Today's paper has a headline blaring "Scientists say Earth is running a fever/Warming trend hits a 12,000-year high." Is this something to be concerned about?
Well we didn't have the big hurricane season hoped for by the global warming enthusiasts. Not that they were hoping for death and destruction (well, maybe just a little to drive home the point), but because they lost an opportunity to claim that increased hurricane frequency and power must be due to humans pumping CO2 into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. Of course, no respectable climatologist believes there is a serious link between hurricanes and the so-called "global warming" from CO2 emissions, but that doesn't stop the enthusiast's claims every time we get a hurricane making landfall somewhere in the U.S.
So along comes the grandfather of "global warming" hysteria in the person of Dr. Richard Hansen to claim that evidence shows our planet is warming more so than it has in 12,000 years (or about the amount of warming that was occurring at the end of the last glacial period). Hysteria alert! Attention news reporters: Put on your frown and dire warning mask when you make this serious announcement to your audience!
But ... and here's the "opps" about this claim ... a cursory analysis of the claim reveals nothing unusual about the projected warming (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit/decade) in terms of Earth's climate history. Think about it. We had quite a warm-up when the mile thick mantle of ice covering much of North America and Europe was melting at the beginning of this interglacial period. Known as the Holocene Maximum in the Bronze Age, warming was significant and lasted for 3000 years! Does anyone stop to ask what caused that warm-up? Was it from humans burning fossil fuels? Don't think so. It does behoove us to try to answer that question because it just might provide a clue why there is evidence of warming today.
Another thing about humans burning fossil fuels come to mind. Aren't fossil fuels the remains of decaying plant and animal tissue that has been converted to "fossil fuel" through applications of time, heat, and pressure? Well, if that is the case, then it might be helpful to consider where those plants and animals obtained their carbon from in the first place. Of course, we all know the answer. Animals primarily get their carbon building blocks by consuming plant life. And plant life gets its carbon through photosynthesis by absorbing atmospheric CO2 and using the carbon and releasing the O2 (oxygen) back to the atmosphere. That is the great symbiotic relationship between plants and animals. Plants absorb atmospheric CO2 and release O2 back to the atmosphere while animals absorb atmospheric O2 and release CO2 back to the atmosphere. So if the fossil fuels obtained their carbon by absorbing atmospheric CO2, then what is wrong with merely recycling some if it back into the atmosphere? After all, that is where it came from in the first place!
Putting things into perspective, a 12,000 year period in Earth's climate history (if we restrict that history to the time when living organisms were present on Earth), proportionately represents a mere 3 hours and 17 minutes in the life of a 75-year old human. To make the point, suppose you live to age 75. Somewhere along the way, you sneeze, then three hours and 17 minutes later you sneeze again. Bear in mind, you'll probably sneeze thousands of times during your 75 year lifespan. Would that second sneeze be so alarming that you would feel it necessary to become hysterical about it? Probably not.
Maybe its time for Hansen and others who find such routine climate changes so alarming to take a step back and consider how much is known about normal climate variation before they become unglued about what is historically normal for Earth's climate - the fact that it changes. But, of course, if you read the fine print, Hansen finds this warming trend in only the past 30 years! Hardly a monumental time span where climate is concerned. Hansen would have no more idea of what was happening if the planet began a 30-year cooling trend then he does about the current warm spell. So we can choose to get hysterical and demand that governments "do something" ... or we can make a better effort at understanding what has been going on for eons, that is, we can get a grip on the historical climate variability that sees nothing spectacular about climate changes over the past 30 years.
With knitted brow, Hansen worries that "warming has brought global temperature to a level within about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of the maximum temperature of the past million years." Why? If Hansen were honest about Earth's climate history, he would put his claims into perspective. Will Hansen admit Earth is in a climate Ice Epoch? Will Hansen admit Earth is in an Ice Era? Will Hansen admit that Ice Epochs and Ice Eras are atypical of Earth's climate? Will Hansen admit that a return to the typical climate patterns of Earth is overdue? Of course not. Hansen seems uninterested in research that might reveal why Earth's climate changes far more dramatically than that which has raised his concern. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that it is much easier for Hansen to justify funding for research based on hysterical conclusions than that which is less alarming but just as revealing?
Until Hansen and his true believers come to grips with normal climate variability and attempt to put their studies into perspective, he will remain little more than a voice from the fringe of global warming hysteria, not to be taken seriously.
Author of "Looking Out the Window", an evidence-based examination of the "climate change" issue, Bob Webster, is a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s). He is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.