Dr. Phil Jones is one of the leading lights of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) believers and is a central figure in the Climategate scandal. (Head over to Watts Up With That? and read the copious coverage on the matter over there. Anthony Watts’ work in this area has been invaluable.) In what should be considered a world-shaking event, Dr. Jones has finally admitted what many, many AGW skeptics have been saying for years. Via Instapundit, let’s head over to SonicFrog for some details:
Dr. Phil Jones, the man at the center of the Climategate scandal, has for the first time admitted that the Medieval Warm Period could have been warmer than the present day, flying directly in the face of the stupid Hocleystick Graph that caused so much of the Climate panic in the first place. From the BBC report, titled “Climate data ‘not well organised“:
Read up on the details over there but the crux is that Dr. Jones has admitted that the (ahem) science is not settled on whether or not the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was actually warmer than we are experiencing today. Now, why is that important? The MWP is a time period between roughly 950 AD and 1400 AD where the temperatures were above the 20th century average temp. More importantly, there’s a section of that time period – roughly 1100 AD through 1350 AD – where the temperatures might have been significantly higher than we have experienced over this past couple of decades when people were telling us we’re roasting the planet into oblivion.
This brings up 2 very important and, for AGW believers, uncomfortable questions. If Man’s industrial activity and CO2 emissions are what’s causing global warming to run out of control, then how did the temperatures get higher 600-1000 years ago when no such industry existed? And why is it of absolutely critical importance that we execute economy-crippling changes to reduce the global temperature when we have evidence that the planet not only survived higher temperatures just fine, but that civilization overall benefited greatly?
The premise for these questions rests entirely on a factual assessment of whether the MWP was warmer than we are today. What Dr. Jones is now, belatedly, admitting is that his teams’ fervent assertions that they had settled that debate years ago were wrong. The debate isn’t settled. The science isn’t settled. And, as a result, the 2 questions above remain open, remain legitimate, and remain critical to answer before we go wrecking our economic capacity. Of course, Dr. Jones and his colleagues have made it incredibly difficult to go back and apply actual science to the question of the MWP. They’ve already admitted to having destroyed pertinent data in this debate so I’m a bit skeptical of anything they now assert without some independent corroboration. But the honesty with which Dr. Jones, at least, is returning to the table is encouraging. He needs to understand that his actions over the past decade or so will take time to overcome but it’s moves like this that will help him out. And the rest of us along with him.