In our information age, we’re bombarded with statistics on every danger the number crunchers can conjure — people struck by lightning, airplane vs. automotive deaths, and even drownings in bathtubs. But one statistic is curiously missing from the list. Even though President Obama and other global-warming alarmists warn of a looming climate apocalypse, they avoid giving a metric to prove their claims. They blame man-made climate change for a vast array of ills, including floods, droughts, wildfires, and tornados. But they never quantify what they say is the driving force behind it all: temperature.
They have a very good reason. Actual temperature data doesn’t cooperate with their party line that mankind is ruining the planet with its addiction to so-called fossil fuels and its appetite for ample, affordable energy. Too few taxpayers are demanding proof, and too many are willing to accept global-warming fictions on blind faith, opening the door for federal regulators to foist irrational energy restrictions on the public. Understanding Earth’s climate fluctuations will make us much less willing to let them stifle our economic, industrial, and social progress, while understanding environmentalists’ true motives may incite us to expose their deceit.
The Holocene Period
Paleoclimatologists are scientists who study Earth’s climate history, and two specific studies outshine others in their field in terms of scope and consensus in the scientific community. The multinational European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) lasted from January 1996 until December 2006, earning the European Union’s 2008 Descartes Prize for Research. Investigation at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica has been going on since the 1970s. Both groups have studied ice cores as deep as two miles, establishing climate chronology from changes in layering thickness and measuring historic temperature data from varying ratios of oxygen isotopes in entrapped air bubbles.
Figure 1 (below) plots ice core data, covering the past 11,700 years — an age known as the Holocene period — with present day included at the far right of the graph. The thick black line traces the average of eight different temperature reconstructions. It highlights the Holocene Optimum, which occurred between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago. Climate alarmists conveniently overlook evidence during the Holocene optimum where there were extended periods of temperatures exceeding the averages by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius above present temperatures.
Though temperatures have been falling ever since, the decline hasn’t been steady. About 3,300 years ago temperatures peaked during the Minoan Warm Period, and again during the Roman Warm Period some 2,000 years ago. The Medieval Warm Period occurred 1,000 years ago, when wine vineyards dotted the landscape in Great Britain and Vikings grew corn and barley in Greenland. Each of these eras was warmer than today. Additionally, two significantly low dips are the 8200 Cold Period and the Little Ice Age, 400 to 500 years ago.
The Little Ice Age, Greenland, and Some Glaciers
The Little Ice Age is troublesome for global-warming alarmists, since historical evidence suggests the period had extremely low global temperatures, which began recovering only as recently as the mid-19th century. During this era, the Thames River in England froze solid during the winter with ice so thick Londoners held “frost fairs” on it. Noted 17th-century English diarist John Evelyn described what he saw at the fair of 1683-84:
Coaches [carriages] plied from Westminster to the Temple, and from several other stairs too and fro, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skeetes, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tipling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water.
There were five winters during the Little Ice Age when the Thames froze thick enough to hold a frost fair: 1683-84, 1716, 1739-40, 1789, and 1814. According to Tom de Castella, writing for BBC News Magazine in January 2014, during the last of these, carnival-goers watched an elephant tramp across the river.
But Evelyn’s diary also describes the extreme misery of such severe winters. “The fowls, fish and birds, and all our exotic plants and greens universally perishing,” he wrote. “Many parks of deer were destroyed, and all sorts of fuel so dear that there were great contributions to keep the poor alive.”
The harsh conditions weren’t limited to London or to latitudes north of England. As recently as the American Civil War, the Little Ice Age still had a grip on the Southern United States. In his book The Civil War Quadrennium, Sir William O’Donnell relates that temperatures were so cold during the winter of 1863-64 that the “Arkansas River was frozen solid at Little Rock for many months,” and people could easily trudge from north to south banks without fear.
Such climate records prove the planet has been warming for hundreds of years from the Little Ice Age minimum. Hence a slow increase in temperature is the norm over the last century or so, and not a catastrophe in the making.
But the Little Ice Age is not warmists’ only antagonist. Global-warming alarmists see red at the mere mention of “Greenland.” In 986 A.D. Erik the Red arrived and built a prosperous civilization there. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History website describes archeological expeditions that have uncovered abandoned Viking settlements beneath the country’s now-frozen tundra and remains of ancient forests far above the current natural tree line. Yet by 1450 A.D., most Norsemen had left the country. Why? “Most likely, the extinction resulted from a complex set of events related to climatic cooling, over-population and economic stress,” states the Smithsonian website.
Strange to hear “climatic cooling” blamed for human woes, and overpopulation in a land that, according to the World Bank, is now the least-densely populated country in the world. Obviously Greenland was much warmer when the Vikings thrived there than it is today.
