The Myth of Climate Control

In his Two Worlds blog, #16 / Acknowledge The Difficulties, Gary Patton references Robert Samuelson in his December 27 editorial, stating that “…regulating the world’s temperature is mission impossible.”

Samuelson is correct in his assessment. Humans do not have the power to control the world’s temperature, even if that concept had any meaning in reality. Humans may have the power, if we have the will, to reduce the effects of human consumption and production on natural climate variation. Switching to “renewable” energy sources is certainly a rational decision, if for no other reason than non-renewable energy sources are finite and will become much more dear as they diminish.

That does not mean that changing our energy sources will allow us to “stop global warming.” The concept is absurd. Allow me to explain.

The current over-fascination with global warming assumes that human CO2 emissions have resulted in “Global Warming” since the Industrial Revolution, around 1850. Observations show that yes, sure enough, global average surface temperature has increased, overall, since 1850, with some pauses and declines along the way.

But wait, why stop looking at 1850? What happened to global average surface temperature before the Industrial Revolution?

As it turns out, global average surface temperature has been increasing steadily since around 1600, 250 years before the 1850 target date. Humans were not producing CO2 in any appreciable quantity in the 17th Century, so what caused this “Global Warming?”

We can go back even further. The 950 − 1250 AD Medieval Warm Period featured Global Average Surface Temperature as high as today with no contribution from increasing CO2 levels. What caused this “Global Warming?”

Holocene_Temperature_Variations

Looking even further back, the Holocene interglacial, which we currently enjoy, is a period of “Global Warming” that began 12,000 years ago, arising of itself, through natural geophysical processes, from the Pleistocene glacial period.

Over the past 2.5 millions years, the Earth has gone through four additional glacial periods, each with their own “Global Warming” interglacial periods just as we see today.

“Global Warming” is nothing new, having been an essential part of human evolution since our earliest hominid ancestors first walked on their hind legs.

The point is that humans do not cause “Global Warming.” Therefore, by extension, humans cannot stop “Global Warming,” no matter how we change our socioeconomic relationships to the planet we inhabit.

Current fear-mongering about “Global Warming” is not aimed at a radical change in the way humans produce energy. It is an attempt to maintain socioeconomic control in a civilization in which the major economic source, the fossil-fueled “Global Economy,” is sputtering to its inevitable end, threatening the hegemony of the global economic control system set up at the end of World War II. The United Nations’ “Sustainable Development” program, the genesis of the IPCC, is an attempt to prop up development in poor nations, in the face of increasingly apparent environmental limits on economic growth.

Rather than attempting to frighten the world into belief that we can control climate variation that threatens continued growth and development, we should be helping all to understand and prepare for a world that will continually change beneath our feet, and that has unavoidable limits to human economic growth, consumption and production of wastes.

Pretending that we are apart from the natural world and not subject to natural cycles of resource abundance, climate variation and large scale geologic changes is ultimately futile and self-deceptive, as well as destructive to the rest of the world on which we intimately depend.

We must give up the idea of control of climate and instead develop social systems that are resilient and adaptable, and not rigidly demanding of finite resources, critical natural habitats and uncontrollable natural systems.

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6 thoughts on “The Myth of Climate Control

  1. Hello James, welcome to Words Arranged.

    Thanks for your cogent response.

    CO2 has always caused atmospheric forcing, as a part of the of the immensely divers and chaotic climate system on this planet. Without energy absorbing gases and other feedback systems, life on Earth would be impossible. Climate is not a linear system, so it’s responses to perturbation are nonlinear and unpredictable.

    Human produced CO2 is no different from naturally occurring atmospheric CO2. The percentage composition by volume of atmospheric CO2 has varied considerably through geologic time. It’s present level is neither unusual nor significant. Throughout the past 2.6 million years of the Quaternary, atmospheric CO2 has been higher and lower than it is today.

    There is no evidence that anthropogenic CO2 is now causing ocean warming, and ocean acidification. Acidification is an unfortunate misnomer for ocean water becoming less basic. However, ocean pH varies geographically and chronologically, such that there is no evidence that current atmospheric CO2 concentration has any effect whatsoever on ocean pH. This is an hypothesis that has yet to be supported by observation.

    Human activities do influence naturally occurring climate variation. We can indeed decrease human produced CO2. We cannot, under any stretch of the imagination, control climate variation, change its direction or magnitude or stop climate change from occurring.

    James, I invite you to follow Words Arranged as I develop the social and economic background of the current “Global Warming” obsession and how it feeds and supports the Deep State control agenda.

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    1. Some of the consequences of increased atmospheric CO2 are indeed predictable. Increased frequency and intensity of weather. Ocean warming. Ocean acidification. Mass extinctions on land and in the sea. Rising sea levels. You can deny the evidence all you like. It doesn’t change the facts.

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      1. Hello James:

        What is the evidence to support the claim that increased atmospheric CO2 concentration causes “Increased frequency and intensity of weather”? Did you perhaps mean increased frequency of extreme weather events?

        What is the evidence to support the claim that increased atmospheric CO2 concentration causes “Ocean warming. Ocean acidification. Mass extinctions on land and in the sea. Rising sea levels”?

