No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape the constant media barrage of dire climate change warnings.
“Climate scientists say 2015 on track to be warmest year on record,” proclaims The Guardian.
“2015 Still On Pace as Hottest Year On Record,” reads a Weather.com headline.
“This Year Is Headed for the Hottest on Record, by a Long Shot,” claims Bloomberg Business.
Not only do they say warming is unquestionably happening, they tell us climate scientists are convinced it’s going to destroy us all—unless, of course, we forsake the modern world and trade our gas-guzzling, Earth-killing cars for bicycles.
For nearly 20 years now, the Western world has been battered by these so-called “inconvenient truths” about alleged human effects on global temperature. Only the most selfish among us can ignore the scientific facts, we’re told. The debate is over.
That’s the political climate in which President Barack Obama recently announced his Clean Power Plan mandating drastic carbon dioxide emissions cuts from U.S. power plants. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency rules will force electricity providers to cut emissions by 32 percent compared to 2005 levels, by 2030.
Although Obama’s emissions cuts and the warnings from major media outlets may sound convincing, don’t be fooled. No one wants to see polar bears drown, coastal cities flood, or millions of people starve, but the idea reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, and by a relatively insignificant amount compared to global emissions, will have any real influence on global temperature is pure, unadulterated fantasy.
Not only is there absolutely no evidence—none, zero, zilch—cutting human-produced carbon-dioxide emissions will actually reverse global temperature, the claims made about global warming are greatly exaggerated at best and deliberately misleading and dangerous at worst.
Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying; Earth did warm during the past century, some sea ice has melted, and all the world’s creatures, including humans and polar bears, are going to have to make some adjustments. But as history has proven over and over, terrifying claims about the ever-changing climate are by no means unique to our modern era.
I recently had the opportunity, thanks to one of my intrepid readers, to get my hands on the June 1818 issue of The Edinburgh Review, a popular and well-respected academic magazine published between 1802 and 1929 in the United Kingdom.
The magazine featured several very interesting stories about the extreme climate changes scientists of the time had observed. Many scientists, explorers, tradesmen, and statesmen expressed great excitement about the growing number of accounts of sea voyagers who had returned home with stories of clear and navigable bodies of water in the far north traditionally thought to be filled with dangerous sea ice.
The author of the publication’s first chapter relayed the exciting developments:
“For these two or three years past, the captains of ships ... generally concurred in representing the Arctic Sea as of a sudden become almost open and accessible to the adventurous navigator. By the more speculative relators, it has been supposed that the vast icy barrier which, during many ages, had obstructed those forlorn regions, is at last, from some revolution of our globe, broken up and dispersed.”
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there was still great interest in the hoped-for discovery of the Northwest Passage, a waterway that could take ships from Europe to Asia without having to travel all the way around South America, so stories of legendary sea captains traveling beyond the 83rd parallel in the Arctic, where they found virtually no sea ice and open waters, captured the imagination.
But with a commonsense wisdom few in the media and Western universities today possess, the author went on to explain precisely why he did not believe sustained climate change was occurring. He related a lengthy history of first-hand accounts in Europe of rising and falling temperatures; long periods, sometimes as long as a decade or more, of extreme heat or cold; and the all-too-familiar-sounding reports of melting glaciers, dying crops, and strange weather.
Examining more than 1,000 years of stories from across Europe, the author concluded climate change and natural variability were nothing to be too excited or too worried about. Glaciers and sea ice may have been melting, but eventually Earth would move into an intense cooling pattern again, the author warned. It was only a matter of time.
What’s most striking about the article isn’t that there were reports of shrinking sea ice or rising global temperature; it’s that with far less technology than what’s available to our modern scientists, at least some early 19th century climate researchers were able to look beyond the climate directly in front of them, rightly choosing to see climate on a much larger and more informative scale.
President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais )
By contrast, modern climate alarmists, including President Obama, make irresponsible and terrifying claims about Earth’s future based on relatively little evidence. Yes, Earth has warmed (as it has done many times throughout its history and will do many times again), but even if there weren’t a single ounce of man-produced carbon being emitted in the world, the planet would still warm. Earth is in the midst of a warming period that began way back when the Little Ice Age ended around 1850.
It is not fair, scientifically responsible, or ethical to claim, “The year 2014 was the world’s warmest on record,” or that 2015 will likely break the record, when the truth is the official “record” didn’t start until around 1880 and it’s an accepted scientific fact there were many, many warmer years prior to 1880 that aren’t counted because they were not officially recorded.
The world isn’t ending, the seas aren’t going to flood major coastal cities, and millions of people are not going to die because of human-produced carbon-dioxide emissions. Maybe that’s not the popular thing to say, but it’s morally responsible and necessary in a world filled with rampant climate-obsessed fear-mongering.
Special thanks to Joseph Bushong for providing the June 1818 issue of The Edinburgh Review and bringing this dusty old, yet important, article to light.
Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is editor of The Heartland Institute. You can follow him @TheNewRevere.
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