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Alarmists are the real threat

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By John Barnhart

    Although the weekend’s weather was quite mild, cool rather than cold, the big chill we had last week made me think of a story I did in January.

    I had heard that the city and county “Democrats” were having Weed at a joint meeting at the Welcome Center. Wondering if the sheriff knew about this, I took a camera and notebook and went there to check it out.

    It turned out to be Al Weed. The little ol’ wine maker from Nelson County has acquired a new hobby. After getting trounced twice in attempts to win the 5th Congressional District seat, he’s giving up politics to become an environmental alarmist. He showed up in Bedford to work local “Democrats” into a frenzy of fear over global warming. We’re all gonna die if we don’t immediately impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels.

    I think I successfully kept my personal skepticism, and cynicism out of the story I did on Weed’s presentation. As readers of this column know, I’m not a global warming true believer.

    You’ve probably noticed that this winter has been rather cold. We haven’t had much snow, but that’s only because there wasn’t a lot of precipitation in January and what came our way came during those times when it wasn’t cold enough for snow. Last winter also featured some pretty cold weather and we had some significant episodes of unseasonably low temperatures that persisted into the second week of May. In more northerly states, like Minnesota, lakes remained frozen well past the point when they would normally be ice-free. Last summer wasn’t noteworthy for being unusually hot.

    However, like most global warming alarmists, Weed presented figures that show that most of the hottest years of the last hundred occurred since the ‘90s. In doing that, they never talk about the fact that the Middle Ages were warmer than the past century.

    Back when I was in college, I took more science courses than my degree required. One was an anthropology course taught by an instructor who was involved in excavating pre-Columbian Indian sites in Ohio. When excavating the site of a village, archaeologists feel they’ve struck gold when they find one of the village’s garbage pits. This tells them all sorts of facts about the people who lived there, such as what they ate. One item they routinely found in garbage pits that dated from the 10th century were the shells of a species of mussel that did not exist in Ohio in the 1970’s. I don’t recall the species name as I took the course in 1973 and my notes are long gone. I do, however, remember that the species was still found in the streams of more southerly states. It required a warmer climate than Ohio had in the 20th century.

    It wasn’t just Ohio that was warmer. Prior to 1300, England was a major wine producer. That ended when the climate turned colder in the 14th century and wine grapes still don’t grow well there. Coastal Greenland supported Scandinavian agricultural communities, but the Little Ice Age, as the 14th century cool-down is known, froze them out. It’s only been in recent years that agriculture has once again become possible. We may be just about back to the global climate we had 800 years ago, assuming we aren’t on the verge of another multi-year cooling.

    The point of this is that the warmer global climate prior to the 14th century was not a global catastrophe. The man made catastrophe from global warming will come in the form of the alarmists’ remedies. Maurice Strong, a U. N. bureaucrat from Canada who championed the establishment of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, once said: “Licenses to have babies incidentally is something that I got in trouble for some years ago for suggesting even in Canada that this might be necessary at some point, at least some restriction on the right to have a child.”

    That’s just a sample of the type of bats that flutter about some environmentalists’ belfries.