Since I’ve been picking on climate change activists for their legal policies, I figure I should take a turn picking on global warming deniers for their misstatements about climate science. Case in point, an unsigned editorial in Investor’s Business Daily titled “Father of Global Warming Admits: It Used to Be Hotter Than It Is Now.” I’m by no means an expert on climate science, but I think I can see a few flaws here.
To listen to the climate change alarmist community, one would think that Earth has never been so warm as it is now.
There are enough climate activists in the world that I’m sure someone somewhere must have said something like that, but that’s not actually part of the theory of anthropogenic climate change.
But it’s been warmer, and sea levels have been higher, facts that the leader of the movement acknowledges.
I would hope he does, since it’s pretty well scientifically established.
James Hansen, the famed NASA scientist who stirred the climate scare when in 1988 he told a Senate committee that “global warming” — yes, he used those words
— What the heck is going on with global warming deniers who think the shift in terminology from “global warming” to “climate change” is a trick of some kind? What’s that about? I’ve got to look that one up someday. Anyway…
— “is already happening now,” has never backed off his claims, despite the fact that he’s been demonstrably wrong.
I know almost nothing about Hansen, or how his specific claims have held up, but the editorial sure seems to get important things wrong.
The narrative since that day in 1988 is that Earth is entering a dangerous warm era created by man’s carbon dioxide emissions. Every heat wave, cold snap, drought, hurricane, heavy snow, torrential rain, and change in sea level has been supposedly caused by man. And all are allegedly unprecedented events.
Um…no. The theory of anthropogenic climate change makes claims about worldwide climate trends over periods of decades or longer. One of those claims is that global warming will increase the frequency and intensity of some local weather events, but as far as I know, there’s no way to trace these kinds of specific instances of extreme weather to global warming. Each time we break a temperature record is another bit of evidence that warming is occurring, but no single hot day or intense hurricane proves global warming. Even a hot year is just a data point. (Of course, no single cold day or year refutes global warming either.)
It’s been warmer, and extreme weather has visited us before, all in a time long before man began to drive cars and operate power plants that helped move him from an almost primitive existence to a modern one.
Hansen has even admitted this.
I would hope so, since much of climate science is based on historic data from those periods. Lots of things have affected our climate over the life of the planet — variations in output from the sun, cycles in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, volcanoes, changes in vegetation, changes in ocean currents, meteor strikes, drifting continents… A lot can happen to a planet in four and a half billion years. The geological record of those ancient times is one of the reasons we have some idea of what the Earth would be like with more CO2 and higher temperatures, because both of those things have happened before and left evidence for scientists to analyze.
“The last interglacial period, 120,000 years ago, that’s the last time it was warmer than today, sea level was 6 to 9 meters higher,” he said in an interview with online magazine Yale Environment 360.
So it has been warmer, and sea levels have been higher. And those conditions were entirely natural. Yet the alarmists want us to believe that the predicted warmth of today — which has yet to occur — is man-caused. How do they know?
That’s a huge topic, but the short answer is that we can see that our civilization is dumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, and we can see evidence that this is causing the atmosphere to retain more heat, but when we look at all the other known possible causes of global warming, none of them seem to be responsible for the current warming.
The Watts Up With That blog points out another hole in the narrative: While implying that we’re headed for another 6-to-9-meters increase in sea level […] “Hansen failed to say” that “paleoclimatological studies have indicated that it took a number of millennia for sea levels to rise those 6 to 9 meters when temperatures were warmer than today.”
Maybe Hansen failed to say it, but climate scientists aren’t predicting an overnight deluge. They believe it will take centuries for the world’s glaciers to melt away.
Yet we’ve been told until the alarmists have no more hot air to exhale that we are running out of time to act, and maybe already have.
Contrary to what the IBD editors are saying, there’s nothing inconsistent about having to act quickly now to prevent a catastrophic sea level rise in the future. The way it works is that CO2 levels rise as fast as we can dump CO2 into the atmosphere, but then it takes decades for the greenhouse effect to warm the Earth, and even longer for the warmer climate to melt glacial ice to raise the sea level. Nevertheless, the final height to which the sea rises, hundreds or thousands of years in the future, is a function of the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and we are increasing that level right now. The sooner we stop producing massive amounts of CO2, the smaller the eventual sea rise will be.
The only thing Hansen is “admitting” is what climate scientists have been saying for years.