The earth’s climate is always changing. But as a skeptic of anthropogenic climate change theory I am not so arrogant to believe humans either omnipotent or omniscient, having neither the force to significantly alter the earth’s climate with our daily activities nor the knowledge to understand all possible factors that can affect climate. Aside from media alarm, consensus statistics, and popular misunderstanding, there are admittedly a number of good arguments supporting climate change theory. But in my opinion, anthropogenic climate change neither surpasses competing theories in plausibility nor warrants ridiculous governmental violations of individual liberties.
Uninformed supporters of climate change theory will often attribute irrelevant day-to-day or year-to-year anomalies in the weather to global warming. To be clear, however, the actual “global warming” as referenced by many scientists constitutes a total difference of only two tenths of a degree Fahrenheit in the past one hundred years.
If true, this statistic is certainly not insignificant, but also not cause for immediate alarm. In fact, the same (oft misquoted) survey that credited a majority of experts as believing in global warming noted that fewer than half suspected any catastrophic consequences up to a hundred years from now.
The entire climate change debate will likely be rendered obsolete in this time. For reference, less than a hundred years ago, horses were the main method of transportation and the accumulation of manure was the main source of environmental concern in cities. Around the beginning of the twentieth century, the media cast ominous predictions of cities buried in manure by the 1930s or 50s. Consequently, the advent of the fossil-fuel-guzzling automobile “was widely hailed as an environmental savior.”
Clearly, much may change even before climate change would pose a catastrophic threat according to the majority of climate scientists. And while it is prudent not to completely ignore potential problems for the future of our planet, we must regard the issue with appropriate severity.
What is the basis for the conclusion that the earth is actually getting warmer? As I discussed in my previous article, well-known “evidence” such as the “hockey stick” graph and the annual claims that 2014, 2015, etc. have been the hottest year on record are entirely false; the former due to faulty mathematical modeling and the latter to the use of inaccurate surface temperature data rather than satellite data. Satellites are simply much more accurate at measuring temperature on a global scale.
Records of temperature data from satellites show that the years 2014 and 2015 weren’t even close to the hottest on record, contradicting popular media claims.
According to Forbes magazine, such organizations as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration repeatedly “correct” temperature data to demonstrate a warming trend throughout the twentieth century. But unedited NASA data as reported in 1999 displays a cooling trend in the US from the 1930s to the present. As a matter of fact, scientists have dubbed an eighteen year period beginning in the late 1990s “The Great Pause,” since there has been no statistically significant rise in global temperatures according to satellite data.
Alarmists have also pointed to supposedly melting icecaps as a valid quantitative measurement of global warming. But sea ice in the antarctic is regularly expanding, surpassing record maximums according to NASA data.
There seems to be issue enough regarding the authenticity of global warming statistics. However, global temperature does indeed change – sometimes drastically – regardless of human activity. Geologically recent examples of this are the Medieval Warming period (circa 950-1250 CE), followed almost immediately by the Little Ice Age (circa 1300-1850). These events were clearly not caused by the burning of fossil fuels. So, what scientific phenomena can explain them?
As detailed by astrophysicist John Eddy in the 1970s, evidence suggests that the amount of sunspots (magnetic storms on the sun’s surface) was low during the Little Ice Age. Research suggests that the amount of sunspots increases and decreases in a cyclical manner over periods of eleven years. The sun emits more energy when it has the most sunspots. Dr. Douglas Hoyt in The Role of the Sun in Climate Change described the sunspot cycle’s influence on the changing climate.
Moreover, research by solar physicist Judith Lean revealed a strong correlation between changes in the sun’s overall brightness and historical changes in climate. Studies such as Lean’s have attributed not only Little Warming Period but also present-day temperature fluctuations to changes in solar activity.
The “bete noir” of global warming alarmists remains emissions of greenhouse gas, particularly carbon dioxide – literally the air we exhale. That carbon dioxide contributes a strictly negative affect to our planet is not fully agreed upon amongst all scientists. For example, geologist Leighton Steward now asserts that higher-than-present atmospheric carbon dioxide levels can actually be beneficial to plants, contributing to higher food production; and that solar activity is the chief cause of global warming.
How the planet goes about its recovery from the Little Ice age may lie outside the scope of human understanding (a fact which unscientific distortion of temperature data certainly has not helped), but solar activity seems to me a better explanation than carbon dioxide.
This is part of the reason I am appalled by government environmental spending and regulations as they currently stand. For example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency currently denies funding to states that don’t plan for global warming disasters. According to the law, the federal government will detain a state’s disaster preparation money, virtually ensuring more casualties in the event of a calamity, the effects of human-caused global warming on that state are regularly reported. (Good to know our government is finally catching up with the times and taking hints from The Day After Tomorrow.) Keep in mind that the majority of scientists do not believe global warming will cause catastrophe in the next century.
Additionally, climate change as a global industry is worth one and a half trillion dollars annually, or four billion a day. Yes, the same amount of money the world spends on online shopping is taken from taxpayers to counteract climate change – and if we are to trust the advocates of such policies, it isn’t even working.
To be clear, I believe anthropogenic global warming not to be a “hoax,” but rather a convincing yet untrue theory. Granted, it is in the best interest of the planet and mankind to conserve nature and reduce pollution – even through limited government action. But we should not be going to ridiculous lengths, halting economic growth and threatening personal freedoms, to “stop global warming” that doesn’t really exist.