Globe and Mail Soils Itself Online

Thu, 2006-12-07 14:25Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Globe and Mail Soils Itself Online

Here's a bewildering piece of silliness - a “web exclusive” in the Globe and Mail, that argues the world has too little CO2, not too much.

Dr. Pierre Jutras, a geologist (could that be petroleum geologist?) from St Mary's University in Halifax, says:

The last time carbon dioxide levels were so low, near the end of the Paleozoic era (about 250 million years ago), the Earth's biosphere went through its greatest extinction, as 90 per cent of Paleozoic species were gone by the beginning of the Mesozoic era (age of the dinosaurs).

Well, it's always good to take a long view, but considering that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is higher today than at any time in the last 650,000 years, humans seem to be dealing well with the current hostile conditions on earth.

Justras belittles climate change as an issue for “urban and economic planners,” the kind of people who care whether New Orleans or New York are swamped in an inevitable rise in sea level. You have to wonder if he's putting us on.

Even more, you have to wonder what is happening at the Globe and Mail that they would take this guy seriously and print his piece - even virtually. In a world crowded with serious scientists, it's hard to imagine why the Globe would entertain this diversion.

Previous Comments

I am very upset to see you imply that Dr. Jutras is not a serious scientist. I was once one of his students and I can tell you that he understands the science behind climate change and he is in no way corrupted by oil and gas interests.

The argument that the science is settled behind climate change could not be further from the truth. No one argues that climate change isn’t a reality or that CO2 is at extremely high levels. But deny that there is debate about how much its changed over the last century, which method of measuring is best, differences in hemispherical warming, and most importantly understanding of complex feedback mechanisms and how they react to increases in greenhouse gases, and you are the one not looking critically at the issue. Recent studies now show that yes indeed there probably was a medieval climate optimum that did not spur on runaway feedbacks. If this is true then we must continue to develop our understanding of atmospheric processes that influence climate.