Guest opinion; Dr. Tim Ball
The major goal of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was to prove that a human caused CO2 increase created global warming. They produced the false proof in Working Group I Report “Climate Change; The Physical Science Basis.” This became the unquestioned assumption for the Working Group II Report “Climate Change; Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.” This Report identified all the negative effects of warming, like a cost/benefit analysis that only considers the cost. Most of the alarmist press releases and resulting media stories emanate from this Report. They inevitably paint an unrelenting picture of doom, destruction, and death.
The pattern takes a variety of forms usually based on a press release. I call them ‘template’ releases, prepared by an agency with a political agenda that identifies a ‘global problem.’ They leave gaps in the story so local media can insert examples and tailor the story for their region.
One occurred recently and appeared in the Yorkshire Post (May 27, 2016) under the headline, “Heritage sites threatened by climate change: ‘Urgent need’ to limit temperatures.” It is sensationalist, speculative, and contradicts all the evidence. Similar articles appeared in many media outlets. In this case, the ‘template’ story came from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), with appeals to authority provided by co-contributors, UNESCO and UNEP.
The story, however it is tailored for local consumption, indicates ignorance or deliberate avoidance of the facts, or both. It is advocacy, not journalism. The originators of the story display ignorance of climate and climate change. They apparently don’t understand entropy, the gradual decline into disorder. They don’t know the difference between conservation,
the repair and prevention of deterioration of archaeological, historical and cultural sites
the state of being preserved, especially to a specified degree.
You can artificially maintain a Heritage site, but that acts against the natural order of decay. At some point, it becomes a replica. The media people, I won’t call them journalists because they simply repeat the ignorance, don’t check the facts or confirm the claims, so they become accessories after the transgression. For all involved, it starts with a failure to realize the inanity of the supposition that climate change is new.
The Yorkshire article refers to several Heritage sites including, the Statue of Liberty, Venice, and the Galapagos Islands, but they insert Stonehenge for local flavour. The list is a bizarre mix of geographic and human-made features, supposedly to imply the startling information that nothing is immune from the ravages of climate change, that is the ‘new’ IPCC discovered climate change.
The reality is all these sites are part of a world in which climate changes all the time. It always has, and always will, and past changes were much more dramatic The supposition that climate change is different because of human activity is a creation of the IPCC. Unfortunately, the media people don’t know this because their research was inadequate. They added to the already inadequate and biased research of the “expert,” Adam Markham, (B.Sc. Zoology, the University of Wales at Swansea), Deputy Director of Climate and Energy for UCS.
Prior to joining UCS in 2013, Mr. Markham was president of Clean Air-Cool Planet, a non-profit organization he co-founded in 2000 to promote innovative community-based solutions to climate change in the Northeast. Previously, he directed World Wildlife Fund’s climate campaign, leading WWF’s international climate team at the 1997 Kyoto Conference.
They call it climate change, but they don’t realize that this term replaced global warming. It occurred when atmospheric CO2 continued to increase while temperatures stopped increasing. As T. H. Huxley said,
The great tragedy of Science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
The evidence required a re-examination of the science. Instead, it triggered a change in the label. A 2004 leaked Climatic Research Unit (CRU) email from the Minns/Tyndall Centre on the UEA campus said,
“In my experience, global warming freezing is already a bit of a public relations problem with the media.”
Swedish Chief Climate Negotiator Bo Kjellen replied,
“I agree with Nick that climate change might be a better labelling than global warming.”
The point is their real concern is the threat of global warming – a possible increase of 2°C. A little research would reveal that Stonehenge was built during the Holocene Optimum when global temperatures were as warm, if not warmer, than today.
The structure developed through six stages between 3000 BC and 1520 BC. Figure 1 shows that period plotted against the Northern Hemisphere temperature determined from Greenland ice cores. The average temperature for the Stonehenge active period is between 1.5 and 2.5 C warmer than at present.
H. H. Lamb wrote about the climate transition, in this case a warming, that,
There may well be implications about warm climate and less stormy winds than now in the seafaring enterprises of earlier people in northern waters in late Neolithic and Bronze Age time…There was shipping from Cornwall and perhaps from Britany, to Scandinavia and probably also to the Mediterranean, as early as about 2000 B.C; and the megalithic monuments were established about that date, or in some cases a few centuries earlier, in western and northern Britain and in Denmark, south Sweden and Norway as well as Stonehenge.
Figure 2 is an illustration of the Ring of Brodgar a henge in the Orkney Islands that lie in northern waters. Nearby is the Neolithic village of Skara Brae that was occupied for 600 years after 3200 BC (Figure 3). The village midden has bones of deep sea fish, but there is no evidence of boats. They were likely wood frame covered with leather hides, like other Celtic boats, and did not survive.
Figure 2; Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Islands
Source: The Author
Figure 3; Skara Brae, Orkney Islands
Source: The Author
Pollen Analysis for the Orkney’s shows the presence of trees at the time of Skara Brae.
There is also evidence to suggest that woodland communities in Orkney were more diverse, and therefore that a wider range of resources was available to Neolithic people, than has previously been assumed.
Source: Professor J.C. Ritchie, with permission.
These indicators of warmer conditions in high latitudes are reinforced by the Spruce Tree (Picea Glauca) shown in Figure 4. The stump is radiocarbon dated at 4940 (±140) B.P. It is located100 km north of the current tree line on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, Canada. The current treeline is coincident with the 10°C summer isotherm, and it is reasonable to assume that relationship hasn’t changed. The tree in Figure 4 is larger than those found at the current treeline, so it appears the actual tree line was further much north. Regardless, average annual temperatures were at least 2-3°C warmer than at present.
So, the supposedly endangered Neolithic sites, including Stonehenge, were created because global temperatures increased and provided the agricultural base necessary to create free labour. For the next 2000 years’ temperatures continued warmer than today. Then change came again in the form of cooler temperatures. As Lamb noted talking about the woodlands in Orkney,
Though there was some decline of these woodlands from as early as 3500 B.C to 3000 B.C. onwards more rapid decline, which has been variously attributed to increased wetness, soil acidification and the beginnings of bog growth, possibly also stronger winds, or to all these things, occurred between 2600 B.C. and 1600 B.C.
You can see the decline in temperature (Figure 1) to levels lower than those of the Little Ice Age (LIA).
The ‘template’ article is an unbridled and ignorant exploitation of the false claim that climate change is new and global warming is due to human production of CO2. At the end of the article, Mechtild Rossler of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre is quoted,
“Globally, we need to better understand, monitor and address climate change threats to World Heritage sites.”
The IPCC claim they did just that and concluded that the world is going to get warmer. If anybody involved does comprehensive research, as proper science and journalism require, they will find that the evidence doesn’t support that claim. They will find that the temperature record is manipulated to create a false story. The world is getting cooler and will continue to cool, thus putting different pressures on the Heritage sites than those they anticipate. Everybody is preparing for warming as a result of governments and the media accepting the IPCC findings.
The builders of Stonehenge began with wood henges but switched to stone because wood doesn’t last long as climate changes. They counted the costs and the benefits of stone versus wood. They knew more than the buffoons who exploit fear for personal and political agendas. Sadly, it is often as basic as preserving a job. As Upton Sinclair notes,
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
A major problem in today’s world is not just the transgression, but the lack of accountability.
(Disclaimer: I was born near Stonehenge. Whenever it said “religion” on a government form, I wrote Druid. This might bias my view of this misuse and abuse of my central temple.)