On Thursday last week the Grand Rapids dutifully toted the official line on global warming. In a Page 3 article the Press reported the conclusion of the National Academy of Sciences that recent years have been the warmest in the last four centuries. Nowhere is reported the well-known fact that four hundred years ago our planet was in the grip of a cold spell known as "The Little Ice Age". Indeed, this is no esoteric climatological matter. The Little Ice Age has been fodder for a number of popular television documentaries including a two-hour special within the past year on the History Channel.
So, the conclusion of the NAS is no more news than the fact that June's temperatures have been the hottest in the past six months. After all, summer is always hotter than winter. Likewise, the Earth has been warming and cooling since the last ice age ten millennia ago in a six- to seven-century cycle. Following that pattern temperatures last peaked during the early 14th century, sometimes referred to as the Medieval Climate Optimum, then bottomed out three centuries later in the Little Ice Age, and have been rising since then. We may well be at the peak of the current warm spell, if you can call an average increase in temperature of less than one degree Celsius over the past hundred years a warm spell.
In fact, the real news is the scandal of the NAS flogging this crap as a significant scientific finding. The NAS was chartered by the U.S. Congress to advise government officials on scientific matters, which in effect means that it exists to tell politicians what they want to hear. So no surprise that the NAS presented no news as new news of global warming at the request of a New York congressman, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee, who rails against global warming as a major threat to us. Does anyone seriously think that the NAS is going to bite the hand that feeds it?
No, but what is stopping the Grand Rapids Press from informing the public of this conflict of interest? After all, the Press saw fit on the next day to expose in another Page 3 article the secret wartime measures our government has taken to monitor and track down the financial transactions of terrorist organizations. What sort of watchdog makes it a priority to compromise the safety of the public over a cozy arrangement to distort science and squander taxpayer dollars? If the media can't get something that simple right, what good is it?