It's almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or watch TV now-a-days without being accosted by some commentator or “expert” giving their alarmist views on climate change. It's good, of course, to bring to the public's attention legitimate areas of concern, but I'm not convinced by the arguments and there is functionally no debate on the scientific merits of climate change. The only debate “allowed” seems to be how much the climate is changing and how fast. That's it.
What is not in dispute is that the climate of the Earth has changed many, many time in the past. Changed - and changed dramatically. Evidence of early humans being driven out of the British Isles by shifting climate has recently been in the news. Our ancestors were here – left – came back – got cold and left again – etc. Some of these climate swings took place in relatively short periods of time – say 50 to 100 years. This occurred long before the advent of burning fossil fuels to power the industrial revolution. The truth is climate changes are a regular occurrence and a natural phenomenon. The problem is: climate change has become an industry and the intellectual property of some scientists who really ought to know better.
For example, consider the Woolly Mammoth. Some of these large herbivores have been found, preserved and frozen almost intact, in Siberia and Alaska. Many people wrongly see these creatures as being adapted to the cold climate of the northern latitudes. This is plainly nonsense. Anatomically the mammoth is very similar to the elephant. They require large amounts of vegetation to survive – in a cold climate they would need even more. The only sensible solution to the woolly mammoth “problem” is to assume they lived in a temperate or savanna type climate. Something very dramatic happened to the world's climate when the mammoth became extinct. And, it happened very quickly. Proponents of rapid climate change would do well to investigate the demise of the woolly mammoth. Their disappearance is recent evidence of rapid and dramatic climate change – and no fossil fuels were involved.
Where do fossil fuels come from? Our gas, oil and coal reserves are the carbon-based remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Some people seem to think that we “make” greenhouse gases. We do not. Nature makes them. We are simply returning to the atmosphere the carbon that was removed from it many years ago. We are not “making” greenhouse gases and it is nonsense to present the arguments in this way.
Where does sandstone come from? Sandstone is one of the most widely used materials for building. Layers of this rock were laid down during hot, dry periods in Earth's history – sometimes over millions of years. For millions of years the “normal” climate of the Earth was very much hotter than it is now. This is not disputed. Check out this web page for some interesting facts about the Earth's climate:
Perhaps the most interesting part of this web page tell us that:
Average global temperatures in the Early Carboniferous Period were hot- approximately 22° C (72° F). However, cooling during the Middle Carboniferous reduced average global temperatures to about 12° C (54° F). As shown on the chart below, this is comparable to the average global temperature on Earth today!
Similarly, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Early Carboniferous Period were approximately 1500 ppm (parts per million), but by the Middle Carboniferous had declined to about 350 ppm -- comparable to average CO2 concentrations today!
Earth's atmosphere today contains about 370 ppm CO2 (0.037%). Compared to former geologic times, our present atmosphere, like the Late Carboniferous atmosphere, is CO2- impoverished! In the last 600 million years of Earth's history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm
Better read this again!! None of the commentators so concerned by “Global Warming” ever mention this!!
Conclusion: Climate change is part of the natural cycle of the Earth. Man's activities in burning fossil fuels are undoubtedly having some influence on the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but present levels are historically low. It is a myth that rapid climate change has never occurred before. It has – and may well do so again.
In my opinion, we should be devoting just as much time, effort and money to combating population explosion and developing new sources of energy – chiefly fusion as pursuing “pie-in-the-sky” “Green “solutions to a problem we only understand imperfectly.