Climate Change Part II: Why is Greenland Called Greenland?

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The Earth’s temperature has risen over the past century. There is no doubt about it. Since 1880, the temperatures on Earth measured on land and at sea show that the Earth’s globally averaged surface temperature in 2016 was 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20thcentury average. This finding comes from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and is likely accurate.

Most climate change scientists, activists and politicians attribute these higher temperatures to greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide (CO2). They argue that the temperature is rising because of increased levels of CO2 caused by mankind, primarily through the use of hydrocarbons – coal, oil, and gas.  

So, if this is true, why was the Earth warmer in A.D. 1000 than it is currently? If CO2 is the primary culprit for manmade global warming, why was it warmer then, when the levels of CO2 were lower than they are currently? A thousand years ago, there was no industrial activity producing  these allegedly pernicious greenhouse gases, yet it was warm enough to farm parts of Greenland.

There are no written records of Norsemen (Vikings) farming in Greenland one thousand years ago. But data from archeological sites based on ice core and clam shells indicate that the regions around the southern fjords of Greenland were warm enough to farm. Norse colonists had livestock and grew barley.

Greenland was called Greenland because parts of it were green one thousand years ago. It was much warmer on Greenland then than it is now. And the Earth was not warmer 1,000 years ago because of elevated levels of CO2. Clearly there were other reasons for the warmer period of the Earth, which scientists estimate between A.D. 800 and A.D. 1300.

In reflecting on the changes of temperature over the past 1,200 years, there seem to be much that we do not know. A little intellectual humility is needed, which is why we wrote last month about Einstein’s refusal to call his General Theory of Relativity valid until there was empirical data to back it up.  Why is the temperature rising?  Because of solar radiation or sunspot activity? Perhaps changes in ocean currents? Or are the temperature patterns on Earth cyclical for some reasons that we do not understand?

Humility from the scientific community is also desperately needed, as none of the climate change models have proven to be accurate. Most of them, based on rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere climbing from .0034% to .0039%, have predicted large spikes in the Earth’s temperature over the past 20 years which have not occurred.

An entire generation of students has been brought to believe that the Earth is fragile and that the rising temperatures spell doom for mankind. Hollywood has cashed in, too, with dozens of movies showing the Earth imperiled by global warming. The only solution, we are told, is to reduce CO2 by lowering the level of industrial activity, which depends on coal, oil, and gas.

But there has been, in fact, very little change in the climate over the past decade. Perhaps CO2 is not the culprit. It was warm in Greenland 1,000 years ago without rising levels of CO2 so perhaps there are other factors at work over which we have no control.

As we  seek to understand the reasons for global warming, it is vital  that governments take no steps that lessen our freedom and curtail  our ability to increase our standard of living – especially in the developing world where many still live in abject poverty. Before joining the “consensus” who believe that elevated levels of CO2 are causing global warming, ask the purveyors of this unproven theory why Greenland is called Greenland.