        The claims cited in your comment are projections based on mathematical climate models, not predictions based on observation and hypothesis testing. Climate models are not evidence, they are hypotheses that have not been verified by observation. Climate models fail to project existing conditions (e.g., the current decline in the rate of increase in global average surface temperature) so their professed projections of future climate patterns cannot be depended on to reflect reality.

        I do not deny any evidence. Please present what you consider to be the evidence that supports your position.

        Thanks for the dialogue!

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  2. Hello James:

    Thanks for your extensive reply.

    Thanks for the clarification concerning storms. Climate science does not and cannot predict storms. Weather is stochastic and unpredictable at the individual storm level at anything other than daily time scales and local geographical scales. Storms are the realm of meteorology, not climatology.

    I disagree that it is unrealistic to ask for evidence to back up any claims of cause and effect. That’s how science works.

    You are perhaps unaware that I am a scientist, with a BA in biology and a PhD in anthropology. In my work as an archaeologist and museum curator, I worked with dendroclimatological data and collected tree ring data for my studies of the effects of climate variation on human population movements across the Bering Strait circa 2,500 BP. I began my work in 1991, before the IPCC’s fist summary report. I ask nothing more than I would expect from any scientist presenting conclusions on climate variation. Evidence is the core of the scientific method. Without evidence there is no science.

    The statement “All scientific theories are “mathematical models” is mistaken. A theory is an explanation of observation based on hypothesis testing and confirmation. Theories need not use mathematical models to derive an explanation that is an adequate explanation of observations.

    I did not dismiss the consensus predictions of climate science as mere “projections” based on “mathematical climate models”, I stated that the results of climate models are not predictions, they are projections. Since climate models are hypotheses to be verified by observation, they cannot provide predictions. They can only project from the variables with which they have been programmed. If the input parameters are flawed or incomplete, the projections from the models will not match observations. Thus, modern climate models do not reflect observations of climate variation in the real world.

    James, I would appreciate it if you would stop using the word “denial.” I’ve not denied anything and this constant reference to the meaningless pejorative blocks cogent discussion.

    Ocean warming is real. No question there. The coupled atmosphere/ocean climate system is extremely large and complex. The ocean and atmosphere exchange energy over extremely long cycles, and have done so as long as they have existed.

    However, this fact is not evidence that human CO2 production is causing the observed ocean warming. Observed global average surface temperature increase is a product of a non-linear, chaotic coupled energy system that includes all variables of influence from the cosmic to quantum level. To select one of these elements, atmospheric CO2 concentration, a minor constituent of the atmosphere with physiochemically limited influence, and claim that it is the thermostat for the entire system is an absurd oversimplification.

    Appealing to a proposed “consensus view” ignores the scientific process. Consensus does not determine scientific reality. A majority conclusion on any subject of study is only as good as the body of observation that supports the theory. The body of observation on climate variation is not a totalitarian support for the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis. The proposed “consensus” view is a product of a misperception of science, a faulty statistical methodology and widespread politicization of the proposition in popular media.

    There are hundreds of papers that do not support the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis. To cite only those papers which agree with one’s pre-determined conclusion is to step from science to political advocacy.

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  3. Hello James:

    Thanks for this voluminous response! It will take a bit to reply to each point.

    If you examine the evidence, you’ll find that interpreters of projections from mathematical climate models claim that increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration will result in increased severity and frequency of storms. Even a cursory review of weather records clearly demonstrates a reduction in the frequency and severity of storms over the past fifty years, not an increase. Therefore, this projection is proven false.

    “There is no strong evidence to support severe weather becoming stronger, more frequent or more widespread during the past 50 years in the United States.” http://tinyurl.com/bnqk8kj

    You have not presented any evidence to dismiss.

    Theories do not make predictions. Theories are descriptions of process that explain observations. Science doesn’t do prediction, science does hypothesis testing. Using mathematics to analyze data is not the same as using a mathematical model to test data. An hypothesis is an if… then statement, such as “If this explanation is valid, then I should (or should not) expect to find this. A mathematical model is an hypothesis that says “If this initial conditions are correct, then I should (or should not) be able to observe this. A theory does not contain model/hypotheses, a researcher uses model/hypotheses to test the theory as an adequate explanation of observations.

    I do not propose that observed ocean warming is a random result of the non-linear, chaotic coupled energy system. I did point out that ocean warming is a natural result of of the non-linear, chaotic coupled energy system. Nor did I say that ocean warming is the only piece of evidence from which consensus view has been derived. Yes, radiative forcing (which IS the greenhouse effect) is well established, and ice core records show a correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentration and average surface temperature (at the glacier, not global). However, this is not evidence for a causal relationship between global atmospheric CO2 concentration and global average surface temperature, neither of which constitutes climate.

    Climatology is not a court room. The weight of evidence is immaterial. “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” ~Richard Feynman

    One who hasn’t read “many” of the hundreds of scientific papers supporting the misidentified “consensus” is ill equipped to do anything other than accept the “consensus” on faith.

    Science is not a faith-based endeavor.

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