Latest posts by James Taylor (see all)
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Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein displayed his embarrassing lack of knowledge about the global warming debate last week in a column titled “You can’t deny global warming after seeing this graph.” Klein’s column focused on a temperature graph showing temperatures have risen since the Little Ice Age ended a little over a century ago. Klein, like so many other global warming alarmists, either naively believes or deceitfully proposes that the global warming debate centers on whether or not we are still in the Little Ice Age. To save Klein and his alarmist colleagues further embarrassment, I will put the global warming debate in proper context.
The central issue that divides alarmists and skeptics in the global warming debate is not whether the Earth is still in the Little Ice Age, but whether humans are causing a global warming crisis. Whether the Earth is currently experiencing one of its frequent warming periods is only marginally relevant to the debate. Certainly, a warming Earth is one of the necessary preconditions of a global warming crisis, but that is merely one of several preconditions.
Klein begins his article stating “Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.” (This assertion is actually quite dubious, but we will accept his assertion for the sake of argument.) He then presents a chart showing decade-scale temperatures spanning the past 130 years. The chart shows that temperatures have risen since 1900. And that’s it. Klein shows the Earth is no longer in the Little Ice Age, declares alarmist victory and ends his article.
OK, but so what? Klein’s chart merely shows that temperatures are no longer in the depths of the Little Ice Age, which happened to bring the coldest temperatures of the past 10,000 years. Big deal. I can’t think of a single prominent global warming skeptic who argues that we are still in the Little Ice Age.
Just as importantly, if the Earth is currently warming from the depths of the Little Ice Age but temperatures remain relatively cool compared to the past several thousand years when human civilization first arose and flourished, then humans are not creating a global warming crisis. The scientific evidence shows this is precisely the case. Temperature reconstructions gleaned from ice core samples and many other sources show global temperatures may be rising in their current recovery from the depths of the Little Ice Age, but remain below average in the proper context of the past several thousand years.
Also, humans are clearly not creating a global warming crisis if most of the recent warming is due to natural factors. The scientific evidence shows that global temperatures began to escape the depths of the Little Ice Age long before the post-World War II global industrial boom substantially impacted atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Indeed, half of the warming that occurred during the 20th century occurred before 1945. Just as importantly, solar scientists report variations in solar output almost perfectly match variations in global temperatures before, during and after the Little Ice Age.
Moreover, humans are not creating a global warming crisis if the net effects of the warming are beneficial rather than harmful. Scientific evidence backs up global warming “skeptics” on this point, also. Global warming and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causing a greening of the earth, rising crop production, a decline in temperature-related mortality, and a decline in extreme weather events. Throughout human history, warmer temperatures have always benefited human welfare, and the scientific evidence shows warming temperatures continue to do so.
In summary, humans are causing the type of global warming crisis that demands serious action if and only if each and every one of the following conditions apply: (1) the earth is warming, (2) temperatures are exceptionally warm relative to the past several thousand years, (3) humans are causing most of the warming and (4) the net effects of the warming are substantially, and indeed catastrophically, negative. Unfortunately for global warming activists but fortunately for human welfare, three of the four necessary preconditions of a human-induced global warming crisis do not exist.
Klein and his fellow global warming alarmists purposefully focus their attention on the Little Ice Age being over because this is the only one of the four necessary preconditions of a human-induced global warming crisis that is supported by scientific evidence.
In light of his feeble attempt to construct a non-existing global warming crisis, you simply can’t deny that Ezra Klein knows nothing about the global warming debate.
[First Published by Forbes]