Richard Schwartz writes (letters, Nov. 13) that the world is “rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe.” In the 1970s some of the same fear-mongers that are trying to terrify people over global warming were screaming that a new ice age was coming. Then, as now, they of course had the attention of the mainstream media. The April 28, 1975 issue of Newsweek complained that between 1945 and ’68, the average temperature had declined by half a degree, while the amount of sunlight reaching the ground had declined by a whopping 1.3 percent in just eight years (1964-72). The article concluded: “The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.” Sound familiar?
There have always been periods of cooling and warming on Earth that are cyclical. When the Viking explorer Eric the Red discovered Greenland in the 10th century, it had a pleasant, inviting climate (much warmer than at present), and Vikings went to settle there. When the climate became considerably colder in the 14th century, the Viking settlements were abandoned.
Schwartz claims Israel is now suffering “from the worst drought in its history and from periodic severe heat waves.” He goes on to claim that Israeli climate “experts” (whoever they are) are projecting 20 to 30 percent less rain, major storms, and an inundation of Israel’s Mediterranean coastal plain.
Israel is a world leader in scientific research. A study at Haifa University found no significant change in average rainfall over the past 60 years – just cycles of adequate rain interspersed with periods of drought. The worst drought in Israel during the past 60 years occurred in the late 1950s and early ’60s. According to the University’s Noam Halfon: “The common belief that weather events are becoming more extreme can therefore be attributed to greater press coverage of weather events, in particular extreme events, and not to an increase in these events.”
While many scientists acknowledge we’ve been in a warming cycle in recent years, there is no evidence that it has been caused by human activity any more than the warming of Greenland in the Middle Ages.