Climate Change Alarmism Continues
From Wendell Krossa’s Website (http://www.wendellkrossa.com/)
Environmental alarmists continue to stir public fear over two particular things related to climate- rising levels of atmospheric CO2 and warming temperatures (i.e. the slight warming period from roughly 1975-1995). They have done this with the help of a panic-oriented media (see David Altheide’s Creating Fear: News and the Manufacture of Crisis).
As the warming has stopped for the past 17 years, alarmists have since shifted their efforts to creating alarm over “climate change”. They heatedly claim that 97% of scientists now agree that humanity is responsible for increasingly dangerous climate change. And any who disagree have been demonized and dismissed as “deniers”.
There is a twisted bundle of distorting, and even false, claims in the alarmist narrative.
No informed person and certainly no credible scientist has denied that climate change is taking place. Climate has always changed and always will. It is misleading for alarmists to create fear over change in a dynamic system that always changes. The alarm over change stems partly from the wrong assumption by alarmists that there is stasis in nature (unchanging) and some past state is optimal and must be preserved (i.e. the low CO2 levels of the pre-industrial past and cooler temperatures of the past, neither of which are optimal for life).
The key area of disagreement with alarmists is around the claim that humanity is responsible for global warming and now climate change. We simply do not know this to be true or how much it may be true. There is no 97% consensus among scientists on this issue of human input or level of responsibility.
There are significant natural elements that affect climate and that appear to overwhelm the human contribution of CO2. The natural elements (influx and muting of cosmic rays, cloud cover, sunspot activity, ocean decadal oscillations, etc.) show stronger or more clear correlations with climate change periods over the past.
Lets start by stating what we do know. CO2 has a warming effect on the atmosphere or climate but this is small compared to other natural elements (e.g. water vapour or cloud cover). Humans do contribute to natural CO2 cycles and levels and hence contribute to the warming effect but the human part is tiny (a “fart in a hurricane” according to one scientist who tried to put it in perspective). See also http://www.climatedepot.com/2013/05/14/co2-nears-400-ppm-relax-its-not-global-warming-end-times-but-only-a-big-yawn-climate-depot-special-report/ .
So while CO2 contributes to the warming effect there is no clear evidence that CO2 alone has caused any past notable period of warming. Other natural elements show stronger correlations to warming and cooling periods. Note especially here that while CO2 continues to rise, the recent mild warming has stopped. This challenges the alarmist assumption that rising CO2 was mainly responsible for the 1975-1995 warming. And this has alarmed the alarmists and they are seeking alternative explanations such as aerosol contributions by nations like China as responsible for causing a temporary blocking effect in the atmosphere.
To properly understand what is happening with climate it helps to look at the bigger picture and the longer term trends. This will help us to get at the true state of things.
Over the past century and a half there has been a more general long term warming trend. This longer term warming is related to the Little Ice Age of roughly 1645-1725. That was an abnormally cold time on earth. Since that descent into cold, the earth has been rebounding and returning to more natural and normal warmer conditions.
A scientist at the International Arctic Research Center, Dr. Akasofu, has noted that this natural rebound from the Little Ice Age has occurred over the past several centuries with a series of interspersed warming and cooling periods. Warming, then cooling, and then warming again. He notes there is a correlation of these periods with such things as shifts in ocean decadal oscillations (e.g. the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a large shift in ocean currents that occurs every 20-30 years). Since the Pacific has shifted into a cooling phase over the past few decades, so climate has cooled (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/09/syun-akasofus-work-provokes-journal-resignation/ ).
Others note the relationship of cosmic and solar activity to climate change, notably Henrik Svensmark in his book The Chilling Stars. We had an active sun in the later part of the last century and that relates to the warming period of 1975-1995. The sun then went dead and so the warming ceased and has been flat for some 17 years now. Russian scientists argue that we could be entering an extended cooling period now, similar to the Maunder Minimum of the Little Ice Age.
In the larger paleo-climate picture we find other things that help to understand climate and climate change. We are currently in an ice age era of some several million years with repeated cycles of glaciation interspersed with warmer inter-glacial periods. This ice age era is an abnormally cold time on earth with abnormally low levels of CO2. Compare this to previous extended periods on earth when CO2 levels were much higher (some periods averaging 1500 ppm and even rising to 7000 ppm). Average temperatures were also much warmer over the past. Remember that for 75% of its history Earth has been ice free, including the poles.
