An Alarmist Modeler’s History of Climate Change
By Paul Driessen
Behind the persistent global warming scare is the hypothesis and assertion that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causing Earth to warm dangerously. The thesis is espoused most prominently by Al Gore, James Hansen, modelers and other alarmists. It is the fundamental assumption behind the computer models that consistently conjure up headline-grabbing climate change disaster scenarios.
A basic principle of geology and other sciences is that the same natural processes we observe today – erosion, plant growth, species evolution and so on – occurred in a similar manner throughout Earth’s history. Therefore, if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing global warming today, they must have done so in the past, and certainly in the recent historic past.
Sea levels have risen 400 feet since the last Ice Age ended, melting mile-thick Pleistocene glaciers, drowning land bridges and creating new coral reefs. The repeated glacial and interglacial epochs were caused by rising and falling levels of mammoth flatulence and emissions from cave man fires, the only sources of substantial greenhouse gases (GHG) at the time.
Earth warmed further during the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, as fires from constant warfare and sacked cities dramatically increased GHG. The burning of English and Irish villages by Viking raiders raised global temperatures even further, enabling Eric the Red to colonize Greenland. As the Vikings swapped raiding for farming, however, atmospheric CO2 levels declined, and the Little Ice Age set in.
In more recent times, American families tamed and farmed the Great Plains. But then the automobile, airplane and World War I drove CO2 and GHG previously unheard of levels. The resultant Dust Bowl devastated the region, forcing millions to leave their homesteads.
As GHG levels continued to “soar,” all the way from 0.0280% of Earth’s atmosphere to 0.0350% (250-350 ppm), global cooling gave way to a new bout with global warming. Finally, as CO2 and GHG climbed even higher (all the way to 0.0380% of the atmosphere, equivalent to 38 cents out of $1000), planetary temperatures mysteriously stabilized around 1998 and then began to decline slightly. The world entered the age of “climate change,” or more accurately “manmade catastrophic climate change,” in which every weather anomaly is blamed on emissions from human use of hydrocarbons.
Alternatively, scientists, journalists, academics, modelers and politicians could begin to examine the climate change issue from a more scientific, less ideological perspective. They could worry less about perpetuating or expanding the one-track $89-billion (1989-2009) gravy train of federal government grants for breathless studies of how “manmade climate change” causes frightening increases in everything from house cats and hurricanes to malaria, rainfall, droughts and suicides. (An online search under “everything is caused by global warming,” will locate a complete list.)
They might be surprised to learn that climate change has actually brought benefits to mankind and planet Earth, including a greening of the Sahara Desert over the last twenty years, due to increased rainfall and CO2 levels. Even trees and animals are coming back (four millennia after Egyptian slaves turned a once-verdant region into Earth’s largest desert).
They might be amazed to discover that our ancestors, who were even more dependent on agriculture than we are – and even less technologically advanced – somehow managed to cope with climate change. They adapted! As James Burke, Brian Fagan and other historians have noted, they responded to the Little Ice Age by modifying their houses, heating systems, clothing and farming practices. (Optimists might suppose that our far more advanced technologies will make us even better able to adapt to whatever climate changes nature, or man, might visit upon us in the future.)
Meanwhile, hard-pressed consumers and taxpayers might finally figure out that the fear-mongering over global warming has little to do with scientific “evidence” to back up the speculation, assumptions and assertions that mankind faces a climate cataclysm. (Models are not evidence.) It has everything to do with money, prestige, careers, power and control over energy use and economic opportunity – and an abiding distaste for hydrocarbons, personal freedom, modern living standards, and real environmental justice.