Climate scare blown up by geology
By Tom Harris
We rarely see geologists interviewed in the press about climate change. Sure, we often hear from excited meteorologists, biologists, chemists, sometimes physicists and of course the ubiquitous climate modelers (who pretend to know what the climate will be in 100 years) on TV and in newspapers, when the media bothers to interview scientists at all. But almost never do we see interviews with scientists who study what actually happened in the real world when carbon dioxide (CO2) was many times higher than today.
The reason is simple: many geologists simply do not buy into the climate scare. They understand that, even with a 50% rise in CO2 since 1880, today's level of the gas is very low in comparison with most of the geologic record. They also know that, despite a 1.2-degree Celsius rise in the so-called global average temperature since 1880, we actually live in unusually cold times. Indeed, we are still in the Quaternary glaciation, or ice age, which started about 2.58 million years ago.
Within the current ice age (yes, we are in an ice age right now, as there is permanent ice cover in various locations), there have been several periods of glaciation and interglaciation. The Last Glacial Period extended from about 11,700 – 115,000 years ago, with a peak glaciation at 20,000 years ago. We have, very fortunately, been in the Holocene interglacial warm epoch for the past 11,700 years, a time frame that has been punctuated with periodic cold periods, the Little Ice Age from the early 14th century (when the Greenland Viking colonies perished and crop failures, famines, social unrest, migrations, wars and cultural changes occurred across the world) to the mid 19th century being the most recent example. Indeed, it is during cold periods that we have by far the most troubles.
Consider the following graph geologists use to display temperature and CO2 levels during the past half billion years, the farthest they can go back in time with fossilized seashell oxygen isotope dating for temperature determination. Before that, most marine animals had soft bodies with no shells and so did not leave very many fossils.
The first thing that jumps out at you is that CO2 and temperature are all over the map showing no consistent correlation at all. At times, for example at 450 million years ago, CO2 dropped yet temperature rose suddenly. That was an interesting time period since we were in the midst of a "Cold House" period far longer and colder than an ice age or a glacial period, indeed, the coldest time in the entire record, yet CO2 was ten times today's level. The whole Earth, including the oceans, may have been completely covered with ice.
Or have a look at the period between 120 million and 70 million years ago. CO2 was dropping continuously, yet temperature stayed about the same for that whole time frame.
Geologists also note that today we are at one of the lowest levels of both temperature and CO2 in the past 550 million years. They also see that Earth's temperature has remained at a steady 25 degrees C, or about 77 degrees Fahrenheit for much of that period. Even after it was interrupted by three cataclysmic cooling events; the temperature bounced back up to this steady 77 degrees F.
Also of note is that, starting 175 million years ago, CO2 levels were in a steady decline. Had we not started to burn coal, oil and natural gas, this decline would almost certainly have dropped below the 150 parts per million level at which plants, and therefore all life on Earth, die. The CO2 has been used by corals, crabs, clams, marine plankton and other calcifying animals, with much of it now locked up in limestone rocks such as the White Cliffs of Dover and the Alps. Geologists know that, by helping boost CO2 to today's 420 ppm, we have saved life on Earth with our use of hydrocarbon fuels and cement production.
Geologists also understand that, besides the energy we get from the Sun, our planet is heated by the Earth's molten core. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports ignore this planetary heat from the core, which probably provides as much as 5% of the Earth's heat. This heat is powerful enough to drive all volcanic, continental and other tectonic activities.
As I explained to Laura Ingraham on Fox News, it was a geologist who turned me from a mild climate alarmist into a climate realist. The only scientist to walk on the Moon (Apollo 17), geologist Harrison Schmitt claims that climate change is caused primarily by natural factors and increasing CO2 will benefit humanity. Dr. Schmitt is right, of course.
It was a geologist, Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia, who was my writing partner and ICSC chief scientist for many years (see here for the last video recording of Dr. Carter speaking about the hoax). It is a geologist, Gregory Wrightstone, who is making such an impact in the US with his bestselling book Inconvenient Facts – the science that Al Gore doesn't want you to know. It is another geologist, Dr. Ian Plimer (who was on my The Other Side of the Story radio show), who has written many books exposing the fraud, including the Little Green Books, his most recent Three-book series for children and their parents.
And the list goes on. The fact that one of the world's largest scientific organizations, the International Union of Geological Sciences, representing over a million geoscientists, refuses to yield to activist scientists who want to label the period since 1950 as the Anthropocene epoch, largely to boost concern about the supposed human impact on the climate is telling. Michelle Sterling of Friends of Science, a group founded largely by geologists, explains this revealing story here.
It is long past time that courses in geology be made mandatory in elementary and high schools across the western world. This, perhaps more than any other action, would end the climate scare almost overnight as students are able to put today's events into a geologic perspective.
Comedian the late George Carlin must have taken a course in geology. For in his monologue about the insanities of modern environmentalism, Carlin said:
"The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us: been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drifts, solar flares, sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages... and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?"
Tom Harris is Executive Director of International Climate Science Coalition.