them have studies to back up their denials.

              So if you give me your full verifiable story and I get it published I’ll make sure you’re compensated. Come on, what say you?

            • rilian

              Sounds to me like to you the only respected climate scientist is one who agrees with you…

            • ReduceGHGs

              No, I’m a critical thinker that would love for the current state of climate science to be wrong. Given the fact that all the credible studies and scientific bodies concur, there’s really no reasonable doubt. But from an ill-informed or misinformed perspective, there’s plenty of room for unreasonable doubt.

            • ron davison

              We are still waiting on the “Peer reviewed data” you claim to have based your conclusions on.

            • ron davison

              Silly is using junk sources funded by special interest groups, especially when they, in vain, hide who is paying the bills.

              So go to places that have real peer reviewed data.

              If it is funded by secret doners then its junk science and junk data, period.
              This has been proven over and over to be true.
              But to be fair it is skillfully presented to look scientific, pointing to real data that was cherry picked to support the cause the “Institute” was created to promote in the first place. That IS the reason for its existence.
              Data, pretending to be scientific does not make it so.

              Another clue is if it has any balance of the issue.
              with references to the competing viewpoint and its dat presented and linked to, saying ______ and when looking at their peer reviewed data it has been concluded incorrectly because of _____

              This just does not happen at these types of sites.
              Also blanket statements without any reference to peer reviewed data or peer reviewed data.

              To think that this is not just about delaying renewable energy penetration via disinformation is at best naive, at worse those pretending to be convinced, potentially are paid foot solders for the disinformation brigade.

              It reminds me of the “journalist” of places of the rich and famous licking Murdoch rear end on national TV on Fox, after he was shown to have lied in front of the world, after he was forced to testify in court.
              It is laughable yes, believable, no

          • ReduceGHGs

            Just for fun I did a little research on the European Institute for Climate and Energy. They’re a corporate funded, at least in part by the heatland institute and the koch brothers. Do you really think this is an honest source of scientific information? Really? Here’s the link.

            Google: ceo Concealing their sources – who funds Europe’s climate change deniers?

          • ron davison

            It only matters if this site is peer reviewed by those in the field.
            Is it or is it not?
            Are the conclusions peer reviewed?
            less than 5% of climate scientist does not
            And not just peer review data, but also the conclusions and motivations of using a sub-set of papers that specifically lean toward denialism or on the other end over-stating GHG issues.

          • ron davison

            European Institute for Climate and Energy in English, is a German group of climate change skeptics founded in February 2007 in Hanover. Skepticism is of course the default starting point for all science.

            Or a propaganda machine for denialists.
            How is this institute funded?
            if you don’t stop and find out then you can’t guarentee that it is not junk science.
            If by charities that hide the doners identity, or fossil fuel industries, does not provide a basis for impartiality.
            I do not know about this org yet, but since you admit it was started by “Climate skeptics” you don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to figure it out either.

        • ron davison

          What we need is a peer reviewed approved site link depository that those that find it hard or difficult to find the truth.
          We all must wade through all the lies and noise that has been created, to do just that, discourage those willing to search for the truth, derail them and they have a new friend in the war of disinformation.

          • ReduceGHGs

            There certainly is a web of lies spun by the fossil fuel interests like the koch oil billionaire brothers. They want the public to believe there’s a credible debate over the core issue. There isn’t.

            The truth is actually easy to find. Look to scientific institutions with a good historical reputation. There are many. I’ll be happy to review any site that looks questionable. Here’s a link that has a number of credible sources. Google: NASA Climate Change Consensus

            Among the informed, there is no reasonable doubt.

            And here’s a new video that tells some of the story.
            Google: greenworldrising(dot)org

            • ron davison

              What I have learned is if you wrestle with tards then you end up filling the comment sections with 2x dribble theirs and yours.
              Notice if you just ask them to post the peer reviewed science they go dark.
              Just look at my posts and questions above, nada
              yours because you go emotional and opine they can just barf back and forth.
              then any useful information worth reading gets pushed off the page…they win as designed.

            • ReduceGHGs

              Here’s one of the earliest studies to brighten your dark side.
              Google: The Charney Report 1979
              Was completed by NAS for Congress. Subsequent studies are many and reinforced the finding. Yes, this by now is well-established science.
              I notice that AGAIN providing no evidence what so ever. It doesn’t make for a convenience argument.

