“Global Warming Delusions”

Daniel Botkin, a biologist writing in the the Wall Street Journal, gives this explanation for the overwrought disaster scenarios being exploited by Warmists:

Some colleagues who share some of my doubts argue that the only way to get our society to change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe, and that therefore it is all right and even necessary for scientists to exaggerate. They tell me that my belief in open and honest assessment is naïve. “Wolves deceive their prey, don’t they?” one said to me recently. Therefore, biologically, he said, we are justified in exaggerating to get society to change.

That’s more or less exactly what the novelist Michael Crichton (who is a Harvard-trained M.D.) has to say about the Warmist methodology in his novel State of Fear, which I recommend.

Botkin writes within the supposed global warming consensus, which I would argue does not even exist, and his language is somewhat contradictory. “I’m not a naysayer,” he writes, meaning that he isn’t a hard skeptic about warming. But skeptics don’t deny warming, they question its severity (which is what Botkin is doing) and that it’s necessarily caused by humans.

Anyway, Botkin is one of the so-called moderates, and in that sense half a loaf is better than none. Without “going over to the other side,” he’s trying to invite rationality into the discussion. Here’s a point that relates to some of the very recent hysteria about the Arctic ice:

We are told that the melting of the arctic ice will be a disaster. But during the famous medieval warming period–A.D. 750 to 1230 or so–the Vikings found the warmer northern climate to their advantage. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie addressed this in his book “Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of Climate Since the Year 1000,” perhaps the greatest book about climate change before the onset of modern concerns with global warming. He wrote that Erik the Red “took advantage of a sea relatively free of ice to sail due west from Iceland to reach Greenland. . . . Two and a half centuries later, at the height of the climatic and demographic fortunes of the northern settlers, a bishopric of Greenland was founded at Gardar in 1126.”

Ladurie pointed out that “it is reasonable to think of the Vikings as unconsciously taking advantage of this [referring to the warming of the Middle Ages] to colonize the most northern and inclement of their conquests, Iceland and Greenland.” Good thing that Erik the Red didn’t have Al Gore or his climatologists as his advisers.

My only quibble with that would be to ask why Ladurie thinks that the Vikings needed to be doing what they did “unconsciously.” Iceland and Greenland were warm enough for settlements. So the Vikings settled there. It’s Al Gore who is unconscious.

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