In last week’s Times, Matthew Borenzweig instructs us not to use the term “global warming” but “climate change,” then spends his words talking about a warming planet as an existential threat. He cites no facts.
The question of our climate changing is silly. Of course it is. The real issue: Is this a result of natural forces or man-made causes? Mostly the latter is based on a hypothesis of increased levels of carbon dioxide resulting from too many people utilizing fossil fuels.
We know that the earth is warming. Not surprising, since the early 1970s was then referred to by scientists as the peak of the little ice age. Also cited are the warmest years in recorded history. While I doubt these statistics, this is a false comparison. Recordings of temperatures world wide have no veracity until the last few decades. Historically, however, we know of other major weather cycles. In the 1300s, Indians were driven from Mesa Verde, huge lakes dried up in Eastern California and the settlers in Greenland vanished, dying from cold. And at the time of Christ’s birth, it was so warm in England the Brits were cultivating grapes to make wine, much to the consternation of the French.
The real problem, however, is the total inability of climate change models to predict future weather events. To be valid, any scientific hypothesis must develop predictions and these must be validated. But current models have no predictive ability. While this does not negate the concept, it does raise doubts. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, climate change models predicted that the U.S. would be inundated with more and more severe hurricanes, but in fact, those years were some of the mildest on record. Thus, either the model or the hypothesis was wrong.
The same is true of sea level rise. As someone who’s surfed for 50 years can attest to no change, though clearly the sand has disappeared, which makes storms more damaging. Even the recent extreme tide and flooding in Venice, again touted as climate change, was less than the high water mark recorded in 1966.
CO2 is only .04 percent of the atmosphere. Ice core samples in Greenland show levels 40 times higher 300,000 years ago. I have no idea of what that means for us.
Our efforts are overwhelmed by the billions of people in China and India with their polluting factories and oil spewing motor scooters as they transition to an industrial society. Finally (and I know I’ll get in trouble for this) blaming everything, including Woolsey, on climate change obscures the true culprits. Worse, it hides environmental threats that we can correct.