When President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry visited Alaska this week, they pointed to the receding glaciers as evidence that humans are the cause of “dangerous,” even “catastrophic,” climate change. Messrs. Obama and Kerry have been seriously misinformed by their advisers, including chief science adviser John Holdren, who is a leading alarmist on the subject. If only the president had consulted the history of Glacier Bay, where the Huna Tlingit people have lived for more than 4,000 years, he would have found a different story.
It is a historical fact that the glacier in Glacier Bay began its retreat around 1750. By the time Capt. George Vancouver arrived there in 1794 the glacier still filled most of the bay but had already retreated some miles. When John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, visited in 1879, he found that the glacier had retreated more than 30 miles from the mouth of the bay, according to the National Park Service, and by 1900 Glacier Bay was mostly ice-free.
All of this happened long before human emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, could have had any impact.