In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue—and unwittingly unleashed the scourge of manmade climate change on a formerly harmonious world.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to an article I picked up from CNN this morning, the discovery of America by white European marauders set into motion a chain reaction of events that directly led to the Little Ice Age.
To quote Dave Barry, I swear I’m not making this up:
European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate. The increase in trees and vegetation across an area the size of France resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to the study.
Carbon levels changed enough to cool the Earth by 1610, researchers found.
And how, pray tell, did these researchers come to such a explosive conclusion?
Researchers analyzed Antarctic ice, which traps atmospheric gas and can reveal how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere centuries ago.
“The ice cores showed that there was a larger dip in CO2 (than usual) in 1610, which was caused by the land and not the oceans,” said Alexander Koch, lead author of the study.
A small shift in temperatures — about a 10th of a degree in the 17th century — led to colder winters, frosty summers and failing harvests, Koch said.
So between European invaders slaughtering the native population and those damn trees eating up all the carbon dioxide, we got our first, bona fide case of anothropogenic climate change—except instead of the global warming that’s gonna kill everybody now, back then it was global cooling.
Does anybody else think this sounds a little contrived?
I mean, this theory has it all. Horrible white people flaunting their privilege and taking whatever they want? Check. Indigenous people of color suffering at the hands of racist invaders? Check. Nature avenging this cold cruelty with plummeting temperatures of her own? Checkaroo. If this got any more woke, they could mix it with high fructose corn syrup and go head to head with Bawls Guarana.
Give CNN credit though, as they at least acknowledged the obvious:
Before this study, some scientists had argued the temperature change in the 1600s, called the Little Ice Age, was caused only by natural forces.
One of those forces being something called the Maunder Minimum, an period of time during which sunspot activity had diminished precipitously. To give you an idea of just how much, observers noted fewer than 50 sunspots during this minimum—compared to between 40,000 and 50,000 in the modern era.
And when did all this happen take place? During the Little Ice Age.
Maybe it’s just coincidence, but it seems to me that the sun putting out a lot less radiation might have more to do with a global temperature dip than reforestation in North America. Granted, that theory is less likely to get the social justice warriors’ hearts all aflutter—but it does seem more plausible in light of all the known facts.
Now before the global warmists get all medieval on this article, let me take a moment to concede a couple of points. One, there’s no doubt that the Europeans worked up a Number 6 on the native populations, and dropped all kinds of horrors on them that nobody should ever have to suffer. This, however, is the nature of human history, not just white Europeans—and if you don’t believe that, I suggest you check out the monstrous scale of human sacrifice carried out by the Aztecs at the peak of their civilization.
Second, I’m not denying that human activity has an effect on the climate. The question is to what extent. Given that mean surface temperatures across the planet are subject to an almost infinite number of variables, all of which simply cannot be accounted for, it’s impossible to determine with any accuracy what percentage of climate change is attributable to human activity and what percentage is caused by natural factors. Unless we can get a handle on that, we can’t know whether or not curtailing our carbon emissions will have any significant effect on temperatures.
And silly stories like this one on CNN won’t do anything to change that.