So we are currently in an “abnormally” cold time on earth. And with cold climate oceans become cold and reabsorb CO2, leaving lower levels of atmospheric CO2. Plant life then suffers. The pre-industrial levels of 200-250 ppm were not healthy for plant life and plants had to make an evolutionary adaptation just to survive. Plants prefer much higher levels and flourish in greenhouses where farmers supply levels of 1000-1500 ppm. With higher levels of CO2, the food of all plant life, plants have more efficient water uptake and can handle things like drought conditions better.
Because of the recent rise in CO2, one study noted that from 1982-1999 the earth become notably greener and healthier. Net Primary Production increased by 6.17% over this short period. This is why the almost 32,000 scientists who signed the Oregon Institute of Medicine Protest Petition stated in their opening statement that there is no evidence that more CO2 is bad for earth and lots of evidence that more CO2 is good for earth.
So rising CO2 levels are not to be feared. There is no real danger till CO2 rises to about 5,000 ppm and some studies suggest even far higher (see sites like CO2science.org for detailed studies on CO2 and climate history).
There is no reason to fear a warmer earth. Ian Plimer has detailed past climate and shown that a warmer world is much better for life. It has been much warmer in past times and this was not disastrous for life but rather life has flourished during warmer periods. Warmth is a great benefit to life. Certainly there may be some negatives but the positives appear to be also significant.
Others have noted that in a warming world there is redistribution of heat energy across the world so that seasons become less pronounced (warmer winters), and daily oscillations become less pronounced (warmer nights), and the poles become warmer. Earth’s climate is efficient at distributing heat energy across the planet and life benefits. As Roy Spencer argues, it appears that climate has a built in thermostat with varied feedback mechanisms that seek more optimal outcomes in climate.
And contrary to Al Gore’s alarmism, during warmer times there are less droughts (warm oceans evaporate more water) and less severe storms. People like Ian Plimer (Heaven and Earth: global warming the missing science) have provided a mass of good evidence from past climate to help understand what is happening with climate change and it appears there is no reason to fear ongoing climate change or warming, or rising levels of CO2.
On the claim of consensus among scientists that humanity is responsible for looming dangerous global warming or climate change, well, there never has been any such consensus. First, consensus is not good science. In fact, it has been often quite a dangerous thing that tries to shut down opposing evidence and opinions. It is anti-democratic and anti-freedom. Skepticism and contrary evidence must be protected as vital to any good science.
And if people wish to play the numbers game then what about the 32,000 scientists that signed the Protest Petition? They were almost completely ignored by the media.
Also, the claim that 97% of scientists have concluded that humans are responsible for dangerous climate change is a distorting, if not fraudulent, claim. Lawrence Solomon has traced the route from where that 97% figure was derived and that is a stunning misrepresentation of scientific opinion but is endlessly repeated in the media (http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/03/lawrence-solomon-97-cooked-stats/).
There is an irrationality in all this unscientific and insistent alarmism over rising CO2 and slight warming. CO2 is not a poison or pollutant. It is the food of all life and life has responded to rising levels with increased plant production and biomass. We have today a greener and healthier earth as a consequence of more CO2.
And as we have always done, we will adapt to climate change, whether warmer or cooler in the future.
Note also that with a free market shift to natural gas the US has lowered its CO2 emissions over the past years. Yet environmental alarmists have reacted to this news with alarm and endeavor to shut down exploration and extraction of natural gas (notably in Europe).
Also, we need to keep an eye on the continuing inactivity of the sun. The Russian scientists are suggesting this may become an extended cold period similar to the Maunder Minimum of the Little Ice Age. Will Paul Ehrlich then shift again to global cooling alarmism? He tried to stir panic over cooling in the 70s but then shifted to warming panic.
With all this evidence alarmists still refuse to back off from their alarmism. One then wonders what is really behind their scare-mongering. At a deeper level there are clear elements of anti-development ideology and anti-human ideology. But what is really behind all this at an even deeper level? Here we get to primitive religious or mythical thinking that is deeply embedded in human worldviews, both religious and secular (in public subconscious).