Like Greenland and the Little Ice Age, glaciers aren’t cooperating with climate alarmists either, though glacier retreat is supposedly a harbinger of doom for our warming planet. On the contrary, it has been following the pattern you would expect during recovery from the Little Ice Age. The website for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK) offers the example of Glacier National Park (GNP) in Montana. An estimated 150 glaciers blanketed the land in 1850, most of which still existed in 1910 when the park was established. “In 2010, we consider there to be only 25 glaciers larger than 25 acres remaining in GNP,” reads the site.
But the exciting news is what’s popping up from underneath these retreating ice rivers. “Ancient trees emerge from frozen forest ‘tomb,’” reported the Juneau Empire in September 2013, quoting a University of Alaska Southeast geology professor who dates tree stumps from under the Mendenhall Glacier between 1,400 and 2,350 years old, corresponding to both the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods.
Forests aren’t the only finds. In 2003, Swiss archaeologists discovered clothes, weapons, and animal remains at the edge of the retreating Alpine Schnidejoch Glacier. According to German newspaper Tages Spiegel, the researchers were excited about the relics from a time when the glacial zone began roughly 700 meters higher than it does today, the “timber line had climbed substantially,” and “temperatures in the Swiss Alps were up to two degrees over today’s.”
It’s clear such evidence and scientific consensus don’t play along with the climate-change charade. Instead, they free mankind from blame for climate fluctuations.
Satellite vs. Surface
We rely on ice core analysis to discover temperature trends of the past millennia because there was no reliable measurement system prior to 1714 when Daniel Fahrenheit invented the first mercury-in-glass thermometer. His device came into general use in the late 1800s, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) confirms that “there was a net global warming of about 0.4º Celsius between the 1880s and 1970s.”
The year 1979 saw the launch of the first temperature-gauging satellites, and suddenly we were not limited to data from ground stations, sea buoys, merchant vessels, and weather balloons. Research by environmental economist Dr. Ross McKitrick of Canada’s University of Guelph explains the drastic effect satellites had on how global temperatures are measured.
He found that pre-satellite data is inconsistent because monitored portions of Earth’s surface have changed continuously since the late 1800s, with scant attention to the Southern Hemisphere, and that even by 2000 only 50 percent of the Earth’s surface had thermometer coverage. To add to the confusion, “about 90 percent of the land-based data now being used to construct global averages are sampled in cities,” contaminating readings with an “urban heat island” effect. This issue became the subject of two independent studies: Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? published in 2009 by the Heartland Institute and the 2011 critique by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Climate Monitoring: NOAA Can Improve Management of the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. The studies revealed incomplete and erroneous reporting of temperature data and, even more shocking, that nearly 90 percent of U.S. locations are in violation of the National Weather Service’s siting requirements that recording devices must not be placed near sources of artificial or radiated/reflected heat such as exhaust fans, asphalt or concrete surfaces, or rooftops. McKitrick reported urbanization in Europe has produced the same phenomenon.
Violations such as these generated the sharp upward spike on the right portion of Figure 2 (below). This graph charts global surface temperatures recorded by four separate agencies: NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Met Office (which is the United Kingdom’s weather service), and the Japanese Meteorological Agency.
Ironically, NASA data from this same graph sparked the “coming ice age” scare of the 1970s. Note the temperature change of -0.2 degrees Celsius between 1940 and 1980. This two-tenths difference brought on a storm of ice age predictions by major media and government agents. In 1971, the Washington Post reported that research based on climate modeling developed by NASA scientist James Hansen predicted that glaciers would cover much of the globe within 50 years — by 2021 — because of mankind’s fossil-fuel dust blotting out the sun. (Hansen, who later became director of GISS and retired in 2013, continues to make headlines, advocating a steep carbon tax on fossil fuels to stave off global warming, reported the Des Moines Register last October.)
Obviously, Hansen has ignored satellite measurements in favor of faulty surface readings. Since 1979, 14 satellite instruments have daily been recording global temperatures throughout different layers of the atmosphere by monitoring thermal emissions. In contrast to surface monitoring, McKitrick reports that satellites cover 95 percent of the Earth with continuous and consistent measurement techniques. The data are available at the University of Alabama in Huntsville website, and anomalies are plotted in Figure 3 (below). The red line is the running average over 13 months while the data points are monthly. What a difference between this and the four-agency surface temperature records! No sharp upward trends, and nothing to cause the public backlash that fear-mongering climate alarmists crave.
