The Epistle of Q — Chapter 160

This is not original, just sayin’…or why does no one ever ask why is Greenland called Greenland?

What I am about to write was first penned by Robert Matthews in the Sunday Telegraph and printed on Sunday, April 6th, 2003 in the Times-Colonist out of Victoria BC. By the way, I found this as I was going through some files related to a teaching contract I first was given in 2000 to teach ethics to prospective Environmental Health Officers.

(Title) Climate warming not new, research on Middle Ages finds.
London – Claims that man-made pollution is causing unprecedented global warming have been undermined by new research which shows that the Earth was warmer during the Middle Ages.
From the outset of the global warming debate in the late 1980’s, environmentalists have said that temperatures are rising higher and faster than ever before, leading some scientists to conclude that greenhouse gases from cars and power stations are causing these record-breaking global temperatures.
Last year, scientists working for the British Climate Impacts Program said that global temperatures were the hottest since records began and added: We are pretty sure that climate change due to human activity is here and it’s accelerating.
Such claims have now been sharply contradicted by the most comprehensive study yet of global temperature over the past 1,000 years.
A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today’s temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are they producing the most extreme weather – in stark contrast to the claims of the environmentalists.
The review, carried out by a team from Harvard University, examined the findings of studies of so-called temperature proxies such a tree rings, ice cores and historical accounts which allow scientists to estimate temperatures prevailing at sites around the world.
The findings prove that the world experienced a warm period between the ninth and 14th centuries with global temperatures significantly higher than today.
They also confirm claims that a little ice age set in around 1300, during which the world cooled dramatically. Since 1900, the world has begun to warm up again – but has still to reach the balmy temperatures of the Middle Ages.
The timing of the end of the little ice age is especially significant, as it implies that the records used by climate scientists date from a time when the Earth was relatively cold, thereby exaggerating the significance of today’s temperature rise.
According to the researchers, the evidence confirms suspicions that today’s unprecedented temperatures are simply the result of examining temperature change over too short a period of time.
The study, about to be published in the journal Energy and Environment, has been welcomed by skeptics of global warming, who say it puts the claims of environmentalists in proper context.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, the official voice of global warming research, has conceded the possibility that today’s record-breaking temperatures may be at least partly caused by the Earth recovering from a relatively cold period in recent history.
Simon Brown, the climate extremes research manager at Britain’s Meteorological Office, said that the present consensus among scientists on the UN panel was that the medieval warm period could not be used to judge the significance of existing warming.
Brown said: The conclusion that 20th century warming is not unusual relies on the assertion that the medieval warm period was a global phenomenon. This is not the conclusion of IPCC.
He added that there were also doubts about the reliability of temperature proxies such as tree rings: They are not able to capture the recent warming of the last 50 years, he noted.

End of verbatim

Here is my humble take:
This was a critical moment in this entire debate. Good science is ALWAYS skeptical and now there was a real question around global warming. Here was a chance to get to better – all the IPCC needed to do, in fact if it was truly searching for truth HAD TO DO was say: we need to have a new conversation. They expressed doubt about the proxies research but they wouldn’t allow any doubt about other research that was positing global warming. This, to me, was a fatal flaw.
I remember talking with the head of the Public & Environmental Health program (Concordia University of Edmonton) at the time, a person recruited from Environment Canada because of her expertise in things environmental. She neither asserted there was global warming nor that we should not try to reduce pollution. However she also never claimed that carbon dioxide was anything other than a necessity for life. As a result my course continued to stress the ethical position that we needed to find a way to better. Unfortunately I became less than mainstream as the IPCC became more strident in it’s unwillingness to have that new conversation.
It was needed in 2003 and had it been held then, there is a good chance that many governments would now be doing much more to reduce real pollution in the world, eliminate devastating energy poverty and even work to deal with over-population all in a framework that effectively linked the economy and the environment in a way that moves us all to better.
Instead we are still at extremes, and millions if not billions of people are facing energy poverty while the elites jet around the world telling us that our grandkids ought to be thankful that they will inherit a world bereft of financial sanity.

Continue to enjoy your autumn…