Climate Change

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This column was originally published in the Roanoke Beacon the week of June 12th, 2021.

The world is about 4.5 billion years old, mankind about 1 million years. If we equate earth’s age with one day at 86,400 seconds, humans have been around for just 18 seconds of earth’s life. Not long enough to experience earth’s mean climate, which is much warmer than today’s climate.

CO2 is not a toxic gas. It is also not a good heat retainer. It maxes out exponentially and will then not store more heat. CO2 is called a “greenhouse gas” not because it warms greenhouses, but because it promotes plant growth. CO2 is the staple food of all plant life. Plants use sunlight to convert CO2, water, and minerals into oxygen and organic matter – both needed by humans to survive. It’s called photosynthesis.

Currently, the CO2 content in the atmosphere is about 500 ppm. During the Precambrian, 550,000,000 years ago, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was about 8,000 ppm (16 x higher than today) and during the Ordovician, 450,000,000 years ago, CO2 was still at 4,000 ppm. For millions of years, there was no ice on earth at all and Greenland and Antarctica had vegetation and animals. And no humans around.

High CO2 levels support plant growth. Low CO2 levels choke plant growth. One wonders why those who demand CO2 reduction call themselves “green”, when their actions actually hurt plant life. Nota bene: At about 180 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, all plant life will die and all animal and human life with it.

Over the millennia, ocean levels have risen and fallen but not solely due to changing atmospheric temperatures. Movement of the tectonic plates and continental drift have contributed to this. Climate apologists claim that currently the ocean rises approximately 3 mm per annum. Probably true, but this has been going on for over 3,000 years. Just look at those sunken harbor cities all around the Mediterranean. Industrialization and CO2 from fossil fuels could not have caused this.

Earth went through 4-5 ice ages and correlated warming periods in its recent history. No humans were involved in these climate changes. 3,500 years ago, the Minoan Warm Period began with average atmospheric temperatures about 3 °C above todays. It ended around 3,000 years ago and a cooler phase kicked in, followed by the Roman Optimum, which lasted from 200 BC – 500 AD with mean temperatures still 2 °C above todays. Then came the Dark Ages Cooling Period from 500 – 900 AD, followed by the Dark Ages Warming Period from 900 – 1300 AD. Remember: around 1,000 AD the Vikings settled Greenland – which was indeed green. In the 1400s, the Viking settlements in Greenland collapsed because of the Little Ice Age, a cold period that began around 1300 AD tapering off only around 1850. Since then, earth has been in a warming trend again.

Seen the fact that none of these major climate changes were caused by humans, it seems somewhat doubtful that now suddenly it’s all humankind’s doing. Climate apologists blame CO2 more than anything else for the warming. But ice core analyses show that warming of the atmosphere always precedes each increase of CO2 in the atmosphere by 500 – 2,000 years. How can an effect be its own cause?

All of the current climate change predictions are based on computer models. These models are yet unable to adequately consider and process one main climate force: water vapor aka clouds. This is a major reason why computer-model-based predictions of imminent climate catastrophes have been mostly wrong.

Carbon dioxide is actually the main fertilizer and building block for life. The climate change narrative is not just fake news; it’s fake science. That is a fact, and I will put my reputation — 45 years as a scientist studying these subjects — on the line.

Green Peace founder Patrick Moore.

In science, truth is determined by observation and experiment, not by consensus or vote. Politicians like Al Gore and AOC have declared a planetary emergency and predicted that e.g. New York will shortly disappear in the ocean. Last I checked it was still there. Fact is that, in spite of rising atmospheric CO2, there has been little global warming in the past 20 years.

Climate has always changed and will continue to change. Looking at the last 500,000 years, it seems reasonable to assume that we may be in an interglacial warming period. If so, it may still get warmer for a while until it will get colder regardless of what humans do. Since a colder climate may threaten human survival far more than a warmer one, should we perhaps prepare mankind to survive another ice age rather than destroying our technical civilization by trying to prevent a warming trend that cannot be prevented and that may bring humanity more benefits than problems?

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