This post is the third of five to alert readers to a compilation of the scientific case against the claims of IPCC supporters and anti-fossil fuel activists. David Stockman provides the evidence and the arguments against the IPCC policy framework in a series of five essays published at International Man under the title The GreenMageddon and What It Means for You. I will state the five themes he develops in his essays, along with some excerpts and images to illustrate the main points. Here is an overview followed by the third theme.
The geological and paleontological evidence overwhelmingly says that today’s average global temperature of about 15 degrees C and CO2 concentrations of 420 ppm are nothing to fret about. Even if they rise to about 17–18 degrees C and 500–600 ppm by the end of the century, it may well balance or improve the lot of mankind.
After all, bursts of civilization during the last 10,000 years uniformly occurred during the red portions of the graph below. The aforementioned river civilizations—the Minoan, the Greco-Roman era, the Medieval flowering, and the industrial and technological revolutions of the present era. At the same time, the several lapses into the dark ages happened when the climate turned colder (blue).
And that’s only logical. When it’s warmer and wetter, growing seasons are longer, and crop yields are better—regardless of the agricultural technology and practices of the moment. And it’s better for human and community health, too—most of the deadly plagues of history have occurred in colder climates, such as the Black Death of 1344–1350..
Yet, the Climate Crisis Narrative employs two deceptive devices which are contradicted by earth’s climate history:
a. Planetary temperatures have been far higher than today, both long ago (over 600 million years) and recently (last 10,000 years) with no doomsday loop occurring.
b.It is claimed global warming is a one-way street from rising GHGs, when in fact higher CO2 concentrations are a consequence and by-product, not a driver and cause, of the current naturally rising temperatures.
Again, the now “canceled” history of the planet knocks the CO2-driver proposition into a cocked hat. During the Cretaceous Period between 145 and 66 million years ago, a natural experiment provided complete absolution for the vilified CO2 molecule. During that period, global temperatures rose dramatically from 17 degrees C to 25 degrees C—a level far above anything today’s Climate Howlers have ever projected.
Alas, CO2 wasn’t the culprit. According to science, ambient CO2 concentrations actually tumbled during that 80-million-year expanse, dropping from 2,000 ppm to 900 ppm on the eve of the Extinction Event 66 million years ago.
3. Climatists weaponize natural events to gain social control for a global agenda. It’s About Power, Not Truth or Humanity.
You would think that this powerful countervailing fact would give the CO2 witch-hunters pause, but that would be to ignore what the whole climate change brouhaha is actually about. That is, it’s not about science, human health and well-being or the survival of planet Earth; it’s about politics and the ceaseless search of the political class and the apparatchiks and racketeers who inhabit the beltway for still another excuse to aggrandize state power.
Indeed, the climate change narrative is the kind of ritualized policy mantra that is concocted over and over again by the political class and the permanent nomenklatura of the modern state—professors, think-tankers, lobbyists, career apparatchiks, officialdom—in order to gather and exercise state power.
The Obvious Exploitation of Natural Events
Indeed, fabrication of false problems and threats that purportedly can only be solved by heavy-handed state intervention has become the modus operandi of a political class that has usurped near-complete control of modern democracy.
In doing so, however, the ruling elites have gotten so used to such unimpeded success that they have become sloppy, superficial, careless and dishonest. For instance, the minute we get a summer heatwave, these natural weather events are jammed into the global warming mantra with nary a second thought by the lip-syncing journalists of the MSM.
Yet there is absolutely no scientific basis for all this tom-tom beating. In fact, NOAA publishes a heatwave index based on extended temperature spikes, which last more than 4 days and which would be expected to occur once every 10 years based on the historical data.
As is evident from the chart below, the only true heatwave spikes we have had in the last 125 years were during the dust bowl heat waves of the 1930s. The frequency of mini-heatwave spikes since 1960 is actually no greater than it was from 1895 to 1935.
Likewise, all it takes is a good Cat 2 hurricane and they are off to the races, gumming loudly about AGW. Of course, this ignores entirely NOAA’s own data as summarized in what is known as the ACE (accumulated cyclone energy) index.
This index was first developed by renowned hurricane expert and Colorado State University professor William Gray. It uses a calculation of a tropical cyclone’s maximum sustained winds every six hours. The latter is then multiplied by itself to get the index value and accumulated for all storms for all regions to get an index value for the year as shown below for the past 170 years (the blue line is the seven-year rolling average).
That is to say, hundreds of billions of dollars of insurance coverage were then and still is being written with ACE as a crucial input. Yet, if you examine the 7-year rolling average (blue line) in the chart, it is evident that ACE was as high or higher in the 1950s and 1960s as it is today and that the same was true of the late 1930s and the 1880–1900 periods. [See also Bill Gray: H20 is Climate Control Knob, not CO2]
If global warming were generating more hurricanes as the MSM constantly maintains, the increase would be uniform across all of these subregions, but it’s clearly not. Since the year 2000, for example,
- the Eastern Caribbean has had a modest increase in both tropical storms and higher-rated Cats relative to most of the past 170 years;
- the Western Caribbean has not been unusual at all, and, in fact, has been well below the counts during the 1880–1920 period; and
- the Bahamas/Turks & Caicos region, since 2000, has actually been well weaker than during 1930–1960 and 1880–1900
The actual truth of the matter is that Atlantic hurricane activity is generated by atmospheric and ocean temperature conditions in the eastern Atlantic and North Africa. Those forces, in turn, are heavily influenced by the presence of an El Niño or La Niña in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño events increase the wind shear over the Atlantic, producing a less-favorable environment for hurricane formation and decreasing tropical storm activity in the Atlantic basin. Conversely, La Niña causes an increase in hurricane activity due to a decrease in wind shear.
