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Dr. Christian Schlüchter's discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier was clearly not cheered by many members of the global warming doom-and-gloom science orthodoxy.
This finding indicated that the Alps were pretty nearly glacier-free at that time, disproving accepted theories that they only began retreating after the end of the little ice age in the mid-19th century. As he concluded, the region had once been much warmer than today, with "a wild landscape and wide flowing river."
Dr. Schlüchter's report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.
Then he made himself even more unpopular thanks to a recent interview titled "Our Society is Fundamentally Dishonest" which appeared in the Swiss publication Der Bund
where he criticized the U.N.-dominated institutional climate science hierarchy for extreme tunnel vision and political contamination.
Following the ancient forest evidence discovery Schlüchter became a target of scorn. As he observes in the interview, "I wasn't supposed to find that chunk of wood because I didn't belong to the close-knit circle of Holocene and climate researchers. My findings thus caught many experts off guard: Now an 'amateur' had found something that the [more recent time-focused] Holocene and climate experts should have found."
Other evidence exists that there is really nothing new about dramatic glacier advances and retreats. In fact the Alps were nearly glacier-free again about 2,000 years ago. Schlüchter points out that "the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned."
Schlüchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is "indeed too short." His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that "the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years."
Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Miné Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.
Casting serious doubt upon alarmist U.N.-IPCC projections that the Alps will be nearly glacier-free by 2100, Schlüchter poses several challenging questions: "Why did the glaciers retreat in the middle of the 19th century, although the large CO2 increase in the atmosphere came later? Why did the Earth 'tip' in such a short time into a warming phase? Why did glaciers again advance in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s? . . . Sooner or later climate science will have to answer the question why the retreat of the glacier at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850 was so rapid."
Although we witness ongoing IPCC attempts to blame such developments upon evil fossil-fueled CO2 emissions, that notion fails to answer these questions. Instead, Schlüchter believes that the sun is the principal long-term driver of climate change, with tectonics and volcanoes acting as significant contributors.
Regarding IPCC integrity with strong suspicion, Schlüchter recounts a meeting in England that he was "accidentally" invited to which was led by "someone of the East Anglia Climate Center who had come under fire in the wake of the Climategate e-mails."
As he describes it: "The leader of the meeting spoke like some kind of Father. He was seated at a table in front of those gathered and he took messages. He commented on them either benevolently or dismissively."
Schlüchter's view of the proceeding took a final nosedive towards the end of the discussion. As he noted: "Lastly it was about tips on research funding proposals and where to submit them best. For me it was impressive to see how the leader of the meeting collected and selected information."
As a number of other prominent climate scientists I know will attest, there's one broadly recognized universal tip for those seeking government funding. All proposals with any real prospects for success should somehow link climate change with human activities rather than to natural causes. Even better, those human influences should intone dangerous consequences.
Schlüchter warns that the reputation of science is becoming more and more damaged as politics and money gain influence. He concludes, "For me it also gets down to the credibility of science . . . Today many natural scientists are helping hands of politicians, and are no longer scientists who occupy themselves with new knowledge and data. And that worries me."
Yes. That should worry everyone.