              I’m not emotional about this. I’m a realist. The current state of science is clear. Continued pollution of the atmosphere at or near current rates degrades habitability on many fronts. Need to learn more about it? Try my website. ExhaustingHabitability(dot)org

              Enjoy learning.

            • ron davison

              you may not be, (I’m not emotional about this. I’m a realist.)
              1) this is a statement, just like anyone of the statements made by the person that raises the hair on the back of ones neck.

              A statement alone cannot be validated by peer reviewed data.
              but when people play dumb, when one has carefully, and critically studied an issue as you and I have for decades, then its not that hard to raise the hair on the back of ones neck. When people skillfully or not try to muddy the water in comment sections.

              The only reason I am even trying to suggest that you don’t wrestle with tards is because it most always, sidetracks the discussion from really good conversation between like minded people that differ on some nuance.
              yes, it is, no, it isn’t ping-pong.

              i had just spent two weeks doing the same over at greentech, so when I came to read this comment I found you doing what I had just learned to evolve out of.
              Giving someone the benefit of the doubt and trying to convince them is usually not worth the oxygen/CO2 generation IMO. Especially if they are in denial or paid to act like one.
              Its like the bizarro world with you being the // of myself, time delayed a few days!
              That is why I wanted to reach out, and suggest, when you encounter these people, don’t engage them at their level, stay cool and ask for references or links where they get their data or conclusions to unsupported statements.
              When they list GWPF or the one listed hear, then politely point out that being a charity is not by definition, a valid scientific depository of factual peer reviewed papers with conclusions drawn from peer reviewed data.
              If they truthfully answer and have been mislead, then you can inform them with valid posts and show how the links they posted, and EVERYONE else reading, the problem with their link or data being credible.
              If they go dark, or go tardish with not answering direct questions, answering some other mystery question, or change the subject, you know who you are dealling with.

            • ReduceGHGs

              Thanks for the lengthy advise. Certainly spreading the word is more productive that bantering with deniers. That’s why I like to continue to refer to site that provide good sources of current unbiased scientific information, such as, Google: NASA Climate Change Consensus

              More information and what we can is available on my website.

              Good luck

      • Alec Sevins

        Arctic ice is melting at a serious clip, glaciers around the world are predominantly melting, Antarctica’s western shelf is melting, droughts are increasing, hurricanes are traveling farther north, species are already being displaced by warming, yet you talk of ice ages. Brilliant logic.

      • ron davison

        You keep claiming you statements are backed by data, where is it, or are you just going to point to junk science sites and pretend that is good enough?

    • ReduceGHGs

      But lets not miss the forest for the trees, human-caused climate change is a fact and the consequences are not good. Read what the experts have been saying for many years.
      Google: NASA Climate Change Consensus

      Then join the efforts to change course. Apathy/inaction effectively advocates for more of the same destructive behaviors.


    • Alec Sevins

      Major CO2 reductions could be achieved if people would stop idling their engines unnecessarily. Smartphone use seems to be partly responsible for this, as people sit engrossed in their phones looking for directions while spewing CO2. A lot of diesel drivers idle for no reason, not understanding that modern diesels have much shorter cool-down times than old-timer engines.

    • ron davison

      Not that Antartica is not an issue but thats not the whole picture. So all the worlds ICE adds up to more than 200feet IMO.
      Greenland Siberia and the oceans themselves all provide sinks for another much, much more problematic GHG, methane, you know that stuff they frack for underground.
      Trapped in all this world ICE is something called methane hydrates.
      Whee the ICE melts the hydrates get released.
      Methane has 20x to 30x more greenhouse gas contributions than CO2 does per molecule.
      It is the 2nd largest contributer to the GHG index totals, followed by NOx and air conditioning refrigerant gasses that have been released into the atmosphere.
      That is why it is so important to fix you AC instead of topping it off with refrigerant.
      If your AC needs to be topped off every year, don’t, fix it. Please, please fix it, its cost effective anyway rather than paying over and over while contributing th GHG warming.
      If this methane that is trapped in Greenland ICE alone where to escape, massive fish die offs in the Atlantic would happen. This is hypoxia, as the water would not be able to hold the oxygen it does today as CO2 dissolved in water displaces the oxygen holding capacity of water. This happens in lagoons in hot summer months around the world. Then over time the GHG contribution from methane in the atmosphere and oceans would easily go up an order of magnitude faster.
      This is the run away scenario that is so feared by those that understand the facts.