Is warming the "civilization-killer"?
By Dennis T. Avery
Author Eugene Linden writes books on the far edge of the environmental movement. He recently wrote, a bit hysterically, in The Daily Beast: "we need leaders with the courage to steamroll the deniers and the vested interests . . . Climate change is a civilization killer, and if we go on down the climate rapids…" I am not sure what "steamrolling entails; but I do know, that the warmer periods are the civilization savers.
Did the Greenland Vikings die out during the warmth of the Medieval Warming, or did they disappear after the arrival of the Little Ice Age, when vicious winter temperatures fell more than 4 degrees C? Even the Inuit disappeared!
Did the Viking raiders terrify Europe for 250 years during the long warmth of the climatically stable Roman Warming—or during the advancing sea ice and the desperate drop in Scandinavia's codfish catch during the Dark Ages that followed?
Egypt's fabulous Nile River culture has been regarded as humanity's most sustainable—but the Old Kingdom collapsed for centuries at 2200 BC, the Middle Kingdom again collapsed for more centuries at 1640 BC, and the New Kingdom fell in desperate famine at 1085 BC. Each collapse period marked the onset of a "little ice age" when the Nile floods failed.
The fabulous temples and their supporting rice culture at Angkor Wat collapsed twice. They built a thriving culture during Roman Warming and lost everything to the Dark Ages. During the Medieval Warming the temples we see today were built; the civilization disappeared forever during the Little Ice Age. The great cathedrals of Europe and the Sun Temple in Indiaz were also built during the Medieval Warming.
The Fordham University Medieval Sourcebook estimates the population of Europe at 27 million during the Roman Warming, 18 million during the Dark Ages, 73.5 million in the Medieval Warming, and 50 million during the Little Ice Ages. Tell us again what kills civilizations, Mr. Linden.
Warming always brings more vegetation, which in ancient history meant more game animals for the hunting bands. Warming produced long, sunny summers and lots of grain as civilization settled into farming—until the famines of the next little ice age.
The warmings and coolings of our 1500-year cycle last only about 500–750 years. But Mother Earth's most "recent" long-term warming was called the Holocene Optimum. It lasted from 9,000–5,000 BC, with the Arctic about 4 degrees C warmer than today, and Siberian winters 3–9 degrees warmer than today. The Arctic Ocean was virtually ice-free, according to the Norwegian Geological Survey. Glaciers melted in the Alps and the Andes, and both the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps show the shift. Now that is a warming, and all the species living today went through it.
Oddly enough, NOAA is on record now saying, "In summary, the mid-Holocene, roughly 6,000 years ago, was generally warmer than today, but only in summer and only in the northern hemisphere. Moreover, we clearly know the cause of this natural warming, and know without doubt that this proven "astronomical" climate forcing mechanism cannot be responsible for the warming over the last 100 years."
Can we ask "why not?" Dr. Phil Jones, the man-made warmist guru from Britain's University of East Anglia told the BBC that the global warmings 1860–1880 and 1915–1940 were not caused by CO2 (which didn't surge until after 1940). He says only the 1976–98 warming was man-made—then he admits that the three periods are "statistically indistinguishable."
So how do we know that the sun, which causes our days and nights, our summers and winters, and our 90,000-year Ice Ages, and 4,000-year warmings does not also control the 1,500-year climate cycle? Seabed sediments show the cycle goes back at least one million years!
Did the sun that warmed us up from the Little Ice Age suddenly take a vacation about 1975—and if so, why?
Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years. Readers may write to him at PO Box 202 Churchville, VA 2442; email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website at www.cgfi.org.