James Shott / February 3, 2015

Credit Where Credit Is Due for Human-Caused Climate Change Advocates

You have to admire the determination of those that persist in promoting the idea that what humans do as they live on the Earth is the proximate cause of severe damage to the environment. They believe that having evolved from living in caves to using the Earth’s riches to make electricity, fuel vehicles, and improve their lives, humans are slowly killing the planet.

It is certainly reasonable to investigate and discuss this idea, but the debate must be honest and any argument has to be supported by data, pure data, not manipulated data, and not just “friendly” data that is constructed in such a way as to support a particular point of view.

In this debate over whether human activities negatively affect the environment, talking points have replaced factual data, talking points carefully, and sometimes deceitfully constructed from the most favorable pieces that support the argument. We know this because the arguments don’t reason out, and also because some of these prominent scientists got caught with their hands in the cookie jar a few years ago.

But the manmade climate change faction is a stubborn lot and stick to the talking points no matter what other information may be circulating, and when new arguments come along, or when there is a spike in the discussion favoring the perspective contrary to theirs, they shift into high gear.

For example, talking points appeared, of all places, in the 2015 State of the Union message, when President Barack Obama presented faulty information as truth when he spoke to the nation. The President of the United States said, “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.”

Some data support this assertion, but even that data isn’t definitive. The supposed increase is just two-tenths of a degree Celsius, but is within NASA’s margin of error. And, the “record” at the top of which 2014 purportedly sits goes back only 135 years, a mere blink of the eye in the Earth’s long history. Essentially what this means is that at some point in that brief eye blink the temperature may have been higher than at any other time in that eye blink, or maybe not.

Playing havoc with the climate change faction is the Medieval Warm Period that ran from the 9th century to the 14th century. Some say it was actually warmer then than now, while others say it really was about the same as the mid 20th century.

How did that happen? Did the Vikings burn fossil fuels in their factories, boats and land vehicles? If not, the Earth must have somehow managed to warm itself. And then it cooled itself, because after the Medieval Warm Period came the Little Ice Age when the Vikings must have abandoned the factories, gone back to sailing vessels and ox carts, and killed all the methane producing animals, causing 500 years of dramatic global cooling.

There are other warm periods further gumming up the argument: the Roman Warm Period of approximately 2,000 years ago, and the Minoan Warm Period of roughly 3,000 years ago.

An Associated Press story on Jan. 16, that might have been the impetus for the president’s dragging the subject into the State of the Union message, reported that 2014 was the hottest year on record, citing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

The AP has since clarified the story, noting that the case is much less certain than originally stated. The NASA press release upon which the AP story relied neglected to say that NASA put only a 38 percent certainty on the assertion that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880.

The human-caused climate change idea is fraught with problems going back decades. Back in 1970 and 1971 newspapers across the country predicted a coming ice age due to atmospheric pollution, and other catastrophes. More recently, the Hockey Stick Graph made with faulty data, and the Climate Research Unit’s email revelations, cast grave doubt on the conclusions about climate change.

Considering that the Little Ice Age started in the 14th century and lasted 500 years until the 19th century, if the warming period that followed lasts only as long as The Little Ice Age, which is not a long period for either a warming or cooling, it will continue until roughly the 24th century, or between 2300 and 2400 AD. Therefore, should anyone be surprised if the climate is warming in 2015? We should, in fact, be very concerned if it isn’t warming.

Natural occurrences have produced alternate periods of warming and cooling for at least thousands of years, and all scientists agree on that. Earth should be warming now, given the brief time since the last cooling trend ended. Is the warming proceeding faster than before? Probably not. But if so, why? The sun? Man’s activities? Was it something else, like what happened in the Medieval Warm Period? Probably.

James Shott is a columnist for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, and publishes his columns on several Websites, including his own, Observations.

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