That’s what a colleague from former times asked recently. You had to choose between YES or NO. Only some 20 of the 150+ former colleagues he so canvassed bothered to answer. He might have just as well asked “Do you have a mother?”—Silly questions deserve no answer.
Planet Earth’s history of “climate change” (CC) is about 4,500,000,000 years in the making. Why would anyone think that it stopped yesterday, last year, last decade, last century, or even a millennium ago? Do you think the rate or direction of natural CC has changed because the dinosaurs died out many million years ago? Or do you believe it was because humans arrived en masse on the scene a few thousand years ago?
Let’s look at some real drivers of climate change.
Continental Drift, Earthquakes and Volcanoes
Have the mid-oceanic ridges stopped spreading or has the North American Plate stopped pushing over the Pacific Plate (also known as Juan de Fuca Plate)? None of that.
Have earthquakes and tsunamis become a thing of the past? Not at all (remember Fukushima)!
Every year there are approximately ten thousand earthquakes of Richter scale magnitude 2 or greater being recorded and once in a while there is a major movement in the earth’s crust, often with dramatic consequences for mankind. Quakes with magnitudes 8 or 9 release an amount of energy equal to many nuclear bombs, all within a few seconds.
Some 20 to 50 volcanoes are erupting all the time, some spewing plumes of ash and gas miles high into the atmosphere, others creating new mountains or islands out of red-hot lava. A few days ago, the Manam volcano (Papua New Guinea) erupted with sending volcanic ash as high as 65,000 feet (~20,000 m) into the sky. Guess what drove the plume that high? Carbon dioxide, coming out in vast quantities from the bowels of the earth! That’s the same atmospheric trace gas that you generate by burning coal, oil, wood, or gas to heat your home in winter!
But not everything is hot on earth; there are some “cold spots” too.
The last (of several) ice ages had a firm grip on North America, Europe, and Asia. At its height, nearly all the northern parts of the continents (roughly the entire area north of latitude 45 N) were covered with a thick layer of ice. How thick you ask? It was anywhere between one and three miles thick.
That massive ice shield though was not a stationary thing at all. It kept moving south, day and night and any obstacle would simply be ground down by the sheer mass and the associated grinding material, like house-size boulders of hard rock from way up north. You don’t need to go far into Ontario’s “cottage country” to see the traces first hand. Granite rocks with feldspar and quartz veins have been ground flat and polished to reflect the sun into your eyes. Also, in many places you can still quite clearly see the groves left behind by larger rocks scraping along the bottom of the moving ice, like in the below.
Melting the Ice Shields
These continental ice shields had reached their maximum extent approximately 20,000 years ago but had completely melted away some 5,000 years ago. Now that’s real climate change in action! Yes the CO2 levels increased too, but only with a time lag of 800 years. As clearly established from deep ice cores on Greenland, that CO2 increase was not the cause but the consequence of the melting.
You’d need many times the energy of all fossil fuels ever burnt and those still in the ground to melt that giant “ice cube.” Still, Mother Nature did it without much fanfare and – here comes the kicker – without any change in the atmospheric CO2 (carbon dioxide) level up front. That alone should tell you how mistaken the CO2-doomsayers are. Carbon dioxide in air is not a factor for climate.
The doomsayers’ credo is to blame nearly every natural event on CC. If it’s hot it must be because of CC. Even if it’s colder than usual, they want you to believe that it’s just another sign of “CC-induced” weather extremes. The polar ice caps were predicted to have melted away by now. What, they increased instead? Obviously more proof of CC extremes; blah, blah.
Other CO2-based claims, like rapidly rising ocean levels supposedly wiping out the Micronesian atolls and drowning the Maldives have not materialized either. Both the landmasses of the atolls and their populations are steadily increasing. If you really want to see what’s happening in the Tuvalu or Maldives go to Google Earth and take a close look, or visit the holiday resort industry web pages that extol the virtues of the fancy resorts there.
The PIK, Germany
The list of wrong predictions, misunderstandings of cause and consequence and false proclamations is a long one. Why else would the luminaries from the PIK, i.e. the Potsdam Institut for Klimafolgenforschung (Germany) and elsewhere have advised Pope Francis to make claims about CO2 that have been proven false decades ago? Of course, that institute’s head honcho has not answered the questions in my Open Letter of June 30, 2015 (it was sent to him by email too). If he would have answered he would either have to admit that he is wrong or subsequently be proven so by the scientific evidence available.
If I remember correctly, in 2008 one of PIK’s finest climate-warmists, Prof. S. Rahmstorf, claimed that by 2015 the last bit of sea-ice in the Arctic summer would disappear. Actually, the exact opposite happened. In the and in the Arctic it has returned to the mid-to-upper level seasonal average and in the Antarctic the ice extent has risen to a new all-time record size. In fact, even in late July 2015, the Canadian icebreaker CCGS Pierre Radisson had difficulties in Frobisher Bay on the east side of Labrador when trying to plough a path through the ice for the supply ships for the settlement there. I wonder if Rahmstorf has ever been to the Arctic—in winter of course.
There are also scientific falsehoods being spread by the PIK. For example about the carbon dioxide residence time in the atmosphere and the supposed ocean acidification. They also like to forget to mention the close to 1,000-year time lag for CO2 increase that FOLLOWS RATHER THAN LEADS global warming. It’s inconceivable that they don’t know better. I’ll go into details about these in the future. Suffice to say now that the PIK people either don’t understand the processes in nature or simply don’t care about stating the truth.
According to PIK’s founder and president, Prof. H.J. Schellnhuber, the world can only sustain a population of one billion people or so. The other 6 or 7 billion, presumably, need to be “decarbonized” forthwith. In contrast, the Pontiff’s recent encyclical Laudato Si says “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.” As Schellnhuber has recently been nominated to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, I wonder if the Pope was aware of that; it looks to me like a massive conflict of opinions.
With that in mind, let’s revise the original question about “do you believe in climate change” and put it into the right context:
Has there been climate change in the past? Yes, of course.
Will there be climate change in the future? Yes, of course.
Is CO2 (or fossil energy resource use) the cause of climate change? Certainly not!—Any sane person’s answer must be a resounding NO!