These Pacific Ocean events, of course, have never been correlated with the low level of natural global warming now underway.
The number and strength of Atlantic hurricanes may also undergo a 50- to 70-year cycle known as the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Again, these cycles are unrelated to global warming trends since 1850.
As it happens, the same story is true with respect to wildfires—the third category of natural disasters that the Climate Howlers have glommed onto. But in this case, it’s bad forestry management, not man-made global warming, which has turned much of California into a dry wood fuel dump.
But don’t take our word for it. This comes from the George Soros-funded Pro Publica, which is not exactly a right-wing tin foil hat outfit. It points out that environmentalists had shackled federal and state forest management agencies so much so that today’s tiny “controlled burns” are but an infinitesimal fraction of what Mother Nature herself accomplished before the helping hand of today’s purportedly enlightened political authorities arrived on the scene.
“Academics believe that between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres burned each year in prehistoric California. Between 1982 and 1998, California’s agency land managers burned, on average, about 30,000 acres a year. Between 1999 and 2017, that number dropped to an annual 13,000 acres. The state passed a few new laws in 2018 designed to facilitate more intentional burning. But few are optimistic this, alone, will lead to significant change.
We live with a deathly backlog. In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres—an area about the size of Maine—to restabilize in terms of fire.”
Among other proofs that industrialization and fossil fuels aren’t the culprit is the fact that researchers had shown that when California was occupied by indigenous communities, wildfires would burn up some 4.5 million acres a year. That’s nearly six times the 2010–2019 period, when wildfires burned an average of just 775,000 acres annually in California.
Beyond the untoward clash of all of these natural forces of climate and ecology with misguided government forest and shrubland husbandry policies, there is actually an even more dispositive smoking gun, as it were.
To wit, the Climate Howlers have not yet embraced the apparent absurdity that the planet’s purportedly rising temperatures have targeted the Blue State of California for special punishment. Yet when we look at the year-to-date data for forest fires, we find that unlike California and Oregon, the US as a whole is now experiencing the weakest fire years since 2010.
You just can’t go from 2.7 million burned acres in 2010 to 7.2 million acres in 2012, then back to 2.7 million acres in 2014, then to 6.7 million acres in 2017, followed by just 3.7 million acres in 2020—and still argue along with the Climate Howlers that the planet is angry.
National fire data year to date:
On the contrary, the only real trend evident is that on a decadal basis during recent times, average forest fire acreage in California has been slowly rising, owing to the above-described dismal failure of government forest management policies. But even the mildly rising average fire acreage trend since 1950 is a rounding error compared to the annual averages from prehistoric times, which were nearly 6 times greater than during the most recent decade.
Nor is this lack of correlation with global warming just a California and US phenomenon. As shown in the chart below, the global extent of drought, measured by five levels of severity, with brown being the most extreme, has shown no worsening trend at all during the past 40 years.
Global Extent of Five Levels Of Drought, 1982–2012
Public Discourse Contaminated by Imaginary Climate Crisis Notion
This brings us to the gravamen of the case. To wit, there is no climate crisis whatsoever, but the AGW hoax has so thoroughly contaminated the mainstream narrative and the policy apparatus in Washington and capitals all around the world that contemporary society is fixing to commit economic hari-kari.
That’s because, contrary to the phony case that the rise of fossil fuel use after 1850 has caused the planetary climate system to become unglued, there has been a massive acceleration of global economic growth and human well-being. One essential element behind that salutary development has been the massive increase in the use of cheap fossil fuels to power economic life.
The chart below could not be more dispositive. During the pre-industrial era between 1500 and 1870, real global GDP crawled along at just 0.41% per annum. By contrast, during the past 150 years of the fossil fuel age, global GDP growth accelerated to 2.82% per annum–or nearly 7 times faster.
This higher growth, of course, in part resulted from a larger and far healthier global population made possible by rising living standards. Yet, it wasn’t human muscle alone that caused the GDP level to go parabolic, as per the chart below.
It was also due to the fantastic mobilization of intellectual capital and technology. One of the most important vectors of the latter was the ingenuity of the fossil fuel industry in unlocking the massive trove of stored work that Mother Nature extracted, condensed, and salted away from the incoming solar energy over the long warmer and wetter eons of the past 600 million years.
Yes, that dramatic rise in prosperity in generating fossil fuel consumption has given rise to a commensurate increase in CO2 emissions. But contrary to the Climate Change Narrative, CO2 is not a pollutant!
As we have seen, the correlated increase in CO2 concentrations—from about 290 ppm to 415 ppm since 1850—amounts to a rounding error in both the long-trend of history and in terms of atmospheric loadings from natural sources.
As to the former, concentrations of less than 500 ppm are only recent developments of the last ice age, while during prior geologic ages concentrations reached as high as 2400 ppm.
Likewise, the oceans contain an estimated 37,400 billion tons of suspended carbon, land biomass has 2,000-3,000 billion tons and the atmosphere contains 720 billion tons of CO2. The latter alone is more than 20X current fossil emissions (35 billion tons) shown below.
Of course, the opposite side of the equation is that oceans, land and atmosphere absorb CO2 continuously so the incremental loadings from human sources is very small. That also means that even a small shift in the balance between oceans and air would cause a much more severe rise/fall in CO2 concentrations than anything attributable to human activity.
But since the Climate Howlers falsely imply that the “pre-industrial” level of 290 parts per million was extant since, well, the Big Bang and that the modest rise since 1850 is a one-way ticket to boiling the planet alive, they obsess over the “sources versus sinks” balance in the carbon cycle for no valid reason whatsoever.