It Gets Even Cooler
Adding to the anti-climax of satellite data are findings from a fleet of more than 3,500 Argo floats launched by a collaboration of 30 United Nations members beginning in 1999. Designed to profile the temperature and salinity of ocean water, these buoys are scattered around the Earth’s oceans, covering nearly three-quarters of the globe. Yet you don’t hear much of the Argo floats because so far they have recorded cooling, not warming. Researchers published findings in the 2010 International Journal of Geosciences, reporting that rates of change in ocean heat content are “preponderantly negative.” This is particularly significant because many climate-change alarmists conjecture that the reason global temperatures of the 21st century are lower than their faulty climate models originally predicted is that the Earth’s oceans are absorbing all the excess heat. On the contrary, Argo researchers concluded that the data did “not support the existence of either a large positive radiative imbalance or a ‘missing energy.’” In other words, the notion that Earth’s oceans are sponging up all the heat just doesn’t hold water.
NOAA’s U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) has also revealed a cooling trend. Established in answer to criticism about NOAA’s site violations, the USCRN is comprised of 114 temperature stations in pristine locations throughout the United States. Meteorologist Anthony Watts plotted the raw USCRN data as shown in Figure 4 (below), which reveals a cooling of 0.72 degrees Fahrenheit since the network began operating in January 2005.
Of course, satellites, Argo floats, and USCRN stations are so new, they should be considered still in their pilot phases. In fact, even surface temperature readings since 1880 are a mere blip on the Holocene radar. If you add to Figure 1 data from any of the subsequent charts shown here, you would not be able to discern a difference in the updated graph. Regardless, even temperatures from the most contaminated sources fall well within natural variations. Taken in the broader Holocene context, the modern-day hubbub over climate change is a tempest in a teapot.
Why Global Warming?
Despite the overwhelming evidence against human-caused global warming, why is actual temperature data consistently ignored? Current climate fluctuations are trivial and well within historical limits. They prove that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. Though all the information presented here is publicly available and well known in both scientific and political circles, why does this false notion prevail that mankind is destroying the planet? Could the motive behind such madness be something other than saving the Earth?
Realizing that the USCRN is part of Obama’s own federal agency, NOAA, consider his remarks during a televised address from the September 2014 UN Climate Change Summit in New York City:
There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.… We cannot condemn our children, and their children, to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair.
Is the president ignorant of USCRN data? Are United Nations members who applauded his remarks oblivious to their own Argo research? Have none of them heard of the weather satellites orbiting our globe? Or could their implausible climate-change claims have more to do with a lucrative global carbon market in which corporations buy permits to emit greenhouse gases? Reuters financial analysts estimate the 2014 market was worth around $87 billion. Perhaps globalists’ “green” agenda involves cash, not climate or some altruistic moral cause.
While business enterprises worldwide are footing the global carbon market bill and passing the extra costs along to consumers, Obama is fleecing taxpayers back home. In a recent report by the Science and Environmental Policy Project, Ken Haapala outlined U.S. federal spending on climate change over the past decade, which totaled more than $165 billion. In 2013 alone “government expenditures on alternative energy sources were 78% greater than [National Institutes of Health] expenditures on all categories of clinical research on known threats to human health.”
White House and Homeland Security Department reports reveal global warming received nearly twice as much in 2013 tax funding as did border security. Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) chided the president for spending “30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning,” calling it a “gross misallocation” of tax dollars. Haapala reproached, “The fear of climate change has distorted spending priorities in the Federal government.”
If Obama does not want to “condemn our children” to a future beyond repair, why is he ignoring real threats, hiding real data, and wasting billions blaming an uninformed public for a fictitious problem that he says can only be solved by bigger government and more taxation?
In his speech at the climate summit, he claimed, “Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them. We have to answer the call.” What call? The latest Pew Research polls reveal that most Americans identify human-caused climate change as a fraud. Surveys conducted in 2013 and 2014 found a majority of Americans do not see global warming as a major threat and rank it near the bottom of the list of priorities for the president and Congress.
If America and other developed nations want to maintain their high standards of living, and if developing nations hope to improve theirs, we must realize that climate-change politics are diametrically opposed to these goals. A “high standard of living” doesn’t mean driving nice cars and wearing designer clothes. It refers to ample food supplies, a dependable infrastructure, employment-generating industry, adequate medical services, and decent education levels. The reliable, affordable power sources responsible for such prosperity — especially coal, oil, and natural gas — sit in the crosshairs of “green” policy restrictions.
