The only constant is change. That is true about life, and it’s true about the climate. The climate has been constantly changing, since the earth was formed roughly 4.6 billion years ago. For example, in just the past 2000 years, we have seen the Roman Warm Period, when it was warmer than it is today. Then the cooler dark ages. Then came the Medieval Warm Period, when it was at least as warm today. Followed by the little ice age, which drove the vikings out of Iceland. And most recently, a gradual 300 year warming to the present day. That’s a lot of changes, and of course not one of them was caused by humans. During the past 400,000 years, there have been four major periods of glaciation. Meaning that vast sheets of Ice covered a good part of the globe, interrupted by brief interglacial periods . we are in one of those periods right now. Scientists believe this is all part of the Pleistocene Ice age, which began in earnest, 2 and a half million years ago. It’s still going on, which means we are still living in an ice age. Which is the reason there is so much ice at the poles. 30 million years ago, the earth had no ice on it at all.
What about carbon dioxide everyone keeps blaming climate change for you might ask? The ‘great villain’ of global warming alarmists. Where does it fit into this picture? Not as neatly as those scientist may have tricked you into thinking. Temperatures and co2 levels do not show a strong correlation. In fact, scientists claim over very long time spans, periods of hundreds of millions of years, they are often completely out of sync of one another. Over and over again, within virtually any time frame, we find the climate changing, for reasons we do not fully understand.
But we do know, there are many more factors in play, than simply the concentration of co2 in our atmosphere. Factors such as the shape and size of the earth’s elliptical orbit around the sun, activity from the sun, and the amount of wobble or tilt in the earth’s axis, among many others. Even the relatively short period of 300 years, from the peak of the little ice age to the present, has not been steady. The latest trend has been a warming one. But, it began nearly a century before there were significant carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. And there has been NO significant warming warming trend in the 21st century. Contrary to media headlines, the trend over the past couple of decades has been essentially flat. Meanwhile human caused co2 emissions are about higher than ever. About 25 percent of all the emissions from all human sources have occurred during this period of no net warming. So what are we in for next? Will the temperature resume an upward trend? Will it remain flat for a lengthy period? Or will it begin to drop? No one knows. Not even the biggest, fastest computers. All the information presented here, the increases, decreases and plateaus in temperature over the ages and into the last century is available to anyone who wants to seek it out. Yet to state these simple facts, is to risk being called a “climate change denier”. Not only is that absurd, it is mean spirited. It’s absurd because no one, not even the most fervent skeptic, denies that the climate is changing. And its mean spirited. Because to call someone a climate change denier, is to intentionally label them as uneducated and illiterate. So maybe it’s time to stop the name calling.
Predicting the climate, one of the most complex systems on earth, with thousands of inputs, many of which we do not understand, isn’t an exact science, or anything close to it. People who believe we are the cause of climate change may be a tad ignorant. And maybe, just maybe it is a tad ignorant to suggest that we can predict the weather, or the climate, or just about anything 60 years from now. The science is not settled. The debate is not over. The climate is always changing, it always has, and it always will