By The USA Today Editorial Board
At a time when it looks like many of the scare tactics that the Gazette and Gannett News are no longer working, The USA Today Editorial Board went back to the tried and true “Man-made Climate Change” hoax. Here are a few of the things they say in their opinion piece:
“A feverish planet is telling voters it will not be ignored.”
“Massive Antarctic glaciers are breaking free as temperatures rise, threatening over time to raise sea levels 10 feet.”
“Actually, the science does know. Measurable rates of heat-trapping carbon dioxide are at level the world hasn’t seen in 800,000 years,…”
“… Global temperatures have risen significantly since the dawn of the industrial revolution.”
“But if …. melting glaciers carry any message, it’s that time is running out in the battle against climate change.”
So let’s take their concerns and facts one at a time:
Rising Sea Levels: What do the following have in common:
Both were exposed during the Wisconsin Glaciation and are now under water. In an article on the Bering Land Bridge the author, Bryan Fagan, notes that “…approximately 20,000 years ago, when global sea levels were hundreds of feet below today’s levels…” It’s well accepted science that as the glaciers of the Wisconsin Glaciation melted they released massive amounts of water into the oceans and we had “rising sea levels”. In fact they have already risen “hundreds of feet”. (Nearly 400 feet.) The “projected” additional 10 ft. of rising sea level quoted in the opinion piece may have a significant impact on coastal cities, islands and beaches, but it is small in comparison with the sea level rise the Earth experienced long before the Industrial Revolution. So why is the editorial board so certain the Industrial Revolution will be to blame if the additional rise occurs.
Historic CO2 Levels:
According to science (biology) CO2 is an essential gas for life on Earth. Without CO2 in the atmosphere most, if not all, plants can’t exist. And without plants to take in CO2 and to give off oxygen, most animals can’t exist. Plants are also an essential food source for many animals. With higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere for plants to take in, Earth greens (has more plant life). According to a study by NASA Earth has been greening the last 40 years. So if CO2 is essential to existence of life and a greener Earth is a good thing, then aren’t higher levels of CO2 actually beneficial? Won’t a greener Earth use more CO2 and produce more oxygen?
But the editorial board didn’t argue that. They stated as fact that we are experiencing the highest levels of CO2 in the last 800,000 years. The level is now estimated to be around 410 PPM.
In SEPP’s September 12, 2020 issue Ken Haappala talks about the greenhouse impact of various gases. In particular he addresses CO2.
“As the concentration of a gas increases, its ability to cause a change in temperature diminishes; this is called “saturation,” and it is accurate as well as convenient to represent the change by a logarithmic curve. In the case of CO2, its importance begins to decline even below 100 parts per million (ppm), and at 400 ppm the influence of carbon dioxide (CO2) is close to full saturation. – having little effect. Thus, enormous increases in CO2 are needed to have even a minor influence on temperature.”
Science has been testing the absorption rates of various greenhouse gases. His statement reflects science’s findings. So if he is correct, the fact we are now at the highest level of CO2 in the last 800,000 years may not have much importance. And higher levels in the future may not result in much of an increase in temperature, but could help green the planet even more.
Increased temperatures since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution:
According to articles on the Industrial Revolution, it began in England with the mechanization of the textile industry. The shuttle loom changed the production of textiles, especially cotton. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin was another major factor in not only allowing for the mass production of cotton textiles, but also for the development of the New England textile industry. Massive textile mills were built alongside New England’s many rivers and were powered by harnessing the rivers renewal water power. A second “Industrial Revolution” took place after the American Civil War with the use of oil and the development of the combustion engine. Manufacturing was no longer limited by access to water power.
Long accepted by science is a period known as The Little Ice Age. This was a bleak period in history. It is estimated to have lasted from the 1300’s to the mid 1800’s. While not a full blown ice age, it was a cold period that included increasing glaciers in the Alps and other areas. The Little Ice Age followed a warm period known as the Medieval Warm Period or Anomaly. Both are well documented in art, literature, history and science.
So did the Industrial Revolution introduce warming or was the warming that has occurred over the last 170 years been part of a naturally occurring warming cycle that started 22,000 years ago? Either way, it appears it has been beneficial, not destructive.
Melting Glaciers’ message that “time is running out”:
If you look at enough papers, you are bound to come across an article about melting glaciers. The last one I saw related to the melting of Greenland’s glaciers. So when did the melting start?
To get a clear picture, one must start with when did glaciers stop expanding. The last major glacial expansion in North America is known as the Wisconsin Glaciation. The Wisconsin Glaciation didn’t impact just what is now known as the state of Wisconsin, but impacted every New England and Midwest state.
Ohio is no exception. The glacier extended as far south as what is now Western Ave. in Chillicothe and covered two thirds of the state’s land mass. It is estiamted to have reached its maximum extent as recently as 18,000 to 22,000 years ago. By the time of the Industrial Revolution that huge sheet of ice could no longer be found in the United States or Canada. A few remnants could still be found in Greenland. While the estimated times for maximum expansion and retreating vary somewhat, the fact we’ve seen the advance and retreat of massive sheets of ice multiple times in the last 600,000 years is indisputable.
So if the melting glaciers are telling us that time is running out to fight climate change the time for humans to have acted would have been 20,000 or so years ago. But of course, humans weren’t impacting the climate back when the glaciers started melting or by the time the were mostly gone. So why are we so certain the recent minor increase in temperature and glacial melting we’ve experienced since the end of The Little Ice Age are due to the use of fossil fuels?
There is a source with a series of graphs of all three components: temperature fluctuation, CO2 levels and sea level fluctuation over the last 420,000 years. After viewing these graphs one can only concluded that Earth’s climate changes “regularly” and what we are now experiencing may not be out of the ordinary after all. We can also conclude that Earth will go through another major cooling and warming cycle sometime in the future.
The editorial board of USA Today might want to be careful about entering the debate on Climate Change. Their recent “opinion” piece sounds more like political science rather than natural science!