Radical environmentalists tout so-called renewables such as wind and solar, but “renewable energy” effectively means no energy at all. Wind and solar will never be able to power an industrial economy. These technologies only “generate electricity when their resource is available, not when it is needed,” writes electrical power engineer Bryan Leyland for the industry journal EnergyCentral. “In any power system, the generation must match the demand on a second-by-second basis.” That means when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, the lights go out, unless renewables have reliable power sources as back-up. These are termed base-load providers, and it’s an expensive process for them to ramp up and down in answer to the variability of wind and solar.
Forcing power companies to include renewables in their energy mix is a costly mistake. Germany, a world leader in aggressive renewable policies, faces an industrial exodus and economic recession, with electricity prices that have risen approximately 60 percent since 2007. The German Chambers of Commerce report that 25 percent of heavy industrial users are considering relocating abroad.
In the United States, where renewable portfolio standards vary from state to state, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that electricity prices broke all-time records in July 2014, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts even higher rates this winter. A report published in November by consulting firm Energy Ventures Analysis, Energy Market Impacts of Recent Federal Regulations on the Electric Power Sector, predicts that commercial and industrial customers’ power and gas bills will rise 60 percent over the next five years. Individuals will pay for these costs through higher prices for consumer goods, while their own utility bills will also experience a 60-percent increase between now and 2020.
Why are we imitating Germany’s folly? Because, while the Obama administration is forcing renewables into the power portfolio, it is squeezing base-load providers out. EPA-mandated emission limits on conventional sources of electricity, especially coal-fired power plants, are so restrictive that current technology cannot meet their demands. Paul Loeffelman, director of Corporate External Affairs for utility giant American Electric Power, states that the EPA’s regulations will force more than 50 gigawatts of coal generation — about 300 power plants — to be retired by 2016. The EPA is also poised to impose similar restrictions on new power plants, prompting U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to complain, “Never before has the federal government forced an industry to do something that is technologically impossible. If these regulations go into effect, American jobs will be lost, electricity prices will soar, and economic uncertainty will grow.”
He could have said economic uncertainty will skyrocket, which is exactly what happens to society when access to adequate, affordable electricity is restricted. Figure 5 (below) illustrates that countries with strong gross domestic products — the value of goods and services produced within a country annually — boast correspondingly high electrification levels (the percentage of households with electricity). The first 10 countries listed are top in the world ranked by GDP, and the remaining nations represent areas with relatively low electrification levels in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Note the marked difference in GDP between countries with ample electricity and those without.
Obviously, energy poverty breeds economic stagnation and vice versa. The International Energy Agency (IEA), an intergovernmental policy advising organization, explains that “access to electricity is particularly crucial to human development” and “cannot easily be replaced by other forms of energy.” IEA claims, “Individuals’ access to electricity is one of the most clear and undistorted indications of a country’s energy poverty status.”
But just as Obama’s climate-change cronies turn a blind eye to factual weather data, so do they ignore the need for reliable access to energy. The president’s senior science and technology advisor, John Holdren, advocates transferring billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to developing countries annually, supposedly to combat climate change. Of course, the climate policies our tax dollars help enact will further shackle those energy-impoverished nations.
Nonetheless, Obama is fulfilling Holdren’s wishes. At November’s G20 Summit in Australia, the president pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, a wealth redistribution mechanism established under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush entangled our nation in this international treaty, setting the stage for UN control of our energy sources in the name of “sustainable development.” If that sounds far-fetched, consider that the treaty’s main architect was former UN diplomat Maurice Strong, who declared at its unveiling, “We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrialized civilization to collapse.”
UN officials still toe the same party line. In November the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — another brainchild of globalist billionaire Strong — published the final volume of its latest assessment report. Full of grim projections, the study says, “Decarbonizing (i.e., reducing the carbon intensity of) electricity generation is a key component” of IPCC’s recommended climate policies and recommends that carbon-emitting fossil fuel power generation be “phased out almost entirely by 2100.”
Radical environmentalists know that human-caused global warming is a hoax. Temperature data shows no catastrophic warming trend, and archaeological evidence proves the planet has undergone periods of much more intense warming and cooling than our modern age has experienced. The purpose of the manufactured environmental crisis is not to save the Earth but to enslave it by restricting access to reliable, affordable energy.
“Partisans for world government take advantage of any contrived crisis to aid them in their drive to rule the planet,” John McManus, president of The John Birch Society (JBS), told The New American. “The global-warming/climate-change hysteria was created to empower a few who intend to dominate all mankind.”
But JBS Vice President Marty Ohlson offers a solution. “Concerned citizens should outreach to others to overcome the engineered ignorance about this subject,” he said, pointing to the “treasure trove” of information available at the organization’s website: www.jbs.org/issues-pages/environment. The key, Ohlson says, is education. “Tree-huggers of good character will likely re-think the issue after seeing it through the prism of truth.”
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